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Mountain View Innovation Challenge

Second AUC-Mountain View Design Thinking Challenge

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is a human-centered innovation framework, adopted by fortune 500 companies, including Apple, IBM, P&G, Airbnb, JP Morgan, among many others. Design Thinking teams follow an iterative process to discover user needs, struggles and aspirations, and design user-centered solutions that are technically feasible and financially viable.

Design Thinking can be understood primarily as a mindset for complex problem solving; including searching for and designing innovations for tomorrow. Another key element of Design Thinking is its multidisciplinary team-based approach. The innovation process does not rely solely on individual creativity; it depends on a collaborative innovation culture between multi-disciplinary team members, bringing multiple perspectives to the problem-solving process. During this design thinking workshop experience, participants were exposed to this creative problem-solving framework. More importantly, participants were introduced to design thinking as a human-centered mindset to ignite and drive sustainable innovation. Participants engaged in an experiential learning experience that reflects the high-impact practices that AUC aspires to promote.

Together with students, we framed human-centered solutions around an authentic real-life challenge provided by our challenge partner Mountain View, We presented Design Thinking from a life-centered perspective that combines human-centered solutions. These events, and similar future ones, will provide the perfect platform for academic-industry partnerships that enhance the learning experience at AUC, and build bridges between our institution and the job market.

Certificates and Recognition

Upon completion, all participants received a Certificate of Participation from the Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT- GDTA member) , Mountain View and the Innovation Hub. All participants are also eligible to apply for one of the six MV internship spots.

Team Selection, Structure, and Coaches

After students applied to the Design Thinking Bootcamp, participants were selected based on their design thinking background, gender and major. This is to ensure having an interdisciplinary team that could support each other. Initially, a total of 58 applicants applied to the workshop and the final accepted participants were a total of 25 participants divided into 4 teams.
Coaches joined from different departments and offices around AUC with extensive experience in coaching design thinking: Professor of Practice, Hoda Mostafa (Director of the Center for Learning and Teaching), Associate Professor of Practice, Fady Michel (Assistant Provost for Innovative Learning Experiences), Assistant Professor Mahmoud Shaltout (Institute of Global Health and Human Ecology), Senior Instructor Sophie Farag (English Language Instruction Department), Reham Niazi, MA (Senior Officer for Educational Development and Assessment, CLT)

Process Breakdown

Participants completed the design thinking process by first engaging in a short large group input introducing each phase followed by application within their smaller teams led by their faculty coaches. Within the different multidisciplinary teams, participants worked on understanding the challenge and choosing a design direction to converge on. Then they started collecting data through user interviews conducted with different stakeholder groups. Students then unpacked user interviews and started to redefine the challenge to start ideating towards prototype solutions. This is how students learn to move from inspiration to ideas and finally prototype solutions that they can place in users' hands to test and gain further insight. Design thinking is iterative and feedback is key so to model that practice students engaged in cross-sharing to build other team feedback into their prototyping process.

Finally, student teams presented their findings and their solution to the Mountain View team and received feedback on their final prototype idea.