King’s students take first place in Canada-wide case competition
Edmonton students from The King’s University took first place in the Design Thinking Challenge competition held at Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC last month.
Team members Megan Apperloo (BCom ‘20), Anna Lodewyk (BCom ‘20), Marshall Ogden (BCom ‘19), and Daniel Van Heyst (BCom ‘20), finished the competition on top even after a rocky start that saw the team trailing dead last earlier in the competition.
“Last place wasn’t a great place to start but we knew we could only go up from here,” laughs Apperloo.
Whereas traditional case competitions ask participants to dig deeper into past issues, the purpose of this competition was to anticipate real-world needs and have participants work with community leaders to address societal concerns.
“Design thinking provides a structured approach for bringing new, yet-unimagined futures into being. In true design thinking fashion, we tried several new ideas before we came up with our final product,” explains Apperloo.
The challenge was how to get downtown workers, who otherwise avoid the area, to spend more time downtown and bring others with them.
The Edmonton-based team from King’s spent sleepless nights trying to work through the challenge, one commonly faced by municipalities worldwide. Their approach—target families and develop strategies aimed at changing the behavior of these individuals first.
King’s students created a new brand for downtown Victoria, emphasizing its suitability for families. In the proposed solution, businesses would be required to apply for a ‘Family Friendly Victoria’ designation. Then, with the logo posted on their door, families would more easily be able to choose where to go.
“We planned to launch the initiative with a grand opening and make a mural of families’ handprints on a wall in the downtown area to create a lasting memory,” says Apperloo. “We would also put up posters in offices downtown with the phrase ‘Want to make more memories with your family? Experience Family Friendly Victoria.’"
In the longer term, the King’s team planned to add activities such as ping-pong tables and chess sets to further help families and others enjoy downtown spaces.
A total of nine post-secondary institutions participated in the challenge.
The King’s University is Edmonton’s Christian University. King’s offers fully accredited programs in the arts, sciences, music, business, and education.