The University of Colorado at Boulder (CU Boulder) was looking to help staff integrate human-centered design (HCD) into daily practices with a particular consideration towards DEI. CU Boulder invited Desklight to run a series of workshops with individuals and a number of departments at the university, including Human Resources, Information Technology, and Student Affairs among several others. The intention was to provide practical, hands-on, and helpful direction for teams to incorporate HCD as a principle at CU Boulder through the lens of DEI.
Desklight conducted a facilitator training with a handful of CU staff who would each lead a small cohort of CU staff outside of the workshop sessions. Over the course of four months, Desklight guided the approximately 50 participants through the HCD process, mindsets, and select methods through applied learning using studio-school pedagogy.
Participants directly applied learnings to real and immediately relevant work based on a problem frame that each cohort developed. These applied learnings included the fundamentals of the HCD methodology, problem framing and qualitative research principles, data collection and synthesis, and ideation. In our approach, we placed great emphasis on peer-to-peer learning through sharing and collaboration during and between workshop sessions. In the true sense of HCD, we also encouraged participants to iterate based on learnings and failing forward without doing harm.
At the end, each cohort presented on their problem frame, key learnings from stakeholder interviews, and initial ideas on how to address the challenge. The institution is continuing to synthesize the collective research findings, and plans are in place for the launch of a pitch event where teams will compete to secure funding to develop and test their prototype solutions.