Design-Led Innovation Program

Finding problems worth solving using a design thinking approach

Serra’s Design-Led Innovation Program is an interdisciplinary, three-year course of study in which students will be introduced to the principles of design thinking—a human-centered approach to creative problem solving. It is designed to give students opportunities to become innovators, and not just consumers, who find solutions to real world problems. It draws on logic, imagination, intuition, and systematic reasoning to explore what could be—to create solutions that will truly benefit the end user.

Partnership with SAP

Serra has developed the Design-Led Innovation Program in partnership with Andrea Anderson, Vice President-Design Thinking, SAP Design, and her team. The SAP team works with design-minded entrepreneurs in business and education to teach design thinking and doing skills. They have worked with Serra on curriculum development and have provided on-campus training for faculty. In addition, a number of Serra faculty members have participated in extended training with SAP employees at the company’s corporate training facilities. Others have completed training at the Stanford d.school at Stanford University. Anderson and the SAP team will continue to collaborate with Serra as our Design-Led Innovation Program rolls out over the next few years.

We are all great problem solvers. A design-driven approach to innovation makes sure we uncover problems worth solving by gaining deep empathy for people's needs. A people-centric approach not only leads to discovering innovation opportunities, but it also sparks delightful solutions that meet a need.andrea anderson, vice president-design thinking, sap Design

Three Curriculum Pathways Focused on Service and Community

Design Thinking is the foundational course for the Design-Led Innovation Program. It’s a one-semester elective that introduces students to the five stages of the design thinking process. Upon completion of the class, students choose a design-led innovation pathway—humanities, STEM, arts or interdisciplinary—culminating in a capstone project of the student’s choice, focused on service and community. Students are supported in their project by an expert community mentor and the Design-Led Innovation Program director. They will have the opportunity to showcase their work at a year-end event in celebration of their achievement.

Design Thinking as a Standalone Elective

Students also have the option to take the introductory Design Thinking class as a standalone elective course. The design thinking process will support students’ growth in a wealth of transferable skills such the ability to define problems, empathize with others, and to think creatively and systematically to generate viable solutions. Serra teachers across the curriculum are currently using elements of the design thinking process in their classrooms.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Rita Lee

Rita Lee

Design-Led Innovation Program Director, Dean of Studies