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University of Wisconsin - Madison Student Priorities

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University of Wisconsin - Madison is a large university, rich with resources for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. As University Innovation Fellows, we have noticed a few gaps on campus that we are excited to address through the following three strategic priorities:

  1. Strategic Priority 1: Creating valuable mentorship opportunities.
  2. Strategic Priority 2: Promoting cross-disciplinary networks among students, faculty, and staff.
  3. Strategic Priority 3: Providing students the opportunity to see how and why innovation and entrepreneurship are important in their fields.

Past accomplishments

1. Little Free Library


Developed design session for Human Growth and Family Studies Graduate students focused on the design and rapid prototyping of a “Little Free Library”


  • Open people’s minds to how design thinking is useful, applicable in their areas
  • Create an exciting, novel “Little Free Library” design for OneCity schools in Madison, WI


  • Two hour design session culminating in the rapid prototyping of “Little Free Libraries”

2. Introduction to Engineering Design - Focus on Inclusion


Consulted with Engineering Design 170 on developing inclusive, creative collaboration among freshmen students (Spring 2018). These supplementary activities are still being used in this course.


  • Foster inclusion and psychological safety among students
  • Develop freshmen in ideation process, “yes, and…” mindset


  • Utilization of “stokes” (interactive activities) during lab sessions to promote excitement, participation, collaboration, depending on what is needed in the room
  • Use of “6 Hat Thinking” workshop and debrief to prompt self-reflection on collaborative processes and participation/contribution styles.

Current projects

1. Student Organization - Focus on Design Process and Outreach


Having a student organization dedicated to teaching others how to apply and utilize the design thinking process will allow us to maximize our reach on campus. Ideally, this student organization will allow students of different academic levels and disciplines to see how design thinking can be beneficial to their world. In addition, it will aid us in maintaining communication with students, faculty, and staff about the work we are doing as Fellows on campus.


  • Promote the use of design thinking in more situations than product design
  • Provide a platform for students to learn techniques and skills useful in developing a mindset that is conductive to design thinking
  • Show students of all academic levels and disciplines why design thinking is something they should be interested in


  • Stanford design thinking methods, activities, and mindsets will allow students an opportunity to see how design thinking can be applied to their everyday lives
  • The ability for students to bring their own topics and ideas to weekly group meetings will allow students to feel empowered and connected to the idea of design thinking

2. Introduction to Engineering Design - Analysis of Impact


Collaborating with Introduction to Engineering Design 170 faculty in researching and publishing the impact of previous design thinking “interventions” on student sense of inclusion and project outcomes.


  • Develop a survey that will allow evaluation of the impact of “stokes” and “6 Hat Thinking” workshops on student experience of inclusion
  • Examine project outcomes of the Spring 2018 Engineering Design 170 students and compare to past students project outcomes
  • Publish findings in the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) journal
  • Utilize published work as a means to show others how and why design thinking can be impactful in their areas of work


  • Published article in the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) journal
  • Develop credibility of “stokes” and “6 Hat Thinking” as a way of promoting psychological safety between students and therefore improving project outcomes

3. Biomedical Engineering Partnership


Collaborating with the Biomedical Engineering faculty to foster design thinking mindsets (rapid prototyping/bias toward action, radical collaboration) in already existing Design coursework.


  • Develop students and faculty in rapid prototyping/bias towards action and radical collaboration mindsets
  • Establish rapid prototyping materials in Biomedical Design lab


  • Design sessions to introduce students to mindsets
  • Resource development for design advisors (faculty members)
  • Addition of materials to existing design lab space to encourage iterative design

Social Media

  • Twitter (@UWMadisonUIF)
  • Facebook (@UIFMadison)

Media Coverage

Related Links

Current Fellows

Past Fellows