In designing the look and feel of the game room, Rivard applied lessons on design thinking she took away from attending the Chancellor’s Faculty Innovation Workshop.
“The workshop was attentive to considering everyone’s ideas. I came in with a critical eye for design and space. How do the different pieces of furniture, colors and props facilitate or encumber effective learning and outcomes?” says Rivard. “The workshop was dedicated to thinking deeply about your idea. That doesn’t happen often… to have other smart people think deeply about your idea and really consider it in a powerful, passionate way. It allowed me the opportunity to be in the same room with a lot of different people from fields I never would have otherwise encountered,” she adds.
The workshop is an annual, invitation-only event for UNC-Chapel Hill faculty sponsored by the Chancellor and hosted by Innovate Carolina. Nominated by deans, workshop participants are invited based on the promise they show toward innovative and entrepreneurial thinking.
It’s a forum that also helped inspire and spark new ideas for Rivard around incorporating design thinking into her teaching.
“I saw how much design thinking resonated with composition and rhetorical theory. I think a lot about how to teach students how to write, how to structure ideas into a coherent piece of work and how to communicate that to an audience in an effective way,” Rivard says. “It helped me think about similarities in the theories I use to teach, especially at the ideation stage.”
Visually, the Greenlaw Gameroom is exactly what a gamer wants. Designed to look like a cozy space where friends and family might gather, the space has upgrades like new paint, new floors and five large screens complete with PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch consoles that allow for simultaneous play for up to 25 students. Rivard wants the room to be a place where students are free to come up with crazy, wild ideas.
“It was hugely important to make the space look like home. From the design thinking workshop, our takeaway was to recognize the importance of making the space feel calm, comfortable and as flexible as possible,” says Rivard. “In addition, I wanted the space to reduce hierarchy among students and bring people from different backgrounds together to encourage the application of brainstorming and design thinking techniques.”