Feb 22, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalogue 
2023-2024 Catalogue

Design Thinking for Social Innovation (DTSI)

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The Design Thinking for Social Innovation (DTSI) interdisciplinary minor introduces students to the methods, mindsets, and process associated with design thinking (i.e., human-centered design) to solve real world problems. Design thinking is a creative problem-solving process that prioritizes ethnographic research, convergent and divergent thinking, as well as rapid prototyping. Students will collaborate with clients (on or off-campus) to design solutions (products, services, etc.) that are desirable, feasible, and viable. Frameworks for social impact and the ethical ramifications of social innovations are examined in core courses.

Minor requirements include:

  1. The student must be a degree candidate at Saint Anselm College.
  2. The student must formally register for the interdisciplinary minor with the director of the minor no later than the first semester of the junior year. (Profs. Kathy Flannery or Dina Frutos-Bencze)
  3. The student must have a minimum grade point average of C (2.0) in all courses required for the minor.
  4. Students are required to complete FIVE courses. THREE courses from the CORE; ONE course from Social or Environmental Problems; and ONE course from Creative Ideation.

Complete Three Core Courses

Students completing the core courses will learn how empathizing with a user’s experience transforms the ability to meet their needs. They will be trained how to use design-thinking, a methodology that teams use for defining problems and creating innovative solutions. In Deeper Dive courses students will work in teams to create an innovative solution to a social or environmental challenge arising within the campus or beyond (i.e., local to global). Students will examine the ethical ramifications for developing solutions for social or environmental problems by completing one Ethics course in the core.

Introductory (Select 1):

Both the Introduction to Design Thinking course and the Introduction to Social Innovation course provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice design thinking methods through a variety of experiential exercises, group activities, and case studies. Both courses include a team project, where students work through the inspiration, ideation, and implementation phases of design thinking for a challenge defined in consultation with their faculty member. BU102-Introduction to Social Innovation course examines theory and concepts in the field of social innovation, whereas PY103-Introduction to Design Thinking examines cognitive obstacles in the process of problem finding and problem solving informed by theory and research in Cognitive Psychology. In addition, the case studies in each course differ. The focus in PY103 is on contemporary issues in psychology and methods frequently used by psychologists for inspiration and ideation. In contrast, BU102 includes case studies for a variety of complex problems, including many with sufficient detail and breadth to examine social entrepreneurship. Thus, a student could complete both courses for credit.   

Deeper Dive (Select 1):

Students taking these courses complete a semester-long project where they develop a solution to a social or environmental challenge arising within the campus or beyond in a local, regional, national, or global community. Students work in teams guided by the faculty member in close collaboration with their consulting client. Students will expand their practice of design thinking for social innovation by considering the particulars of the design situation they face and responding adaptively.

Ethics (Select 1):

Students taking these courses may consider major ethical theories or rational principles of moral conduct, and application to specific cases. Their ethical inquiry includes what happens when we do not employ a deep equity lens in responding to challenges for solving real world problems.

Social or Environmental Problems Course (Select 1):

Students completing one of these 200-level or above courses will develop an understanding of a social or environmental problem(s). Students in these courses also gain some experience using design methods for inspiration such as observation, interviewing, immersion, and secondary research.

Creative Ideation course (Select 1):

The creative problem-solving process is prioritized in these courses, where students will engage in both convergent and divergent thinking. Students in these courses also gain some experience using design thinking methods for ideation such as brainstorming and prototyping, including skills for making physical prototypes.

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