Design thinking programme for university team

A group of people stand around a table with a Lego model on top. One of the people is pointing to a part of the model and talking to the rest of the group.

A team from Lancaster University’s Innovation and Mobile Development team took advantage of the expertise in Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) to improve their practices.

The Information Systems Services (ISS) team, led by Head of Innovation and Mobile Development Brian Green, worked with Professor Radka Newton to benefit from a design thinking module normally delivered to Postgraduate students.

Design thinking is a human-centred approach to problem solving and encourages a collaborative and empathetic mindset. Professor Newton’s Good Place Lab, which uses those principles, caught the attention of the ISS team.

They asked Professor Newton to adapt the programme for them. The main aim was to enhance understanding of students’ lived experience in order to develop solutions fit for purpose, and not based on assumptions. The programme is typically delivered as a self-guided asynchronous pre-arrival learning, but was adapted for hybrid delivery and enhanced with team coaching and a final in-person event.

“The team’s ethos is already human-centred and collaborative, and seeing them take this extra challenge and embed reflective practice in their daily life was an example of a university team that thrives for continuous improvement,” said Professor Newton.

“I was impressed by their commitment and depth of reflection during our coaching sessions. It was obvious the team wanted to advance their practice. They were fantastic learners.”

The ISS team were equally pleased with the outcome of the collaboration, and Brian said: “Radka ran a great series of sessions to allow the whole team to think about the principles behind design thinking, the improvising we need to do with our customers, and also to be able to harness different ideas within the team to come to a stronger solution.”

Professor Newton captured her thoughts on the process in more depth in a blog for the Centre for Scholarship and Innovation in Management Education.

Back to News