Prepr Brings PIE to Laurier University UX Design Students

Prepr Brings PIE to Laurier University UX Design Students

On February 3, 2019, Prepr met with 25 UX Design students at the Laurier University Brantford campus to launch the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Challenge. 

Prepr’s SDG Challenge asks innovators, like the young bright minds of Laurier’s UX Design program, to use the PIE methodology to create a feasible, original solution for an issue they are passionate about.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals outline the UN’s hopes to achieve a more sustainable, equitable, and efficient future for all. They address large global issues, including poverty, inequality, climate change, water scarcity, and healthcare. The goals interconnect and are proposed to be achieved by the year 2030. The SDGs are an urgent call for action to all countries—developed and developing—as a global partnership. 

Abby Goodrum, Professor and Program Coordinator, had this to say about Prepr’s PIE method: “What I really love about the PIE method […] is that it takes design thinking and entrepreneurship and it puts them together in a really nice, seamless and iterative manner. A lot of the time we teach one or the other […] but this is much better thought-out, tested, validated, much more complete.”

Through Prepr’s PIE methodology, the excited UX Design students chose issues that inspired them most and got to work with mapping out realistic solutions to real-world problems. 

In groups of 4-8, with one student acting as team leader, students collaborated on one of four different challenges: sustainable energy, digital divide, rural transformation and sustainable cities. These four challenges were a partnership with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity and inspired a starting point from which students took their own creative paths to success. Students enjoyed the two-day PIE® workshop where they learned hands-on how to problem-solve, innovate, and lead social action. 

About the PIE method, one student commented, “It gave us good guidance on what we do on each step. It made them small tangible steps that were easy to follow and […] it was a good way to reinforce the skills we are learning and add new skills to our arsenal.” 

Another student noted how PIE made problem-solving big issues manageable: “When we first started, I didn’t quite understand how we would get to the solution—the problems were so big—but it really helped us narrow down, to the point where it was a step-by-step but at the same time we could still go back and iterate what we learned through each step.”

One team of students working on the digital divide challenge impressed with a teacher toolkit designed to strengthen classroom learning of digital platforms despite the issue of a lack of tech resources. The kit would include pre-set presentation boards, stickers, and other supplies that help to replicate digital platforms in a digital-less classroom. The team proposed regional networks of teachers for the sharing of toolkits to ensure that educators and students in need have access to digital education. The sharing of the kits would be a constant flow between educators and would be dependent on grade level and learning ability suited to specific tools.

The Laurier University workshop was a success of creative young minds coming together to form socially conscious solutions to global challenges. The practicable innovation achieved by this group of students is only one demonstration of young innovators’ incredible potential to change the world!

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