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Monday, February 23, 2015

Design Thinking and University of Minnesota Informatics Institute Workshop

Design Thinking @ the College of Design is collaborating with the University of Minnesota Informatics Institute on the user-focused design of data flow management. The purpose of the project is to develop a contextual service model, a usability evaluation, for the University faculty and researchers working with data and informatics. The service model is aimed for users of homogeneous and heterogeneous data.
The workshop, held in October 2014, consisted of five teams that took on the design challenge:
How might we create a service model at UMII in which: 1) data flows through the data cycle seamlessly with transparent services, 2) users can easily navigate their data management through the system, 3) make easy communication between silos possible?

Each team was tasked to share stories and observations related to the design challenge as well as their best and worst experiences. They defined the opportunities within the design challenges, generated ideas, and synthesized those ideas for potential solutions.

Key Results
Five unique prototypes were produced from the design challenge. Each team had different opinions on what defined the problem and possible solutions. Team 1 focused on storage, while Teams 2 and 3 were more concerned about knowledge management. Team 4 concentrated their concerns around the need of a single pipeline for data management and funding. Team 5 focused on templates for grants and other resources in the assistance of data transfer. Each team wanted a one-stop, user-friendly resource for researchers that included needs from connection to storage.  

Next Steps
The workshop helped illuminate some of the issues that seem to affect most participating homogenous data users. Design thinking helped delineate the issues in order to come up with innovative solutions for UMII’s data management flow.  While the Fall workshop focused on homogeneous data users, Design Thinking @ College of Design and UMII will host another workshop focusing on heterogenous data users in April 2015.

Stay tuned for developments!

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