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help define our new campus in Prince George!
Hi Kate! What are you working on at Living Labs?
There are lots of exciting things in the works for research activities in Prince George through the Centre for Design Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Wood Innovation Design Centre. An important first step with that project has been to partner with Vancouver-based startup Wantoo to use the Wantoo platform to engage students and other stakeholders in the Prince George Community. The platform allows us to validate our ideas, and to invite new ideas for what we might do in Prince George. We are among the first organizations globally to use the platform, and it’s exciting to see the possibilities for open consultation and evidence-driven planning in the context of post-secondary education.
How are you proposing to manage the engagement of so many people in the consultation?
We are making a broad outreach to the communities in Prince George, and to other stakeholders locally and regionally. We want to hear from everyone: not only potential students, community organizers, cultural groups and businesses in Prince George, but our own faculty in Vancouver, our funders, our larger student community, and other educational partners.
How can design- and data-driven decision-making innovate traditional community consultation processes, like the one you’re working on for Emily Carr’s new Centre for Design Innovation + Entrepreneurship in Prince George?
I think what’s interesting here is that we are releasing what is essentially a list of possible directions relating to our activities in Prince George, for example possible courses, subject matter focus, and formats, and we are asking people to weigh in on what is most interesting or valuable to them, by voting. This in turn will shape what we do in the community. We want to know if shorter term intensive studio classes are better than semester-long courses. We want to know if there is interest in forming a Master’s in Aboriginal Leadership. And in addition, we want to gather ideas directly from the people who we are trying to engage. The platform allows people to make new suggestions also, so people can add dimensions to our planning that we haven’t thought of. It’s a unique opportunity to do the whole thing differently, through direct conversation. It is essentially another way of “getting out of the building” and speaking to people directly in order to validate our plans and ideas with future partners and future students.