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Crummer Graduate School of Business discovers the benefits of running a virtual innovation course
When the global health crisis struck in early 2020, professors at the Roy E. Crummer Graduate
School of Business at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, had no choice but to take their design thinking course online.
The School is one of the few anywhere that runs a human-centred design course in its MBA program as part of its core curriculum. The course was developed to provide the School’s students, who are recent college undergraduates as well as working professionals, the knowledge and experience they need to use innovation tools and mindsets to resolve business challenges – whether in their current day jobs or in the future.
But with a focus to date on experiential in-person classes, and limited use of remote learning tools as a School, the flip to virtual came suddenly and was disruptive.
Classes were in the middle of an applied design challenge when the crisis hit and the professors realised their face-to-face approach was no longer going to be feasible. They needed a virtual solution to use instead, and fast.
The Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College runs its design thinking course across six weeks, so it was crucial that the team didn’t lose time getting everybody up to speed with a new system. The Sprintbase onboarding process took just over an hour, and by the end all students were ready to get started.
The School used Sprintbase to support its teaching and to give students hands-on experience running design and innovation projects. All of the students went through multiple cycles of the design thinking process, going a bit deeper each time.
Students were given a number of broad design challenges to work through, including ‘Design for lifelong learning’ and ‘Design for life in a pandemic’. The titles were purposely open ended, so that teams could go and speak to people and identify solutions with them in mind.
These conversations inspired students to look into a range of ideas, including how to design speech therapy for children in a pandemic, a new protective mask, and a better home office space. One group came up with an on-boarding experience for employees starting a new job during a pandemic, which could be delivered virtually.
If students had come together in person, they would have worked in groups in different classrooms and had visits from their professors to discuss how they were getting on. Sprintbase enabled a similar environment to be created – with everybody coming together on the platform, and then dividing into breakout groups which their teachers could visit. They also encouraged students to drop in on each other’s meetings, as they would in person.
Teams did a mix of simultaneous group work and individual work to keep progressing their projects. Whereas in a classroom setting, notes written on a whiteboard would have been erased after a class session, with Sprintbase work was continuous. People had the freedom to contribute their ideas at times of day when they felt most creative.
“Sprintbase has been HUGE in tackling this very in-person, hands-on class in an effective way.”
“Hands on experience through Sprintbase was amazing and helped us learn almost as well as we
would in the classroom.”
“I thought the Sprintbase tool was an amazing resource for us in this course. It has everything we
need to complete design challenges and keeps it organized, simple yet creative.”
“It was difficult [being in a virtual environment] but the Sprintbase platform helped a lot in
keeping the momentum of the class going.”
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