Priorities:Kingston University Business School Faculty Projects

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Project Name: Innovation Playground

Project by Faculty Innovation Fellows Candidate Bahare Afrahi

Why is this project important to you, your department, & your Fellows?

I believe every student is creative & we’re living in a connected world where humanity-centred design could help solve business problems. Our departments will work collectively across the university. My fellows connect their students with each other & opportunities outside the university.


The innovation Playground project brings students from different faculties and across the university together to work on small and medium size companies’ problems. Their innovative solutions will be enabled by design thinking which is the core philosophy of the centre.

Together we will be working on the issues SMEs are facing, for example, employees’ health and well-being, staff recruitment and retention, continuous innovation, team innovation, product design, etc. Innovation Playground has three pillars: - Humanity-Centred design thinking: For the Innovation Playground design thinking will be an enabler, a way of thinking and solving problems where people and the ecosystem (i.e. humanity) are at the health of each solution. - Collective impact: The age of starts on the top is over. We're living in a connected world. The centre is built on the very idea that students and SME leaders work together to create an impact. - Play: Play is an essential part of our development where we enjoy doing things to have fun. While the university and business world pose serious problems for students to solve, there is no rule to say solving business problems couldn’t be a playful act and a joyful experience. For the Innovation Playground, the play will be a way to solve problems. People come togethr in a playful spirit

Stakeholders served

  1. Students in Business Schools (e.g. BSC Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Marketing, etc.); students in school of art (e.g. user experience, fashion design), and students in Engineering school (e.g. mechanical engineering).
  2. Staff across university (various faculties, e.g. business and engineering)
  3. Entrepreneurs and SME leaders

Key Milestones

  • Feb-March 2023: Pilot: BSC entrepreneurship, and BSC mechanical engineering students working on pilot project for selected small and medium size business challenges. Developing and running design thinking led workshops to help students come together, form functional and adaptive teams, and start working on projects. Handholding and supporting the teams.
  • March 2023:reflecting on the first pilot, re-iteration of the first pilot (March-July is Summer break in the UK) which means we will be limited in working with new students.
  • June 2023: reflecting and re-iteration, working with SMEs, students, and staff involved on the pilot to reflect on the collaborative innovation projects and adapting for the second year.
  • September 2023:reflecting and re-iteration, including other programmes, BSC management, aerospace engineering, and graphic design, working on pilot project for selected small and medium size business challenges.
  • December 2023: reflecting and re-iteration, including other programmes, BSC music, electronic engineering, and international business students working on small and medium size business challenges. Introducing the fellow innovators’ support and handholding.
  • March 2024: reflecting and re-iteration, and extending the playground to include BSC Marketing, and Fashion. Extending the small business network and inviting new projects for students across university to work with.

An Innovation Portfolio

Innovation Playground website and cases, Innovation Playground Studio (photos), workshop photos and brief and slides, SME challenge webpage.