Their tailored design thinking approach enabled a renewed look at our user engagement initiative, yielding fresh and actionable results that we were able to quickly implement. I was impressed by how quickly their work generated positive, tangible outcomes.

 – CIO


The IT leadership team of USC’s top ranked Communication and Journalism school was tasked with developing a technology vision and strategy that balanced business, academic, and student needs. Rather than taking an operationally-driven approach to planning, they wanted to employ a more customer-based approach built on qualitative and quantitative understanding of their student population. These insights could then drive their strategic priorities, and ensure that their decisions would be aligned with the needs of today’s students and anticipate the behaviors of tomorrow’s professionals.

Design Challenge

How might we transform a routine technology survey into an engaging and efficient platform for student insight that can add strategic value to how the school’s IT and Operations team plans and delivers its portfolio of services?


The project, resulting insights and recommendations led to many short-term and longer term outcomes, including:


  • Improved collaboration across the organization
  • Gained clarity on the diverse range of student behavioral drivers and expectations (e.g., incoming Freshman vs Graduate students) and shifted to a more student-centric segmented approach to better design and deliver offerings that address unmet needs of various student groups
  • Gained clarity on misalignments of and inefficiencies in current offerings relative to student behaviors and expectations
  • Improved decision making on what offerings to deliver and what offerings to remove based on their value to students’ academic experiences and future career needs
  • Expanded the range and integration of technology offerings, including an assessment of course syllabi and industry needs beyond current curriculum to identify skills and platforms that better match resources to needs
  • Established better access to technology and learning resources in sync with the reality of student schedules
  • Developed new signage and improved communication to increase awareness of underutilized resources
  • Changed they way the IT leadership team formulates their annual plan and prioritizes strategic and tactical investment decisions