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Active Participant

Together with SAP Vice President Andrea Anderson, I helped to teach the first Design Thinking Immersion class for the Notre Dame California Silicon Valley Semester cohort this week. The first day was held at the SAP App Haus on the SAP Palo Alto campus and the remaining days were held at the ND California classroom in Palo Alto. Ann-Marie Conrado, Assistant Professor of Industrial Design kicked off the class with lectures and exercises about Design Thinking on Monday, then we took over to introduce and coach the students through the design challenge starting Monday afternoon.

SAP was approached by the University of Notre Dame last year to assist in expanding the curriculum in California, particularly in the design thinking domain. This course is part of continuing series of events aligned with the new SAP Next-Gen Chapter for Design Innovation at Notre Dame. It was co-designed by SAP and Notre Dame faculty based on an existing course titled Design Matters at the main Notre Dame campus. This new course provided a design challenge related to customer service use cases for digital devices and students performed extensive research and interviews regarding those processes. They used the principles and methodology of design thinking to identify problems and compelling solutions that lead to human-centered innovation. Students were encouraged to use the capabilities of SAP’s BUILD in addition to other design and development tools.

Design Matters class description excerpt:

Traditionally, design has been used to connote the process by which the physical artifacts of the objects and communications around us come into being. But over the last decade, design has come more and more to describe not only the development of objects but the process by which one shapes the interactions and experiences of people with the systems, services and organizations around us. A deeply human-centered approach to problem solving, design thinking is centered around identifying and reframing complex problems, and solving them through a more creative, iterative and hands-on approach. At the conclusion of the course, students should be able to articulate the tenants of the design thinking process and apply those methodologies to problems of a variety of disciplines from science and engineering to business and the liberal arts.

Notre Dame California is the embodiment of the University’s desire to be an active partner and presence across the state, contributing to and benefitting from the educational, entrepreneurial, and creative cultures that make California unique.

Establishing a presence in California also allows Notre Dame to contribute its distinctive voice to the moral and ethical deliberations that inevitably arise in a landscape where the next big thing is always just around the corner.

The Silicon Valley Semester contains the following curricular elements:

  • Experiential learning opportunity through a paid, credit-bearing internship at a Bay area company (15-20 hours per week minimum) worth 3 credits (S/U) towards full-time status. Notre Dame-California is looking to attract students from a variety of majors with sincere interest and overlap in the innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem of the Silicon Valley community.

  • ND-California will work with students to provide coursework suitable for juniors meeting Major, College and general university course requirements. As the internship represents a major focus of this off-campus semester, students are strongly encouraged to take only three additional, letter-graded courses.

  • The program will also offer non-curricular elements such as opportunities to network with Notre Dame alumni, meet industry leaders, participate in trips to local attractions and events, exposure to the Bay Area's vibrant culture, and opportunities for community service.

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