The Global Innovation and Design (GID) Lab at the University of Washington Tacoma is supported by the Institute for Innovation and Global Engagement (IIGE) and provides human centered design training and resources through its dynamic network of community organizations. Using custom design spaces and materials for iterative ideation, prototyping, and testing, we work collaboratively with teams across academia and industry to tackle and solve problems.
Read More About Community Projects
From Poverty to Possibilities Summit
Fall 2019 | Fall 2020
The GID Lab team, including five awardees and 20 students across in-person and virtual Summits in 2019 and 2020, led a total of 500 participants (approximately 350 in 2019 in-person and 150 in 2020 virtually) to prototype solutions to challenges in affordable housing. Multi-level user research preceded each Summit, leading to the creation of personas of ALICE families that provided the basis for ideation and prototyping. Prototypes were iterated upon and implemented by specific groups across the community.
Freedom Summer Symposium 2021 and 2022
Summer 2021 | Fall 2021| Spring 2022
“How might we reimagine Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” through the lens of 18–35 year-olds, and together, create pathways and programs to achieve equity and social justice for all?” was the point of entry for the Institute for Black Justice Design Youth Cohort. The GID Lab team led the cohort of 10 young adults through an orientation of design thinking and rapid ideation and prototyping. The cohort was organized into three groups, each of which presented prototypes of a reimagined dream at the June 28-30, 2021 Freedom Summer Symposium. Final prototypes included a program to give Black youth greater access to political and policy spaces, a community garden to support food accessibility, and a safe space for community conversations.
In Fall 2021, the GID Lab provided an orientation to human centered design to support the group’s efforts in increasing voter turnout.
For the 2022 Freedom Summer Symposium, the GID Lab led 12 members of ACES through a design challenge to “Reimagine a blueprint for Black excellence.”
Reimagining the 2021-25 Work Program
With the design challenges of “How might we elevate a more diverse workforce/talent pipeline to support businesses coming out of the pandemic?” and “How might we learn more about the communities we serve?”,the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County worked with the GID Lab team to revise its 2021-25 Work Program. The GID Lab team led around 35 board members through need finding, ideation and prototyping to create a new membership and communication system that was responsive to the workplace conditions under Covid-19, and that was more inclusive of all businesses.
Part of the INNOVATE TACOMA series.
Visible Commitment Through Human Centered Design
The GID Lab team led a six-phase design sprint with Chamber Board Members to address the following design challenge: “How might we make the South Sound the most equitable and inclusive place to do business in Washington State?”. Through multi-level user research, board members gained empathy on the member experience and moved through ideation and prototyping to create a new 2021-26 Strategic Vision through the lens of equity and inclusion. Final prototypes included an app for businesses with similar profiles to connect and access resources and a BIPOC Business Cohort to strengthen emerging businesses.
Part of the INNOVATE TACOMA series.
Leadership, Unity, Economic Justice
Fall 2019 | Fall 2020
The GID Lab team, including three awardees, facilitated a mini design sprint with 25 Pacific Lutheran University Act Six Scholars. Themes for both years included Leadership, Unity, and Economic Justice. Students co-created pathways to leadership and economic independence using design thinking. Workshops were both in person and virtual.
Next Leaders' Initiative
Fall 2020 | Winter 2021
"How might we increase the number of young people who aspire to civic engagement in the South Sound?" was the central question the GID Lab team used to engage over 25 students from the UW Tacoma Global Honors Program, Tacoma Community College, and Bates Technical College. The question guided two workshops of ideation and prototyping, with presentations by students as well as the GID Lab team to the South Sound Together board. A civic engagement bus and engagement opportunities for course credit were some of the practical prototypes that emerged. Recognition that young people are already civically engaged also emerged as an important take-away. Collaboration between campus and community is critical to showcase students’ engagement.
Public Trust in the City
“How might the City of Tacoma create the conditions for equity and inclusion for its employees of color?” provided the guiding prompt for the GID Lab’s work with the City of Tacoma in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. Workshops with a core design team, including members across departments, resulted in prototypes of an inclusive internship program and a photo org-chart to build a diverse pipeline while networking with empathy within the organization.
Future of Mobility and the Automotive Industry
“How can our Dealerships better position themselves in the face of oncoming disruption in the Automotive Industry?” was just one of five design challenges undertaken by the Titus-Will core design team in the GID Lab. Through need finding, the core design team tackled challenges to the industry including rideshares and artificial intelligence. The question of the future of mobility was portentous with the advent of Covid-19 shutdowns just a month after the workshop.
Success for the Whole Child
Founders and stakeholders of Zenith West revised their entire business plan and approach through a need finding and ideation session. Alongside founders and employees of Zenith West, the GID Lab team identified and co-designed avenues for Zenith West's growth in the Pierce County region.