Empathy in Innovation Series: Mini Design Challenge

The last workshop of the Empathy in Innovation Series will apply what we know about empathy in a design challenge that forces us to take on both sides of two opposing viewpoints. Those attending may wish to bring a laptop or smartphone with them, but neither are required. The content of this workshop is a secret!

* Please note that this session starts at 4:00pm and runs 3 hours instead of 2 as in previous weeks.

The last workshop of the Empathy in Innovation Series will apply what we know about empathy in a design challenge that forces us to take on both sides of two opposing viewpoints. Those attending may wish to bring a laptop or smartphone with them, but neither are required. The content of this workshop is a secret!

 

About the Empathy in Innovation Series:

The core of innovation requires that we understand a problem from the perspective of those who experience it. Empathy is the ability of putting yourself in another’s place and experiencing the world from a different frame of mind. The Empathy in Innovation Sessions are a series of modular workshops aimed to help you develop your ability to empathize with the people you want to help. The workshops are independent so there is no penalty if you are unable to make one of them. Expect to engage in unique and challenging perspectives that will help you discover your creative potential.

 

About Alex:

Alex Sproul is the Lab Co-Ordinator at ShiftKey Labs. He has an Honours Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Neuroscience from Acadia University and is currently pursuing a second undergraduate degree in Computer Science at Dalhousie University. Alex is a published science fiction author, an alumnus of the Nova Scotia Sandboxes Creativity and Innovation Bootcamp 2018, and the founder of the creative writing society, Dal Writes.

 

 

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POSTPONED: Empathy in Innovation Series: Active Listening

Active listening is a skill that involves allowing another to take the lead in a conversation while removing our own views. It is a rarely mastered skill that applies to many situations in our everyday lives. In this session, the concept of active listening will be introduced, discussed, and applied to a series of scenarios that challenge our ability to learn from differing perspectives. No materials are needed – just bring an openness to learn and a willingness to discuss!

 

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED!

Due to health issues, the organizer of this event has opted to combine the contents of this workshop with the Empathy Design Challenge occurring the following week. More information about the Design Challenge can be found here. Please note that the session runs on Thursday, June 20, from 4:00 – 7:00pm and is 3 hours instead of the usual 2. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope to see you on the 20th!

 

 

Active listening is a skill that involves allowing another to take the lead in a conversation while removing our own views. It is a rarely mastered skill that applies to many situations in our everyday lives. In this session, the concept of active listening will be introduced, discussed, and applied to a series of scenarios that challenge our ability to learn from differing perspectives. No materials are needed – just bring an openness to learn and a willingness to discuss!

 

About the Empathy in Innovation Series:

The core of innovation requires that we understand a problem from the perspective of those who experience it. Empathy is the ability of putting yourself in another’s place and experiencing the world from a different frame of mind. The Empathy in Innovation Sessions are a series of modular workshops aimed to help you develop your ability to empathize with the people you want to help. The workshops are independent so there is no penalty if you are unable to make one of them. Expect to engage in unique and challenging perspectives that will help you discover your creative potential.

 

About Alex:

Alex Sproul is the Lab Co-Ordinator at ShiftKey Labs. He has an Honours Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Neuroscience from Acadia University and is currently pursuing a second undergraduate degree in Computer Science at Dalhousie University. Alex is a published science fiction author, an alumnus of the Nova Scotia Sandboxes Creativity and Innovation Bootcamp 2018, and the founder of the creative writing society, Dal Writes.

 

 

REGISTER

Empathy in Innovation Series: Using Empathy to Gain Insight

Our first session of the Empathy in Innovation Series is an introduction to empathy and why it is a powerful learning tool in the early stages of innovation. During this session, we will work as a group to define what empathy it is, its role in innovation, and take a systematic approach to empathize with people in unique situations. No laptops or supplies are needed! Just bring your enthusiasm and we will supply the rest!

Our first session of the Empathy in Innovation Series is an introduction to empathy and why it is a powerful learning tool in the early stages of innovation. During this session, we will work as a group to define what empathy it is, its role in innovation, and take a systematic approach to empathize with people in unique situations. No laptops or supplies are needed! Just bring your enthusiasm and we will supply the rest!

 

About the Empathy in Innovation Series:

The core of innovation requires that we understand a problem from the perspective of those who experience it. Empathy is the ability of putting yourself in another’s place and experiencing the world from a different frame of mind. The Empathy in Innovation Sessions are a series of modular workshops aimed to help you develop your ability to empathize with the people you want to help. The workshops are independent so there is no penalty if you are unable to make one of them. Expect to engage in unique and challenging perspectives that will help you discover your creative potential.

 

About Alex:

Alex Sproul is the Lab Co-Ordinator at ShiftKey Labs. He has an Honours Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Neuroscience from Acadia University and is currently pursuing a second undergraduate degree in Computer Science at Dalhousie University. Alex is a published science fiction author, an alumnus of the Nova Scotia Sandboxes Creativity and Innovation Bootcamp 2018, and the founder of the creative writing society, Dal Writes.

 

 

REGISTER

 

Arts-Tech Fusion Hackathon

We are pairing computer science students and non-computer science students together for the ultimate, cross-disciplinary, weekend-long event! From Saturday to Sunday, you and a partner will work together to create an idea that combines technology with the arts. Think music, history, visual arts, gender studies, theatre, creative writing – anything you want! No coding experience required!

Over the weekend, we will meet guest speakers who combine arts with technology in their workplace every day. Take advantage of what they have to say and learn about career paths you may not have considered. Both the winning team and the runner-up will be given a chance to receive advising from one of our guest speakers after the Hackathon is over to take their ideas to the next level. The winning team will also receive a reserved place at the Creativity and Innovation Bootcamp happening this May (a two-week, all-expenses paid, immersive learning experience with a financial reward of $1000!).

Join us for a fantastic weekend! We’ll supply snacks, a great workspace to spark your creative potential, and we’ll be there to answer any questions you might have along the way.

What is a Hackathon?

A Hackathon is a weekend-long event for students to create and develop an idea to solve a problem. You bring your ideas and enthusiasm – we supply food to sustain you, speakers to inspire you, and a prize to incentivize you to give it your all. We will open the doors to the lab at 9:00am on Saturday morning until 8:00pm that night. Take a break for the night and get some sleep. We’ll open back up at 9:00am on Sunday and finish before supper. You will work in pairs over the weekend to draw and present a storyboard – a six-panel board that tells us what your idea is, which problems it will solve, and who it will help.

 

Sounds like fun! What about the “Arts-Tech” part?

The unique part about this Hackathon is that we will be pairing computer science (CS) students with non-CS students for the weekend to build a project that combines arts with technology in some way. Your idea can be anything you want it to be as long as the art and technology components are both essential to the project. We want to simulate the real world by having CS students communicate their technological abilities with other people and to have non-CS students embrace technology within their respective fields.

What is the prize we’re competing for?

The winning team will be given automatic invitations to Nova Scotia Sandboxes’ Creativity and Innovation Bootcamp. The Bootcamp teaches design thinking at Acadia University over a two-week period, taking place in early May. All accommodations are included (food, lodging, etc.) and all students who attend receive a payment of $1000 for their participation. The winners of the Hackathon will skip the application process and automatically have their spots reserved!

On top of the Bootcamp, both the winning team and the runners-up will receive one hour of mentoring with a guest speaker of their choosing if they wish to further develop their idea from the Hackathon.

What will we be judged on?

We know that it can be hard to compare different artforms to each other. We’ve created a judging rubric that is agnostic to your background and the kind of the kind of project you create. Here are the qualities we will be looking at with respect to your storyboard presentations:

  • Does your idea have a clear audience?
  • Does your idea solve a real problem?
  • Is your idea original and clearly different from its competitors?
  • Is it possible to create your idea?
  • Are the arts and technology components of your idea both essential?

What’s the presentation format?

Unlike a traditional hackathon, teams will not be preparing slide decks and pitching to judges. Instead, we’re trying something different.

Teams will be expected to host a table and display their storyboard for everyone to see—similar to an academic “poster conference”. Judges and other guests will circulate around the room and when they approach your table, your team will deliver a 2-3 minute presentation of your board.

This format provides you with many opportunities to refine your presentation during the “conference” period. Please refer to the schedule for specific times.

Help will be available throughout the hackathon to obtain advice and support on the creation and effective presentation of your storyboard throughout this hackathon.

Who are the guest speakers?

We will have several different guest speakers giving 20-minute talks throughout the weekend. Each guest has had a career that combines technology with an artform in some way. This is a great opportunity for anybody (whether you win or lose at the Hackathon) to gain valuable information about career paths you may not have considered. We encourage everybody who attends the Hackathon to take as much advantage of our speakers as possible!

Saturday

Terra Tailleur (Journalism Enabler)

I draw on my knowledge and extensive experience as a multi-platform reporter, editor, writer and producer to teach people what they need to excel in an ever-changing digital news environment.

Specialties: Breaking news, news writing, headline writing, newsroom integration, digital platforms, audience engagement, social media integration

Chris Noxx (Entrepreneur, Record Producer/Publisher)

Recognized with countless awards & nominations in the US, Canada & the UK for his creative works, his resume includes 5 international Billboard Charting hits, (a collective charting on the US, CAN & UK Billboards over 25 times) working closely with some of the most influential players in Hip Hop & Urban Music, and producer & co writer for an onslaught of Multi Platinum & Grammy Award Winning Artists, TV shows, Films, Multi Media platforms, Advertising Campaigns, & Fortune 500 companies.

AJ Morales (Creative Director, Ubisoft)

– Game Director / Designer with 11+ years industry experience and 17 shipped titles
– Champion of project vision, managing creative teams of 25+ members
– Experienced writer and storyteller in multiple mediums and formats
– Demonstrated proficiency with IP development, brand collaboration, and external editorial
– Successful leadership of iterative prototyping, systems and level design in 10+ projects

Sunday

Mark Bin D. Santos (Graphic Designer – Discovery Centre)

With a high passion in graphic designing, video animations and photography.
• Graphic Designer and Photographer of The Discovery Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
• Worked as a freelance graphic designer and photographer for years.
• Worked as a Digital Artist at Universidad de Zamboanga, University Communications Office.
• Member of several publication organizations.

An Athlete with great interest in health, wellness and fitness.
• Member of several groups, community, organizations related to fitness.

Nick Rijgersberg (Director and Storyboard Artist)

I’ve worked in 2D traditional, 2D digital and 3D animation since graduation from Sheridan Colleges’ Classical animation program in 1984. In 2011 I graduate from Herzing collèges’ Maya 3D program.

What if I don’t have a partner?

On the registration form, we will give you a chance to indicate if you don’t have a partner to work with. We will do our absolute best to make sure you’re partnered up with someone for the weekend!

Is there a fee for the weekend?

Nope! The Arts-Tech Fusion Hackathon is 100% free!

Schedule

Sat, Mar 23
Time Description
9:00 am Registration/attendance at the door, coffee, morning pastries
9:30 am Hackathon kickoff, announcements
9:45 am How to Create a Storyboard workshop with Alex Sproul
12:30 pm Catered lunch and Guest Speaker: Terra Tailleur
4:00 pm Guest Speaker: Chris Noxx
6:00 pm Check-in with pairs. Groups will get feedback on their idea
7:00 pm Guest Speaker: AJ Morales
8:00 pm Day 1 Closing. Teams are welcome to continue hacking
Sun, Mar 24
Time Description
9:00 am Attendance at the door
9:30 am Day 2 Kickoff. Reminder of the schedule and presentation format
12:30 pm Catered lunch and Guest Speaker: Mark Santos
3:00 pm Prep for hosting table to present storyboards in a “poster conference” format. Deadline to submit online team profile forms
4:00 pm Host table. Judges will circulate. Prepare 2-3 minute presentation of storyboard
5:00 pm Judge scoring/deliberation. Guest Speaker: Nick Rijgersberg
5:30 pm Winner announcements and photos, closing remarks, group photo

I’m in! How do I register?

Please complete the following online form to register for this event. This event is closed to current full/part-time post-secondary students only to best align with the prize structure.

REGISTER

CANCELLED – Sandbox Discover Design Challenge

The final design challenge is now being merged with the Arts-Tech Fusion Hackathon on Mar 23-24 (no design challenge on Wed, Mar 20th). If you have any questions on how this might impact the Sandbox Passport or the Design Challenge Certificate, please contact us.

The final Sandbox Discover program workshop this semester is aimed at students who have participated in the majority of the program workshops. The goal is to apply program knowledge to solve a problem to a specific design challenge. All teams will present their solution to the group and should now be able to apply this approach to a variety of academic and professional contexts.

About the Sandbox Discover Program

The Sandbox Discover program is a free, extra-curricular program open to all students in any post-secondary degree/diploma program who want to learn more about innovation at its earliest stages. This is the messy and fun stage, where ideas emerge and are discarded at a rapid pace and failure is celebrated because it means insight was gained.
The skills and insights gained through the program are transferrable across disciplines and will allow you to bring an innovation mindset to everything from academic group projects, current and future workplaces or potential startups!

Registration

For more information about the Sandbox Discover program, and to register, please visit https://shiftkeylabs.ca/sandbox-discover-program/.

 

Testing Your Idea with Easy Prototypes

Workshop #6 of the Sandbox Discover program will focus on “Prototyping and Experimentation”. We’ll continue with the prototyping stage of design thinking and move on to the final stage of the process – the testing stage.

This week we will concentrate on refining prototypes with the learning we gained last week and also spend some time experimenting/testing the prototype with users. The goal is not to defend your prototype but to observe how your user(s) interact with it. Based on this new learning, you might be required to return to one of the previous stages of the process to gain more empathy, redefine, ideate, or prototype again!

About the Sandbox Discover Program

The Sandbox Discover program is a free, extra-curricular program open to all students in any post-secondary degree/diploma program who want to learn more about innovation at its earliest stages. This is the messy and fun stage, where ideas emerge and are discarded at a rapid pace and failure is celebrated because it means insight was gained.
The skills and insights gained through the program are transferrable across disciplines and will allow you to bring an innovation mindset to everything from academic group projects, current and future workplaces or potential startups!

Registration

For more information about the Sandbox Discover program, and to register, please visit https://shiftkeylabs.ca/sandbox-discover-program/.

 

Getting Ideas Out of Your Head – The Power of the Storyboard

Workshop #5 will focus on “Getting ideas out of your head – the power of the storyboard”.

The Prototype stage of the design thinking process pushes problems solvers to see their idea evolve rapidly through the use of a specific prototyping tool: storyboards. Storyboards are quick, easy and cheap to produce. They can be thought of as the earliest physical manifestation of your idea. The goal is to maximize learning early in the process to avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes later on.

About the Sandbox Discover Program

The Sandbox Discover program is a free, extra-curricular program open to all students in any post-secondary degree/diploma program who want to learn more about innovation at its earliest stages. This is the messy and fun stage, where ideas emerge and are discarded at a rapid pace and failure is celebrated because it means insight was gained.
The skills and insights gained through the program are transferrable across disciplines and will allow you to bring an innovation mindset to everything from academic group projects, current and future workplaces or potential startups!

Registration

For more information about the Sandbox Discover program, and to register, please visit https://shiftkeylabs.ca/sandbox-discover-program/.

Generating Ideas – The Power of Brainstorming

Note: Due to inclement weather resulting in the university closure on Feb 13th and the Reading Week break the following week (Feb 18-22), this workshop has been postponed to Wed, Feb 27th. 

Workshop #4 of the Sandbox Discover program will focus on “Generating ideas – the power of brainstorming” or more precisely—the Ideate stage of the design thinking process.

Building on both the Empathize and Define stages, the Ideate stage encourages us to generate as many solutions / ideas as possible through focused and creative brainstorming. We naturally want to evaluate and defend each idea as they emerge but design thinking  challenges us to fight that urge. Encouraging wild ideas, deferring judgement, visualizing ideas, building on the ideas of others and going for tremendous quantity are just some of the tactics we’ll practice this week.

About the Sandbox Discover Program

The Sandbox Discover program is a free, extra-curricular program open to all students in any post-secondary degree/diploma program who want to learn more about innovation at its earliest stages. This is the messy and fun stage, where ideas emerge and are discarded at a rapid pace and failure is celebrated because it means insight was gained.
The skills and insights gained through the program are transferrable across disciplines and will allow you to bring an innovation mindset to everything from academic group projects, current and future workplaces or potential startups!

Registration

For more information about the Sandbox Discover program, and to register, please visit https://shiftkeylabs.ca/sandbox-discover-program/.

 

Matt Zimola – The Infinite Loop Series

Today I’m launching a new series of posts about student engagement with ShiftKey Labs I’d like to call “Infinite Loop”.

If you’re a programmer, you know all too well the dreaded infinite loop that can wreak havoc on a computer or server. I’d like to redefine this term and spin it into something positive.

The “Infinite Loop Series” name represents the continuous cycle of support we provide to students through workshops, hackathons, networking events, and one-on-one advising sessions while engaged with ShiftKey. This programming helps students at the earliest stages of innovation gain business and technical skills, expand their professional networks, and enhance a student’s degree in a variety of ways. We become part of team that assists with the discovery process, learning, and journey forward to help students evaluate the potential of a project idea. This is truly an “infinite loop” of feedback and support as students weave in and out of the lab to access the resources they need to be successful.

Matt Zimola has leveraged a variety of ShiftKey Labs programming since 2016. He attended workshops, hackathons, participated in the first cohort of the Creativity and Innovation Bootcamp, and was a Lab Resident from Fall 2016-2017. He has accessed almost every innovation-based program at Dalhousie and as a Lab Resident alumnus, has now spread his wings to access other innovation-based supports in the region. Matt describes some of this journey in the video below.

Matt Zimola – Master of Applied Computer Science student, Dalhousie University

If you would like to learn more about ShiftKey Labs and start your innovation-based journey, please register for one of our events in the Calendar or contact us for more information.

Reframing a Problem for Innovation

In workshop #3 of the Sandbox Discover program, we will continue focusing on the human-centred side of problem solving.

This week we will look at the “Define” stage of the design thinking process. We will look specifically at how to frame problem solving or brainstorming activities in a human-centred way. How do we draw on the learning gained in the Empathize stage to set ourselves up for innovative problem solving. Are we keeping people at the centre of the issue? What needs are being addressed? What insights can we leverage?

About the Sandbox Discover Program

The Sandbox Discover program is a free, extra-curricular program open to all students in any post-secondary degree/diploma program who want to learn more about innovation at its earliest stages. This is the messy and fun stage, where ideas emerge and are discarded at a rapid pace and failure is celebrated because it means insight was gained.
The skills and insights gained through the program are transferrable across disciplines and will allow you to bring an innovation mindset to everything from academic group projects, current and future workplaces or potential startups!

Registration

For more information about the Sandbox Discover program, and to register, please visit https://shiftkeylabs.ca/sandbox-discover-program/.