Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service. The iMac is not just the color or translucence or the shape of the shell. The essence of the iMac is to be the finest possible consumer computer in which each element plays together.

James Vasquez, CIO of USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism


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?


  • Designed and facilitated a design thinking workshop for 20 entrepreneurs
  • Led participants through a curriculum covering all aspects of the design thinking process, tools, and activities to build confidence in human-centered design
  • Facilitated breakout teams with a hands-on exercise of re-imagining common everyday items – a wallet and lunchbox – by rapidly brainstorming ideas, prototyping concepts, and testing prototypes with users
  • Click here to view an article that documents the workshop and its impact by UCI Applied Innovation “Currents”