A CityStudio project can look quite different from your usual course assignments because it involves creativity and collaboration. These resources will help guide you through the process of ideation, development and communication about your project. Links to different sections are here:
Follow the above links to jump directly to a specific section.
At CityStudio, we believe that students have the energy and creativity to help address key challenges and opportunities faced by the City of North Vancouver. We have identified a key question that you are asked to address as part of your coursework. All of your project deliverables will be shared with our partner(s) at the end of term and will be used for the good of the community. Most CityStudio experiences involve three meetings (usually during class time):
We end the term by celebrating the strongest projects at HUBBUB, a celebratory showcase that spreads the word to the wider community. After term is over, we stay in touch and share any opportunities that may arise as a result of your work.
As an initiative that facilitates innovation, we encourage you to incorporate Design Thinking methodologies into your process in order to enrich your project experience and deliverables.
What is Design Thinking?
In a nutshell, Design Thinking involves hands-on and human-centered approaches to problem-solving. It’s not just for designers! This resource [Design Thinking 101] gives a helpful overview of the history and reasoning behind design thinking and the different steps involved. We have listed the key steps below, along with some suggested resources to support you. Please note that depending on the scale of your assignment, you may not reach all of the steps of the design thinking process during this project.
Before you start: create a project plan.
Empathize: conduct secondary and primary research (where appropriate) to understand the problem / opportunity.
Define: use your research to identify gaps and opportunities for innovation.
Ideate: Brainstorm expansively about how you might address the identified needs, then formulate one idea to focus on.
Prototype: Build tactile, rough versions of your idea and allow it to evolve.
Test: Share your prototype with the user (in many cases, your CityStudio partner) and learn from feedback.
Implement: Launch your project, or at least suggest ways your CityStudio partner might implement and sustain the idea. Some questions to consider:
How could your idea be scaled up or down?
Who might fund the idea?
Who will run the program / initiative / design change?
In these times of remote collaboration, it is more important than ever to organize your teamwork effectively. Here are some useful tools you might consider to support your team and create a strong project:
At the beginning of term, your CityStudio partner will let you know their preferred method of communication (e.g. email, phone calls etc.) In some cases, students are asked to submit all their questions to the instructor, who will compile and share responses with the class. No matter the situation, it is best to choose one member of your group to be the main communicator who asks questions on behalf of your team. This helps ensure accountability and prevents repeat questions – your partner’s time is precious! We have compiled some best practices and templates for professional communication.
Think about whether you can gather information via email, and only schedule a meeting if absolutely necessary.
Send an introductory email that clearly states who you are, your project and how you are hoping the contact might be able to help.
When scheduling a time to talk to a community contact, send a calendar invitation that includes the date, time, subject, agenda and method of communication (e.g. phone, Zoom link, etc.).
Send a reminder email the week of your meeting with some preliminary questions so that your contact can prepare with relevant resources.
Be ready at least 5 minutes early for your meeting, don’t be late!
Always ask permission if you would like to record what is discussed in the meeting.
Send a follow-up email after your conversation to thank them for their time. Double check that your contact is okay with their name being used in your project and acknowledge and cite them appropriately.
Here are some templates to help you formulate professional emails.
My name is _____________ and I am a student in the ____________ program at Capilano University. I am currently working on a project as part of CityStudio North Vancouver, an innovation hub that connects municipal partners and students to develop innovative projects to benefit the community.
I am reaching out to you on behalf of my team to inquire about ___________________. Would you be willing to answer a few of our questions? If so, please let me know if you would prefer that I send our questions via email, or if you are available for a brief meeting via phone or videoconferencing.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to connecting with you.
Reminder email / Preliminary questions
I am looking forward to our meeting on [date] at [time]. In preparation for our meeting, I thought I would send along some of the questions that I am hoping we can discuss.
Please let me know if you need any additional information from me.
Thank you very much for taking the time to meet with me about my team’s CityStudio project. I appreciate the insight and information that you shared. Would it be alright to cite your name in my team’s project deliverables?