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«Submitted to Ontario College of Art and Design University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Design in Strategic ...»

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The course is student driven but guided by mentors throughout to assist with their self-discovery process. It starts with Storification: First, students will use transmedia storytelling techniques to build a narrative about the their lives, helping catalogue stories that shed some light on what makes them special, their unique strengths, their history, and their desired future. This could be a very powerful tool to connect with the hearts and minds of people and to showcase their skills as leaders. Over iteration cycles, this will get more crisp, repeatable and memorable.

Personal Branding. Personal Branding is the new resume. Particularly for the generation where job-hopping is frequent90, personal brand and reputation would eventually outlive their professional lives. There is no longer the separation of personal and professional profiles; they have merged into one. The beliefs, biases, talents and passions, all manifest into the personal brand. This will be complemented with a logo and a medium to showcase the brand. Each student will optimize and share their brand and stories on their website to build a robust online clout. An essential to thrive in the next decade according to futurists.91 Each will then make a relevant and engaging video not about who they are but what they can offer the world.

The course will then employ Resource Mapping by building customized databases of people, industries, companies, ideas and collectives to zero-in on their passions and goals. This will also help build the dream-team for each of the students; their personal board of directors and mentors.

90Job hopping rate highest in India: Survey. (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2014, from http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2010-10-13/news/27585022_1_indian-employees-indiascores-findings-of-factual-job Job Hopping Is the 'New Normal' for Millennials: Three Ways to Prevent a Human Resource Nightmare. (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2014, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2012/08/14/job-hopping-is-the-new-normal-formillennials-three-ways-to-prevent-a-human-resource-nightmare/ (Future Workplace + Bureau of Labour Statistics) 91Future of Education. (2014) Association of Professional Futurists. -- An assembly of researchers in the University of Houston Foresight program Converge: Then use tools to decipher the unique skills and competencies needed and identify the gaps, challenges and their missions. The course will then connect students to experts tackling them.

Tiny Habits: The course also sets up a learning system so that students hold themselves accountable through tiny habits making incremental steps towards their goal. This is derived from Stanford Professor B.J. Fogg’s Behavioral Design and Tiny Habits Framework. 92

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We all have our bias. In fact, our world, history, culture and everything we see around us is biased. We only hear one perspective and live our whole lives with 92Fogg, B. (n.d.). PERSUASIVE TECHNOLOGY LAB. Retrieved November 14, 2014, from http://captology.stanford.edu/projects/behaviordesign.html that bias guiding us. As Raghava KK points out that teaching perspectives is the best way to teach creativity and we need to expose ourselves to as many biases as possible, so that we can create our own bias. And this is a gateway towards coexistence and collaboration among other things. Exposure to differing viewpoints contributes to positive psychosocial outcomes, interpersonal relationships, subjective well-being, cognitive development, and finally good citizenship. 93 How?

Some doubt that empathy could be taught; but rather only be transferred. But a method of expanding our empathy is by making the imaginative leap in other people’s lives through books, films and experiential adventures; therefore the resources for this course will be in The Empathy Library 94 -- the world’s first online empathy collection for catapulting one’s imagination into other people’s lives. What might it be like to be a child growing up in Tehran, or to be born without sight, or to be a soldier fighting someone else’s war? The library offers a unique form of armchair travel that can give you a taste of a different culture, a different generation, a different life. As Ian McEwan put it, 'Imagining what it is 93Baron, J. (n.d.). Why teach thinking? - An essay. Retrieved November 12, 2014, from http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~baron/papers.htm/frese.html Interesting Things and Curious People: Exploration and Engagement as Transient States and Enduring Strengths. (2009, January 1). Retrieved November 12, 2014, from http://psychfaculty.gmu.edu/kashdan/publications/silvia kashdan compass 2009.pdf  About: How curiosity “works” psychologically and compelling evidence of the link between being curious and improved intellectual and physical outcomes 94Krznaric, R. (n.d.). About the Library. Retrieved November 12, 2014, from http://empathylibrary.com/about-the-library like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essence of compassion, and it is the beginning of morality.'


Build an Empathy museum 95 or components of the empathy museum in the

community such as projects like:

 Human Library (www.humanlibrary.org) – A global movement staging events where you ‘borrow’ strangers for conversation.

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Phase (2) How might we serve the needs of people and organizations better while simultaneously using fewer resources? This course will explore the behaviors and mindset shifts needed to reduce environmental impact, how to conduct a lifecycle and impact analysis, making materials choices and design for things to last extensively.

Collaborative Consumption -- The concept of sharing excess capacity to create tangible social connections across continents and to reduce unnecessary inequalities. It is more affectionately called as ‘The Sharing Economy’ movement 95Krznaric, R. (n.d.). Why every city needs an Empathy Museum. Retrieved November 12, 2014, from http://www.romankrznaric.com/outrospection/2010/11/28/696 and it is on the rise. It promises over $1 trillion in business opportunities globally96 and is growing from a trend for the young and urban to a viable alternative for everyone. But today’s collaborative consumption model is mostly about how the products are shared, not about how they are designed. Therefore, the course will emphasise on how existing business systems can or will be disrupted by new offerings that have less impact and end the cycle of planned obsolescence. Finally, the course will look at reputation as a new currency.


Re-design an experience, business or organization for zero impact/minimal impact.

Build new distribution models that encourage shared ownership, as well as product lines that support multi-user product life cycles

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In a world where we’re facing problems of global significance, the key to fixing these problems is by fixing systems. But usually, our approach does a patchwork job of framing solutions rather than getting to the root cause of it. This is what 96Toward the Circular Economy. (2013, January 1). Retrieved November 12, 2014, from http://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/business/reports/ce2013 causes systems failures to occur; not framing the problem correctly. Therefore we need to focus on augmenting the entire system rather than combating a particular problem in isolation.

This course will help students solve problems by seeing the whole system, understanding the complex systems in their communities, how that system interacts with them and how they interact with that system. The students will also visualize a system in an advanced state of decay that they are associated with and map a system that they would like to explore for their personal projects. Students and potential viewers alike would gain insights about how the systems were formed, the layers that were built over the years, which of them failed and why.

This will also help examine why some elements of systems are still relevant.


Building a Gigamap to describe relationships, find connections, points of interventions and map a complex system, then dismantling the system to optimize and redesign that system for efficiency.

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This is a philosophy rather than a technique where the belief is that organizations become possibilities waiting to happen. It is essential to look at the bright spots in some situations rather than analyse the problem. Most often, analysis paralysis hinders us from scaling using what is already working well. In certain situations, it’s more effective to figure out what’s working and how more of that can be done than focusing on what’s broken and what’s needed to fix it. Human beings have a strange relationship with negativity. It tends to stick longer and holds more weight in assessing something. This phenomenon is also called positive-negative asymmetry. This happens with our approach with education as well. The emphasis is on the weak spots rather than optimizing the bright ones where the link to the solution is hidden.

These flashes of success can illuminate the road-map for action and spark the hope that change is possible.

Practicum In this course, students start with what is already working, inquire into what works (Collective Observation), imagine how good it could be (Envisioning), agree how good it should be (Collaborative Dialogue), and commit to what will be (Collective Experimentation). This will be based on David Cooperrider’s 5 D Model.

Service Design & Customer Journey. (EX + Design Phase 2 + 3) With a major proportion of the global population working in the service sector (as high as 80% of all employment97) and with each one of us being regular customers throughout our lives, it is vital to understand the mechanics of this sector and what can be optimized.

This class focuses on designing for user engagement with a particular emphasis on consumer branded experiences. In this class, students will use various points along a user journey (learn, discover, choose, purchase, unpack, 1st use, 2nd purchase, etc.) as a source of inspiration to design delightful experiences. We’ll take a process-focused look at the delivery of great experiences, especially services. We’ll consider techniques for modeling and simulating these systems at the micro and macro level and fix the ruptured systems.


Redesign a Govt. or Public Sector Dept.

Design and simulate a new retail format for the future.

97Field Listing: Labor force - by occupation. (n.d.). Retrieved November 14, 2014, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2048.html Pick a point on a consumer journey and design a much more delightful experience.

Reinvent customer interaction and experience with the certain product/service.

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“Stories are how we think. They are how we make meaning of life. Call them schemas, scripts, cognitive maps, mental models, metaphors, or narratives. Stories are how we explain how things work, how we make decisions, how we persuade others, how we understand our place in the world, create identities, and define and teach social values.”

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Storytelling is a skill that transcends language, culture and geographical boundaries. It is universal and relevant in almost every communication situation.

This course will build skills that help tell stories that touch the hearts and minds of people and bring out empathy. It will also help learn how to craft and convey emotional and sticky stories to galvanize positive change (Leadership Presence).


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Phase (3) “All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits.” - William James Habits, scientists say, emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort, then we stopped making a choice, and the behavior became automatic.

It’s a natural consequence of our neurology. And by understanding how it happens, one can rebuild those patterns. As every habit, no matter its complexity, is malleable. All that is required is the right framework and the right intervention.

The course will cover areas of Behavioral Economics, Behavioral Design and Choice Architecture as they have applications not only in personal development but also correcting or redesigning societal and global problems such as increasing organ donations,98 improve health outcomes 99 and encourage savings 100 among countless others.

Organization cultures grow out of the keystone habits in every organization, whether leaders are aware of them or not. “Self-discipline has a bigger effect on academic performance than does intellectual talent. And the best way to strengthen willpower and give students a leg up, studies indicate, is to make it into a habit,” argues expert, Charles Duhigg. 101 Sources: B.J Fogg, Dan Ariely and Gabe Zichermann.


Build a deliberate change in choice architecture with the goal of engineering a particular outcome.

Ex: Re-designing complex systems or nudging people towards a particular choice, redesigning products and services and its market components like pricing, promotion, differentiation, placement and curated experiences.

98BBC News (31 December 2010), Organ Donation Bid to Target New Drivers, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12097225. Retrieved March 1, 2013 Johnson, S. (2011, January 24). Harvard grads turn gym business model on its head; fitness plan members pay more if they don’t workout. Boston.com.

100Lusardi A., Keller P.A., & Keller A. (2009). New Ways to Make People Save: A Social Marketing Approach. NBER Working Paper No.14715. http://www.nber.org/papers/w14715. Retrieved January 24, 2013.

Duhigg, C. (2012). The power of habit: Why we do what we do in life and business. New York:

Random House.

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