Students develop real-world social innovation solutions with Design Factory Social IoT Workshop

On November 30, 2018, the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems held a daylong Social IoT Workshop on the New York City campus.

The workshop, which came with the slogan “innovation development in four hours,” held a contest in which participants worked to develop a fully thought-out product to pitch in just four hours.

The focus was on fixing problems with socially innovative approaches. Students were placed into groups. There were a total of five teams for the workshop. Groups were tasked with coming up with the stigmas and problems associated with five different categories: zero hunger, well-being and security, energy and well-being, mental health, and quality education.

While the design thinking process usually involves five steps: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test, time and budget dictated that this session only used the steps from define to prototype.

Each session during the four-hour workshop lasted from 45-60 minutes. The first session started off with introductions, so each group got to get to know one another first. As a Design Factory event, participants in the workshop hailed from all around the world: alongside our own NYC Design Factory students, we had the company of many participants from Design Factory Korea (DFK), Aalto Design Factory in Finland, DF Javeriana Bogota in Columbia, and Fusion Point in Barcelona. With so many cultures and communication styles together, one thing became clear: working together would be key!

Most groups began the process with a natural instinct involving lots of sticky notes and brainstorming. When it came to deciding team names, one member quipped with humor, “that may be the hardest part.”

 

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Once the first session ended, groups presented their finalized idea to a panel of judges. Upon reviewing their ideas with the panels and receiving constructive criticism and praise, the groups had the opportunity to update their designs and plans in the next session.

The last sessions included making presentation plans and prototypes. Each group made either crafted or sketched out prototypes, presentations, and idea explanations for the panelists. Once their pitches and prototypes were finalized, the groups were ready to present to everyone!

The five groups presented radically innovative ideas for each social problem they were assigned. Among these ideas was Ami, a “lifelong smart companion that analyzes and interacts with its user as an emotional support friend.” Another included a heated blanket that monitors body temperature. After each presentation finished, the judges grouped together to determine the winners.

The panelists decided on two winners this workshop, instead of just one. Team “Guardians of Data,” who worked on creating an anonymous platform for patients and physicians, and the team that worked on a malnutrition detection machine were declared the overall winners. Congrats, teams!

After the workshop, I talked with Kinnari Jasoliya about her experience being on a winning team. Kinnari, an MS in Computer Science major, said: “It was a good experience, and we had a lot of brainstorming, which really kicked in for us to think of new ideas and also to collaborate with people from different countries as well. We get experience to work with diverse people. We went from start to end for a certain product, so it’s a really good experience to know how a product shapes from a basic idea to a full-grown product.”

Student Zachary Demeglio, a freshman Information Technology major on the Pleasantville campus, also explained what he enjoyed about the Social IoT workshop.

“It was a nice experience being able to work with people around the world that have different ideas, come from different parts, [and] have different experiences that they have had personally, compared to what I have been experiencing here,” said Zachary. “[When] collaborating these ideas, it is actually really cool to see what we can come up with together as a team. I would definitely recommend it for somebody else to do, and I’m going to do it next year as well.”

We can’t wait to host the Social IoT workshop next year, either! Our huge thanks go to Design Factory Korea for working with us to make it happen, and for those of you interested in taking part in this unique experience in Fall 2019.

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The Social IoT Project: Innovative, International, Inspirational

by Andreea Cotoranu

For three consecutive days in November, the Seidenberg community got larger and more upbeat thanks to the visit of friends from places far away. As part of its commitment to provide students with transformative experiences, and to grow innovative and responsible citizens, the New York City Design Factory (NYCDF) at Pace University partnered with Design Factory Korea (DFK) at Yonsei University to pilot a project-based learning experience around the Social Internet of Things (IoT) theme.

The Social IoT Project, led by DFK, aims to encourage students to understand IoT technologies and connect these technologies with UN Sustainable Development Goals. Through this project, students have an opportunity to strengthen their social entrepreneurial skills for the 21st century, including complex problem solving; critical thinking; creativity; and social innovation. Students are encouraged to explore local interpretations of social issues, analyze and design an IoT based product or service, and validate and evaluate the social impact of its business model. As part of the project, student teams at DFK and at the project partner institutions, including Pace University, engaged in specific courses/projects to address a social problem of their choice. The solutions designed by the student teams, which aimed to integrate IoT or artificial intelligence components, were showcased as part of a gala which included project pitches and prototype demonstrations.

The Social IoT Student Gala featured 18 student teams from six design factories across the globe, for a total of 58 students!  In addition to NYCDF (project host) and DFK (project lead), design factory (DF) and institution partners included:  Aalto DF (Aalto University – Finland), Cali DF, DF Javeriana Bogota (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana – Colombia), and Fusion Point (Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya Barcelonatech – Barcelona).

Teams were judged and awarded based on several different criteria. Here are the winners!

  • Social Innovation Award: PeriBear (DFK)
  • Design Innovation Award: Olive (DFK)
  • Digital Social Entrepreneur Award: AgriTech (NYCDF)
  • Judge’s Choice Award: Blood Pressure Project [RBAC] (CDF)
  • Faculty’s Choice Award: VH (DFK)
  • Team Impact Award: Mind Matters (ADF)
  • Industry Award: Marcalli (Fusion Point)

An Innovation Development Workshop led by the DFK team offered students and faculty the opportunity to work together to further iterate on the solutions developed and presented as part of the Gala. For the workshop, teams from different design factories were paired based on common goals. Two team pairs were recognized with the “Innovation Award” for their prototypes:  AgriTech (NYCDF) & Smart Farmers (DFK), and Mirror Mirror on The Wall (NYCDF) & LIKA (DFK).

Last but not least, students and faculty were inspired by visits to NYC-based companies well-known for fostering innovation: SAP America, Intersection, Sidewalk Labs, Boston Consulting Group Digital Ventures and StackOverflow.

The Social IoT Project is one of a series of collaborative projects supported by the Design Factory Global Network (DFGN), a network of innovation hubs in universities and research organizations across five continents. DFGN “is on a mission to create change in the world of learning and research through passion-based culture and effective problem solving. Shared understanding and common ways of working enable Design Factories in the network to collaborate efficiently across cultures, time zones and organizational boundaries fostering radical innovations.”

“Through projects like the Social IoT we aim to plant and nurture innovative thinkers. Students learn by doing and build skills for careers that do not exist yet. The conditions for this kind of learning could not be achieved without like-minded partners such as DFK, the DFGN community, as well as friends from academia and industry. I am grateful to all for their commitment to drive change through passion-based learning in an interdisciplinary, international context,”  said Andreea Cotoranu, Assistant Dean for Academic Innovation and Director of the NYCDF.

On this note, “gomabseubnida” (thank you) DFK, ADF, CDF, DFJB, Fusion Point and the bigger DFGN family for participating in the Social IoT pilot! We look forward to hosting the 2019 edition!

Our thanks also go to Ursuline Foley, and Suresh Kumar (Seidenberg Advisory Board members), and John Lynn, Partner and Co-Founder of The Studio Project, and Seidenberg’s entrepreneur in residence.

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About: The NYCDF is a center for innovation and creative problem solving within the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University. NYCDF welcomes students of all majors, and across New York City and Westchester campuses! 

NYCDF’s most popular projects include courses like Product Development Project (PDP), Product Innovation Project (PIP), and Challenge Based Innovation (CBI). As part of these 7-month long experiences, students travel to Helsinki (Finland), Graz (Austria) and Geneva (Switzerland) to develop solutions for challenges presented by industry clients. However, for students looking to understand what NYCDF is all about, check out CIS102Y Design Thinking and Innovation.

In addition to courses, the NYCDF supports other project-based experiences, such as the four-day Nexus Maximus or the 36-hour RAT Relay for Global Good, all designed to provide students with opportunities to learn by doing.   

Students interested in NYCDF experiences can contact Andreea Cotoranu, Assistant Dean for Academic Innovation (acotoranu@pace.edu).