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SAP experts served as guest lecturers and project coaches to over 100 Notre Dame students on Monday and Tuesday of this week.  Michael Brown and Andrea Anderson joined me on campus to work with students in classroom settings and several informal gatherings.  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 eight separate classrooms or special events over the course of two very busy days.  Four classes in the Design department of the College of Arts & Letters, two classes regarding Innovation & Design in the Mendoza College of Business, one class in the School of Global Affairs and a Design for America club meeting.

On Monday SAP’s Vice President of Design Michael Brown joined me on campus to teach around the topic of developing a strong POV statement to two segments of the Innovation and Design course taught in the Mendoza College of Business.  The students are halfway through the semester design challenge which is related to better healthcare programs for members of the campus community.  The class description in the Notre Dame course catalog is as follows:

• Innovation is about creating new ideas that have a positive impact. It requires thinking differently about the world around us. We'll discuss the key principles and the innovation processes that lead to breakthroughs and the practices that make them work. We'll learn about design and design thinking in ways that can be used to solve big problems in a human centered way.

Michael also presented to undergraduates in the new Design Matters course about the importance of Design Thinking.  He 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 like the CPD course described below.  Michael also joined the evening lab period for the course to serve as a coach for the student teams.  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.

On Tuesday, we were joined by Andrea Anderson, Vice President - Design Thinking at SAP Labs who is leading a faculty workshop on Design Thinking here on campus this week.  We had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Notre Dame students in the new International Development and Design Thinking course where I am serving as a coach and mentor to the students as they work with Design Thinking this semester.

• This Advanced Topics and Applications—International Development and Design Thinking course is highly interactive ‘co-creation’ seminar, where the instructor and students will engage in creating and teaching a new course.  The broad theme for the course will be applying “design thinking” — a human-centered, team-based approach for discovering new opportunities and for solving problems — to critical international development challenges.

Michael and Andrea had the opportunity to visit two more classes in the Design program on Tuesday.    The first was Collaborative Product Development and the second Visual Communication Design.  They reviewed student projects and provided coaching for the remaining steps in the Design Thinking process.  Course descriptions are included below:

• This cross-disciplinary course will develop and harness useful innovation through an association of expertise from business/marketing, management entrepreneurship, chemistry, engineering, anthropology, graphic design, and industrial design. Collaborating teams of graduate and undergraduate students will engage several product development cycles, beginning with an identification of need or opportunity and concluding with comprehensive proof of concept, tests of function, specified manufacturing processes, and an appropriately resolved, aesthetically pleasing product or system. All collaborative team members will be engaged throughout the research and developmental process. Each participant will share in rotating leadership responsibilities, providing direction within their specific areas of expertise and in the context of a sequential course outline.

• Exploration of narrative, visual and aural principles to best convey a time-based message through a series of project assignments. Effective use of motion graphics through sketching, storyboarding, kinetic type, animation, narration and soundtracks. Media delivery may include digital signage, web, broadcast and other public venues such as a planetarium. Survey of the technological aspects to motion media including principles of digital animation, video output devices, and planning for application in a space.

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.