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2013 MiD Thesis Projects

Presenting the 2013 MiD thesis projects from our most recent cohort of degree candidates. Please explore this impressive work below and let us know what you think — we welcome feedback on our work in the program.

Truss: A Design & Education Partnership

Kelly Babcock & Alex Visconti

Truss is a model for partnership between university design students and public high school teachers to use design thinking and design process as a framework for teaching 21st Century skills (what we will refer to as de- sign-based learning).

The question we asked ourselves when beginning this thesis was how can we, as de- signers, support forward thinking teachers who want to engage in an alternative way of teaching. Can classroom instruction be improved without extensive re-education and re-tooling of teachers? Our goal was to employ design in lesson-plan building for teach- ers interested in 21st Century skill development. We did this through collaborating with a teacher to use design methods and skills in planning lessons. In order to examine the relationships and effectiveness of the roles, we had to implement a design-based learn- ing project with the class. The result of this collaboration, design-based learning project and research is an informed model for the development of a partnership between design students at a university level and public school teachers.

Sustaining Organizational Culture Change

Benjamin Hillson

Medical centers are exploring for new methods of problem solving as they confront a vastly changing landscape. How can these new methods become part of an already established culture? My goal was to provide support between workshops that introduce innovation and the application of the learning. I created a role to support a team of healthcare employees as they applied innovation to their work. The results from this work not only reveal a strategy to strengthen the application of learning beyond the workshop, but it also provides a method for designers to improve the way they develop concepts with their clients.

Designing Social Practice Engagement

Tian Cai

Social Practice is an increasingly prevalent approach for artists to engage with communities in order to create a desired social impact. However, as Social Practice is attracting more artists, the engagement with local communities can lead to outreach anxiety, especially for those who are more familiar with studio artwork.

In addressing this anxiety, my goal as a designer was to develop a Community Engagement Toolkit to support emerging artists in their research and engagement processes. By working with the Social Practice Lab at the Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia, I designed several research and engagement tools to investigate both the Chinatown community and the current artists-in- residence.

This thesis presents a design contribution that serves as a creative response to the issues in the practical case study and those faced by the Social Practice Artists. The resulting Toolkit was shared with artists, multi-disciplinary designers, and program organizers to provide options to facilitate the work of these participants. This thesis also highlights similarities between Human Centered Design and Social Practice, two areas which potentially could collaborate creatively, and build on each other’s strengths.

Enhancing Entrepreneurial Learning

Benjamin Farahmand

The focus of this thesis is to enhance entrepreneurial learning
by designing a system that filters, sorts, matches, and tracks entrepreneurs with the right mentors. These mentors are matched based upon the domain of the startup, their role (marketing, tech, finance, business development, etc.), the types of problems
they find interesting, industry experience, and the amount of time available.

In order to design such a system, it is necessary to generate
a model that describes the interaction between mentor and entrepreneur. The structure of interaction uncovered by this thesis has three phases: pre-meeting, meeting, and follow-up. 
By incorporating pieces of the digital world into the pre-meeting and the follow-up, the designed system ensures two key aspects. The first, the entrepreneur receives focused, relevant, and strategic advice regarding their business. The second, the mentor knows the outcome of the meeting ahead of time, the history of the entrepreneur, and where the entrepreneur needs strategic advice. These two key points enhances the meeting phase, where knowledge and experience is transferred from mentor to entrepreneur.

Community Connections

Meghan Conley & Lonnie Petersheim

The citizens of the Kensington area of Philadelphia are fragmented and feel disenfranchised when faced with taking responsibility and ownership of their neighborhoods in order
to become catalysts for change. By restructuring the way community meetings were conducted, our goal was empower a local civic association to create a platform where meaningful discussion could take place in order to create a sense of connectedness and inspire action. We designed an engagement where residents could both begin a conversation and co-create solutions around the topic of safety within their neighborhood.

Breaking Cultural & Communication Barriers

Daeun Song & Charles H.

International and American students often work side by side in American Universities without engaging in ways that reduce the cultural barriers that separate them. Our goal was to open up understanding and ease tensions experienced by students in globally integrated American classrooms.

Our method included working with students and faculty at the University of the Arts. We conducted observations, interviews, held workshops and tested tools and methods for classroom use.

As a result we created a system to be used in the classroom that helps make faculty and students understand better differences in behavior on the part of international students from Asia.

2013 MiD Thesis Projects

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2013 at 7:13 pm by azahn123.
Benjamin Farahmand received the Corzo Incubator Grant!

Many congratulations to Benjamin Farahmand on receiving the Corzo Incubator Grant! Benjamin was awarded $4000.00 and access to the Corzo Center’s mentors and advisors. His assigned mentor, Chris Calhoun is on the board of GoodCompany Group and has 20+ years of experience running companies and starting businesses. Benjamin will be working closely with Chris, receiving feedback, and also gaining insights into the entrepreneurial process to continue developing his thesis project.

Benjamin Farahmand’s thesis Mentor Track is a system intended to connect individuals developing start-ups with qualified mentors. Mentor track ensures that knowledge and experience transfer is enhanced via efficient matching, while also fostering trust by communicating transparent exchange so the start-up knows about the potential mentor’s expertise area and the mentor knows about the proposed mentees problems, strengths, weaknesses and progress. The model assumes that the service is free to start-ups and mentors and the charge will be borne by local mentoring organizations since it will help them manage their mentoring systems.
In this phase, the underlying system is being developed in conjunction with Good Company Group, which is working on a comparable system. The Corzo grant covers ongoing development of survey materials, test runs, development of a flow chart, service map, wireframes of a digital experience as well as various legal documents.
Benjamin Farahmand received the Corzo Incubator Grant!

This entry was posted on Friday, July 12th, 2013 at 7:27 pm by azahn123.