Engaging the Campus Community with Design Thinking

Andrew DeRosa
Assistant Professor
Queens College, CUNY

Design thinking often involves small trans-disciplinary teams working together to tackle complex problems for communities using ethnography, prototyping and co-design. Translating this process into an academic course creates a number of challenges and opportunities. I’ve chosen to approach this challenge by using the campus as laboratory and engaging the campus community. I’ve created an introductory course that brings together upper-level students from different areas of study to practice design thinking. Students learn experientially. They organize and conduct field research, and participate in a range of studio-based design processes. They work together on all phases of the project. We use the campus as our laboratory to use design thinking to identify and solve community-based problems. The course is structured around a semester-long project exploring ways to improve the lives of other students by designing new or modified services, experiences, and interactions.

This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 1.1: Queens College on Tuesday, August 26, 2014.