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SAP made a significant contribution of time and talent at the University of Notre Dame last week all under the theme of advancing the curriculum and strategy for Design Thinking and Design Doing at the university. SAP’s Vice President of Design Thinking, Andrea Anderson served as guest lecturer and project coach to over 175 Notre Dame students during the week. Each interaction was related to Design Thinking and its principles which are being applied in multiple ways at the university. We had the privilege of visiting five separate classrooms and several special events over the course of four very busy days. Classes spanned the Design department of the College of Arts & Letters, classes regarding innovation and entrepreneurship in the Mendoza College of Business and College of Engineering, and a Design for America club meeting. While on campus we advanced the strategic Design Thinking conversation at Notre Dame in separate meetings with leadership in the colleges of Engineering, Business and Global Affairs.

On Tuesday Andrea Anderson spoke to students in classes and workshops. She presented to undergraduates in the Design Matters course about the importance of Design Thinking. She emphasized how design focused companies outperform their peers and the importance of Design Thinking skills in many professional disciplines. The course is taught to all disciplines as an introduction to Design Thinking in order to inspire them to learn more and take advanced courses. The course description is as follows:

  • 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 approach to problem solving, design thinking highlights one's ability to intuitive This course will follow a series of overlapping modules that will introduce the student to the various iterative steps employed in the design thinking process and becoming familiar with the tools and methodologies employed. The course will feature a hybrid seminar format with lectures and case studies followed by hands-on exercises and practical applications of the theories in the form of team projects. 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.

We closed the day with an evening session at the Design for America Notre Dame club where we shared SAP’s perspective on design and Design Thinking and served as coaches for the multiple student teams working on extracurricular design challenges this semester.

On Wednesday, we spoke to two segments of the Innovation and Design course taught in the Mendoza College of Business. The students are halfway through semester design challenges which are mostly related to pressing issues in the local community. We had the opportunity to see and hear the results of the design research students have completed. The class description in the Notre Dame course catalog is as follows

  • As the challenges and opportunities facing society and businesses grow more complex, and as stakeholders grow more diverse, organizations are increasingly seeking innovative ways to create and capture value. In this course we will explore organization-centered methods of innovation while gaining proficiency in human-centered methods of innovation through an approach known as "design thinking". Students will work in teams and consult with a client throughout the semester to apply design thinking - a systematic application of ethnographical research, ideation, prototyping, and customer co-creation - to develop innovations grounded in the client user's current and future needs.

SAP is collaborating with University of Notre Dame faculty on a unique new engineering course that applies Design Thinking and Design Doing to community challenges.  Students were provided with a simple introduction to the Design Thinking and an overview of SAP's Build which will provide the overall methodology for the course. On Wednesday, we witnessed the mid-point review during which students shared personas and point-of-view they have developed for their projects. On Thursday, we met with College of Engineering leadership to discuss how we can jointly scale and sustain the Engineering Grand Challenges Scholars Program associated with this course. The Community Based Engineering Design Projects course which includes students from multiple engineering majors and is described as follows:

  • This project-based course combines theory and practice to give students the opportunity to apply their engineering curriculum to real projects with transformative impact in a community. The course will draw from existing resources within Notre Dame to provide a framework for students to learn the theory, methodology, and skills necessary to implement their projects. Students will be paired with mentors and community partners to work on projects that will impact the South Bend region and beyond. The scope of the projects will include researching the project theme and local context, defining the problem, brainstorming solutions, prototyping multiple solutions, and piloting the most viable prototype. Prototypes could include simulations, MATLAB graphical user interfaces, or benchtop physical models depending on the type of project. At the end of the semester, students will use feedback on the pilot project to prepare transition plans and scopes of work for future project execution on a larger scale by the partner organization. The primary partner for these projects will be the Bowman Creek Educational Ecosystem ( focusing on project areas within South Bend. Other organizations such as student groups or community organizations may serve as additional partners. Project topics may include, but are not limited to, smart green infrastructure, water management, data analytics, internet of things, and smartphone app development.

On Thursday, we spoke to the students in Advanced Product Development – Social Design who have been designing technology solutions for critical care management in conjunction with a local healthcare system. We reviewed and provided feedback on each student’s progress. The class description in the Notre Dame course catalog is as follows:

  • This advanced course in industrial design explores contemporary issues related to designing objects for social good to positively impact the lives of people, society and the environment in an innovative way. Working within a human centered design process including the identification of real world problems, direct research of user needs, as well as business and technological realities, we will design product solutions and build innovation around people's experiences. Class projects will focus on designing and testing solutions that help people, but also how those ideas are brought forth and effectively executed in the complex world of today.

One of the more exciting areas of collaboration is with the new Keough School of Global Affairs on bringing Design Led Innovation to the curriculum. The new college opens in September 2017 and includes and very advanced implementation of innovation curriculum in something called the Integration Lab. It is described as follows:

  • Integration Lab I: Innovative Approaches for Complex Global Challenges: This course introduces innovative approaches such as design thinking, systems thinking, negotiation, and implementation science; leverages the intersections of the three concentrations in the Master of Global Affairs; and examines global challenges through the foundational lens of Integral Human Development. The course’s reflective approach and emphasis on self-discovery launches students’ personal and professional journey as they build their unique Keough experience.