Messy, fun, and rewarding: CIS 102Y Design Thinking and Innovation

A new course is coming to Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems for students who want to be in the room where design and innovation happen.

In Spring 2019, Pace students have the opportunity to take the new course Design Thinking and Innovation. This project-based learning course is offered on both the Westchester and NYC campuses. According to Professor Andreea Cotoranu, who teaches the course on the Westchester Campus, “innovation is something everyone seems to strive for these days. Through this course, students will learn the tools that can help unlock and fuel their creative problem-solving potential, all while working together on problems that matter to them. Just like the creative process, this course experience will be messy, fun, and rewarding.”

Course Description

This project-based learning course introduces students to innovation and problem solving using the design-thinking framework. The course emphasizes complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, communication and teamwork.  The course is a corner stone experience for students in their first or second year at Pace University and is open to all undergraduate majors.

As part of this project-based learning course, students engage in a series of exercises that build upon each other to gain an understanding of the design thinking process including:

  • Gaining empathy to define a problem;
  • Brainstorming to generate creative solutions;
  • Prototyping as a way to represent one or more solutions to show to others;
  • Testing prototypes with the user for feedback.

Students apply the knowledge acquired through these exercises to a team-based project. Projects are based on problems posed by industry clients. Industry clients may include not-for-profit or for-profit organizations. Project deliverables include a mid and end of semester presentation, an electronic or physical product prototype, and written project reflection reports.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • recognize the value of creative thinking;
  • give examples of innovative ideas;
  • apply human-centered design techniques to define a problem;
  • employ ideation techniques to generate creative solutions;
  • recognize the benefits of engaging with students of diverse backgrounds and experiences in the formation of ideas for project solutions;
  • use data synthesis and idea generation to refine problems;
  • prototype, test and iterate a solution with user feedback;
  • use prototyping and storytelling to pitch a solution;
  • demonstrate teamwork in interdisciplinary and self-directed teams

Professor of Information Technology, Dr. Jim Lawler, who teaches the course on the NYC campus, described the course as “an exciting and fun opportunity for students to learn a highly marketable methodology prevalent in entrepreneurial innovative organizations.”

Through this course students will learn about project-based experiences, in particular those offered through the NYC Design Factory.

About NYC Design Factory

The NYC Design Factory is a hub for innovation and creative problem solving housed within the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University. The NYC Design Factory welcomes students of all majors. The most popular courses include Product Development Project (PDP),  Product Innovation Project (PIP), and Challenge Based Innovation (CBI). As part of these courses, students travel to Helsinki (Finland), Graz (Austria) and Geneva (Switzerland) to develop solutions for challenges posed by industry clients. These courses link technology, production, and marketing  Check out the NYC Design Factory website to learn more about our offerings. Are you looking for an exciting course to register for in Spring ’19?  Look no further – register for CIS 102Y Design Thinking and Innovation today!

NYC Design Factory opens at Pace University

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It’s finally here! The NYC Design Factory is the twelfth in the ever-growing network of Design Factories around the globe. On Friday, September 30, 2016, we launched our brand new factory with a huge number of guests who came to celebrate with us.

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Pace Provost Uday Sukhatme attended the Design Factory launch

Among those in attendance were Pace University Provost, Dr. Uday Sukhatme, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, and very special guest Kalevi “Eetu” Ekman, the founder of the first Design Factory at Aalto University in Finland.

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Dean Jonathan Hill gave his welcome remarks at the start of the event

Despite the event’s 8am kickoff, we had an amazing turnout. After spending some time enjoying breakfast pastries and getting to know one another, the program started with introductory remarks from Seidenberg School Dean, Dr. Jonathan Hill.

“I did not know it was possible to empower students like this,” Dr. Hill commented while describing his passion for Design Factory.

Dr. Hill then introduced Provost Sukhatme, who said a few words of congratulations. “I think this is the beginning of good things to come,” said Provost Sukhatme. “Pace students have innovation in their interdisciplinary work. The Design Factory concept falls right into the Pace Path.”

Olga Bogomolova and Eetu Ekman
Program Manager and “Fixer” Olga Bogomolova with Design Factory creator Eetu Ekman

Design Factory creator Eetu Ekman then took the stage and gave a keynote on the incredible ideas behind Design Factory and some of the amazing results that this unique way of product development has yielded. He welcomed the NYC Design Factory to the Design Factory Global Network family.

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Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and Vanessa Herman from Pace Government Relations

Dean Hill then welcomed Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, who acknowledged that “Pace is a great university in the heart of a world class city. [Design Factory] is bringing people together from across the globe. It is changing the way people conceptualize designing products.”

The final big welcome was given by our good friend Viltsu Lyytikäinen from Aalto, and then it was party time! In true Design Factory fashion, the ribbon-cutting was done not with a ribbon nor a pair of scissors, but with a teamwork challenge that pit our guests against one another! Teams were challenged to fill large empty beanbag sacks (stitched together by our amazing student graphic artist Belle Krupcheck) with thousands of tiny ‘beans’ in order to create fully functional
beanbag chairs. Provost Sukhatme got in on the action, as did Dean Hill, Eetu Ekman, and Assemblywoman Glick. It was a great introduction how Design Factory eschews the norm mere moments after the launch.

Jonathan Hill and Stacey Sarris
Dean Jonathan Hill and UX expert Stacey Sarris celebrate the launch

Guests were then welcome to celebrate with party poppers and small glasses of a pink sparkling substance. Some made the most of the beanbag filling that had managed to get absolutely everywhere during the challenge and made for a snowy scene.

Following the launch was a two hour workshop called Identifying the Next Big Thing.

Design Factory workshop Identifying the Next Big Thing
Design Factory workshop Identifying the Next Big Thing

The workshop aimed to teach participants different methods of identifying opportunities. They can be opportunities for new R&D (research and development) projects, new research, theses, personal projects and much more. Participants learned new brainstorming methods, how to identify opportunities for projects, how to improve their communication skills, how to improve working under a time constraint, and – of course – they got to collaborate with our awesome Finnish guests from Aalto Design Factory!

Participants were divided into teams and had to quickly come up with a new product idea using the Design Thinking method. After the workshop, each team had to do a 30 second pitch (some of which was broadcast over Facebook live!)

Provost Sukhatme
NYC Design Factory: Provost approved

As always, plenty of pizza arrived in time for lunch and helped finish off a fantastic start to one of our biggest and best projects: New York Design Factory.

Thank you to all who came to the Seidenberg School here at Pace University today. We especially want to thank our partners in the Design Factory Global Network who helped us get to where we are today, as well as members of the Pace community and beyond who provided unending support.

A special thanks to our special guests who video linked in all the way from Aalto Design Factory in Finland – it was great having you here!

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Our Finnish friends joined via video from Aalto Design Factory in Finland

Among other Design Factory Global Network guests were faculty and students from Nexus Design Factory, Philadelphia University, and our dear friends from Porto Design Factory, Porto Polytechnic Institute, Rector Rosario Gambôa and fire starter Rui Coutinho. We were so touched that so many of you traveled around the world to celebrate with us in person.

We hope you found the day enlightening and enjoyable, and we can’t wait to see you all again at the NYC Design Factory!