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Design Thinking Workshop for Beginners brings participants face to face for first time

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Published: August 17, 2022

The Design Thinking Workshop for Beginners, a Category 1 event among the Entrepreneur Development Programs of Tokyo Tech, was held in person at Hisao & Hiroko Taki Plaza on Saturday, June 25. A collaboration between the Cross Border Entrepreneur Cultivating Program (CBEC), the Practical-Based Entrepreneurship Education Courses (PEECs), and the Tokyo Tech Academy for Leadership (ToTAL), the event included 22 students representing various levels of study from the Institute’s six Schools. This was the first Design Thinking Workshop for Beginners to be held face to face after the inaugural event last year was moved online due to the effects of COVID-19.

Participants and staff at Design Thinking Workshop for Beginners

Participants and staff at Design Thinking Workshop for Beginners

To kick things off, facilitator Yuuka Yamaguchi, a PEECs and Eirene Management School lecturer, and six learning assistants (LAs) who came to support the event from outside of Tokyo Tech, each introduced themselves. CBEC Professor Dai Senoo from the School of Engineering, PEECs Associate Professor Takeshi Hata from the School of Life Science and Technology, and ToTAL Professor Keisuke Yamada, all members of Tokyo Tech's entrepreneurship education working group who organized this workshop, also gave introductory talks.

The participating students were divided into six groups, with each group conducting two icebreaker activities to get the ball rolling.

Setting at icebreaking session

Setting at icebreaking session

Setting at icebreaking session

Facilitator Yamaguchi then explained the agenda, aim, and theme of the workshop, which was to "Design a better life for learning assistants (LAs) in six months to one year from now." Each team discussed and decided on a topic they wanted to focus on, and then carried out interviews with the LAs following the five steps of design thinking: emphasize, define, ideate, prototype, and test.

Facilitator Yamaguchi
Facilitator Yamaguchi

There was one LA supporting each group, making the workshop an active and fruitful experience as it offered students an opportunity to hear about the actual work and life situations of their seniors, all of whom are working professionals.

The uniqueness and originality of each group was reflected in the group work process. Some participants drew diagrams and pictures on whiteboards, while others posted notes or projected their materials on walls using projectors. Depending on the work, students stood around whiteboards and engaged in discussions, or worked intensely on their laptops. Throughout the session, all students engaged actively with one other and expressed themselves vividly during the group work.

Snapshots of group work session

Snapshots of group work session

Snapshots of group work session

Snapshots of group work session

Snapshots of group work session

At the end of the workshop, each group presented their conclusions on how they designed approaches to make the lives of their LAs better. Following the presentations, each LA offered final comments on the working process of each group. To conclude the workshop, the facilitator and professors commented on the workshop as a whole, thanking the LAs and students for their hard work and active approach to the process.

Presentation session

Presentation session

In any organization, an entrepreneurial mindset has become a key component in evaluating an individual’s capability at work. At Tokyo Tech, various courses and events are provided to flexibly match the needs of participants — from those who are not familiar with entrepreneurship to those who are interested in or have already started their own business.

This introductory workshop, held once or twice every year, is highly recommended especially to bachelor’s program students. Besides this workshop, there are multiple courses and events held throughout the year at Tokyo Tech, and many are open to all students regardless of their specialization or level of study. More information on the various paths available can be found on the Tokyo Tech Entrepreneur Development Programs website.

Comments from participating students

  • I recommend this workshop to students who want to learn about design thinking through actual work. Join the workshop if you are interested!
  • This was a rare opportunity to get direct feedback from actual business owners and business professionals. In this workshop, we learned the basics of design thinking, but I also want to learn about the more systematic parts of the approach.
  • It was a busy and really educational day! I got to know many new friends from different countries and regions, and learned a lot from them and the guest speakers. Join us and enjoy this inspirational environment of Tokyo Tech together!
  • I strongly recommend participation in this workshop. You can experience not only enjoyable group work with your teammates and inspired conversation with senior LAs working in companies, but also make friends who have the same interests and values as you.

Contact

Tokyo Tech Academy for Leadership (ToTAL)

Email total.jim@total.titech.ac.jp
Tel +81-3-5734-3755

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