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

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.

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