The Introduction to Design Thinking class offered during the Sloan Innovation Period (SIP, March 16-18, 2015) were presented with an existing challenge for the Hayden Library:
How can the library be more responsive to user needs and facilitate interactions between people and content without compromising our traditional role as a quiet space for study and reflection?
The class was taught by faculty member Virginia Healy-Tangney and the staff of Continuum (a Boston area design consultancy). Five teams of six students learned design thinking techniques while they developed ideas to improve service experience provided at the Hayden Library. Library staff worked with the class to develop the project’s problem statement, and act as project clients.
In just a few days, the students interviewed library users and gained insights into their needs and challenges. They re-framed the problem statements from the users’ perspective and developed creative solutions to address their needs. Themes included comfort, convenience, collaboration, and information consumption and served as a terrific way for the Libraries to listen and learn from the MIT community about their needs for library spaces.
The students gained insight into the complex roles that the Libraries play in service to the community while Library staff benefited from the creative ideas that the students offered and the processes they used to develop those ideas.
This opportunity resulted from a connection made between a student member of the Faculty Committee on the Library System and the Sloan Design Club.