Developing User-Centered Design Capabilities in Startup Founders

Helping innovation leaders change culture within a mature company

Case Study

How might we train fast moving entrepreneurs on the value of human-centered design?

The University of California Irvine (UCI) Applied Innovation manages a Wayfinder Incubator Program that accelerates venture development for promising UCI affiliated startups. While UCI provides the teams with a physical space and strategic guidance, UCI leadership determined the need for additional training of rapid creative problem-solving processes and human-centered design methodologies specific to their entrepreneurial needs.

Eager to close the gap for these emerging startups, UCI engaged MO Studio facilitate a hands-on human-centered design workshop for technology entrepreneurs at various stages of product development. MO Studio’s curriculum included practical tools to rapidly gain customer insight, ideate, prototype, and develop winning ideas. Participants were led through a day-long experience covering all aspects of the design thinking process, with the goal of empowering participants with a thorough understanding of human-centered design. Breakout teams practiced their newfound knowledge with hands-on experiences including the re-imagining common everyday items – a wallet and lunchbox – by rapidly brainstorming ideas, prototyping concepts, and testing prototypes with users.

“MO Studio did a phenomenal job working with our startup teams. Their energy and creativity were infectious and all participants—ranging from undergraduate students and young professionals to physicians and executives—loved the experience. The content they provided will be invaluable for helping them along their entrepreneurial journeys!”
– UCI Applied Innovation, New Ventures Program Coordinator   

UCI’s CURRENTS publication documented the workshop and experience in the article “Magnum Opus Studio Coaches Wayfinder Participants in Design Thinking