A collaboration between mHabitat, the School of Design at the University of Leeds and Mannheim University of Applied Sciences (MUAS) in Germany to enable MUAS students who are studying a joint Masters degree ‘Design Future Society’ to apply design thinking to address social challenges.

Intro

Design thinking is an approach to innovation that places humans at the centre of the outcomes. As an activity, it makes use of creative approaches to defining problems, identifying the most appropriate technologies to overcome them, and ensuring that the outcomes are economically viable.

Design for Social Impact is a collaboration between mHabitat, the School of Design at the University of Leeds and Mannheim University of Applied Sciences (MUAS) in Germany.

The collaboration enables MUAS students who are studying a joint Masters degree ‘Design Future Society’ to apply design thinking to address social challenges in Leeds where they are based as part of an exchange programme.

Through this collaboration we match organisations with a social purpose in Leeds to learn about design thinking and benefit from students bringing fresh perspectives, ideas and solutions to the challenges they face.

Learning Points

Our first Design for Social Impact collaboration provided 20 students with direct international experience of working with local community groups and other organisations (NHS, public and third sector) in identifying problems and proposing appropriate creative solutions.

The students applied design thinking to social, environmental and economic challenges and demonstrated both innovation and pragmatism with their solutions. This also provided local community groups, the NHS, public and third sector organisations in Leeds with the opportunity to engage with a small team of Masters students to design a creative solution to a specific challenge or problem. Organisations we collaborated were Invisible Flock, Big Issue North, Public Health and Inkwell Arts.

Feedback

“The project was very successful from our perspective, it was a fantastic way of opening up our creative processes with new collaborators. The results of the project developed by the students was very high quality and we would like to explore the potential for developing it further by pursuing a relationship with the University of Mannheim.

The group connected with our project and research with ease, understanding immediately how we were approaching such as a sensitive topic. We hope that we gave them enough time with us, if anything it would have been good to develop the relationship over a longer period of time and to continue it past the point of conception further into a prototype period. It would have been good to have had an introduction to the wider team perhaps and other organisations engaging with the process at the beginning, in order for us to get a full sense of the context of the project. Although I don't feel like the project was undermined in anyway without this.”  

Catherine Baxendale, Invisible Flock

Portrait Victoria Betton

Victoria Betton

Director

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Portrait Zoe Limbert

Zoe Limbert

Office & Events Coordinator

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CAST

A collaboration between mHabitat and CAST (Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology) to undertake a market research for a study on the potential of digitally enabled self-care for people with multiple long term conditions.

Learn more

Market research, Digital self-care

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