What do you get when you bring together faculty teams from each division and frame mission-focused inquiry around a design thinking framework? You get our first successful Innovation Institute. Over a five-day period this summer, a diverse group of faculty came together to explore the concept of time and how it impacts teaching and learning at LREI. With facilitation by designers from the School of Visual Arts Design for Social Innovation program (@InquiringMonica and @playlabinc), the participants explored how a design thinking mindset can be used to forward our mission through the cultivation of empathy connected to purposeful action. Within in this framework, participants identified questions connected to problems whose solution will have a positive institutional impact on our work and culture.
As Tom and Dave Kelley explain in their book Creative Confidence, design thinking combines “empathy for the context of a problem, creativity in the generation of insights and solutions, and rationality in analyzing and fitting various solutions to the problem context.” Throughout the Institute, participants worked on division specific projects and engaged across divisions to discover connections that are essential to LREI as a 14-year institution. The Institute also provided valuable time for colleagues to explore and learn together in ways that are central to the mission of the school.
The Innovation Institute is one tangible outgrowth of our most recent strategic planning efforts and we are excited to explore its continued development and evolution and a learning space for LREI faculty.