Collaborate with your campus constituents: How to apply design thinking to facilitate successful projects

After a vendor pilot to provide student success tools to our campus failed, campus leadership asked us to determine the true needs of our academic advisors and other student support staff via a thoughtfully executed user-centric business analysis project.

Using the principles of design thinking and user-centered design, we tightly collaborated with these key stakeholders to understand existing workflows, identify gaps in data access and retrieval, and suss out the pain points that they’d long learned to live with.

Then, recognizing an opportunity to repurpose existing IT infrastructure, we harnessed our Cognos business intelligence software and pointed it at a rich set of student data. Iteratively creating and improving upon interactive prototypes of aggregate student data reports, we launched a proof-of-concept that met with immediate success. Our campus advisors were saving time and reducing errors using this new self-serve, just-in-time student data reporting for intervention and outreach.

Building on that effort, we are now making additional reporting tools available to chairs, deans, and campus faculty, providing insights into student populations that were not possible previously.

Session attendees will learn about user experience design and design thinking methodologies that can be applied to problem-solving and idea generation. We’ll illuminate the value in understanding the broader campus IT portfolio in identifying novel technical solutions. And we’ll share how we are growing the value of this approach as we bring student success tools to a wider audience.

Presented at UC Tech on July 17, 2019


UCTech 2019


  • Briandy Walden
  • Ray Vadnais