By Samantha Mazza & Thobani Nxumalo

Design thinking- a human centered approach to problem solving that utilizes empathy to create long-lasting change in human behavior. Design thinking has become a trending topic in the lines of modern-day innovation.  

Companies have increasingly used design thinking to radically transform the way they think about creating products and services. With the end-user’s needs, wants and motivations in mind, designers create more impactful solutions. Design thinking can be tailored to work in any industry. Airbnb, Nike, Starbucks and many more uses human-centered design thinking to revolutionize their respective industries. Design thinking can be used to solve the root cause of problems faced by people every day, for example: Design Firm IDEO paired with a team of research to develop ways synthetic biology can be used to affect everyday lives, such as using a cup made of organic material that produces a probiotic drink when filled and then decomposes after a few uses. With design thinking we can use outside-of-the-box thinking to create innovative solutions to common problems. On the other hand, traditional problem-solving leads practical solutions. For this reason, design thinking may be difficult for some to adopt at first however, by endorsing the process you will find that it will change the way you view the world.  

This January, the Bryant University Class of 2022 will have the opportunity to learn this extremely valuable skillset in IDEA: Innovation and Design Experience for All. IDEA is one of Bryant’s signature programs, allowing all students to experience and apply the design thinking process by developing creative solutions to a “real world” problem in an intensive and exciting three-day course. IDEA 2019 will kick off on Monday, January 21 and run through Wednesday, January 23.   

Through the IDEA program, students will have the ability to work on problems which allow them to step out of the box with their ideas to answer “How might we” questions. Previous design challenges include, “How might we help bookstores survive in the current economy?” Other questions could be, “How might we enhance the fan experience at the Patriots Hall of Fame?” All the questions asked will allow for students to implement the design thinking skills which they have learned in the three days to create a solution unlike no other.  

The mentors chosen for IDEA are excited to get to know the members of their cohort. Mentors will be immersed with design thinking challenges during their training in order to be exceptionally knowledgeable leaders of their cohort. Each mentor is ecstatic to meet their cohort and make the best experience possible for their members. The two student mentors on the leadership team are Samantha Mazza and Toby Nxumalo. If there are any questions, please feel free to reach out to them.   

More information will be distributed to first-year students through the IDEA Blackboard site. The program itself kicks off at 9:00am on Monday morning, January 21st, and students can look forward to three days of an experience like no other! For up to date information and information about mentors, please follow the IDEA program on Instagram @Bryant idea and @Bryant IDEA on twitter.  GO BULLDOGS!