Mount Mary assists dozens of local organizations with creative problem solving
Organizations present real-world challenges, and Mount Mary community members use their newfound skills to listen and brainstorm solutions.
Posted on November 16, 2018
Through design thinking, a strategy for addressing challenges creatively and responsively, members of the Mount Mary community have applied this skill to serve some 40 Milwaukee area organizations.
This initiative began in 2013 and five years later, the design thinking process has been introduced across campus, both in the classroom and through annual workshops for faculty and staff. During the learning sessions, local agencies and organizations present real-world challenges, and Mount Mary community members use these newfound skills to listen and brainstorm solutions.
This summer, Lake Valley Camp brought some of their challenges to the Mount Mary design thinking workshop for faculty and staff. Amanda Panciera, Lake Valley Camp director of administration, said that Mount Mary workshop participants shared a variety of well-planned, relevant, thoughtful and useful solutions.
“Since then, during several key planning conversations we think, ‘What did Mount Mary suggest?’ and realize we have answers right in front of us,” she said. Some of the issues the group tackled included marketing and branding and how to increase volunteer and community support.
“Since then, during several key planning conversations we think, ‘What did Mount Mary suggest?’ and realize we have answers right in front of us.”
Lake Valley Camp director of administration
The five stages of design thinking, or human-centered design, are empathy, definition, ideation, prototype and testing. The process generates hyper-focused solutions from a wide array of research, listening and feedback from stakeholders.
Deb Dosemagen, Education Department chair and co-leader of the design thinking workshops for faculty, reflects on how Mount Mary makes a difference in the community. “Having the opportunity to work with community non-profits as part of the design thinking process has been invaluable. It gives students, faculty, and staff the chance to engage in an authentic process with real people and real challenges.”
Community leaders such as Panciera said that organizations like Lake Valley Camp reap even more immediate benefits.
“We left feeling energized and excited about the possibilities presented to us, and also felt like we’d gained 20+ new supporters who felt passionate about our mission and work,” she said.