Resource:How to create a design community for architects and their interdisciplinary student peers.

From University Innovation Fellows
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The Problem

There are limited environments on campus for students to innovate, design, and participate in hands on projects. However college campuses can offer a unique combination of living learning communities with access to a large number students, alumni, faculty, board members, and other resources. University Innovation Fellow Valerie Sherry of University of Maryland, desired to create a community for students who desired hands on projects in real world applications. 

First Steps

Before launching a new type of community, group, or space there needs to be a desire, want or need for a new community. At the University of Maryland, many Architecture students desired to be apart of something larger than their classes, something that involved hands on applications in a real life setting. This started a movement towards an entrepreneurial group to improve innovation at their college. With word of mouth and many brain storming meeting, they found that many students from different backgrounds had a desire to pursue their ideas but did not know where to start. 

The Plan

Now that there is a want and a need for a innovation community the next steps was finding projects, planning events, co-sponsoring and getting the word out. 

Out of their brain storming events and idea call Design Tents came about. The Design Tents would be an event where students, sponsors and interested individuals could come together and rapidly make a prototype. The idea and ultimate goal was to help students form idea to implication. 

Many projects came about by word of mouth between other majors on campus such as a cross design for “Books Breaking Boarders” where there was a need for a book cover design. The support from other departments at the university was extremely important for getting projects like these. 

Keeping the Interest

Keeping the desire and interest of the students and faculty is an on going challenge. Some helpful ideas to keep the fire burning would be to keep an playful environment, students want to be hands on (Fun little Projects), and give the students what they want. 

Other Tips

  • Don’t ask for permission just do it 
  • Don’t wait, adjust 
  • Empower members 
  • Just do it 
  • Thinking through entropy phase make sure it is working for users 
  • Have a crash course for design thinking 
  • Leadership training 
  • Use Faculty Professors to navigate and help make a decisions

Additional Resources

1. Hear Valerie Sherry's ignite talk the time when she spoke at Google, or

2. When she spoke at the OPEN 2015 conference for faculty.