Design Session with NIT students, NUST

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150 students from three engineering schools attended the design event in the NIT Seminar Hall at NUST, Islamabad on 25th Oct, 2016 organized by Design for Pakistan, a growing organization that promotes social entrepreneurship in young minds. The session began with an insightful lecture by the NUST Faculty Member, Ms. Maheen Mumtaz who threw light on the overall process of social entrepreneurship. She encouraged students to take risks and test their ideas in the field and cited examples of leading social innovators including Fiza Farhan, co-founder of Buksh Foundation, who brought solar-powered lights to 6,750 households across the country.

The floor was then handed over to Ahsaan Rizvi, curator of Design for Pakistan, to conduct the hands-on and fast-paced design process workshop. Introducing Design for Pakistan as a social organization, he said that the concept of the organization was inspired by Design for America which was founded in 2009 in Northwestern University and has since grown over to 36 schools across the states. The workshop was facilitated by five mentors from the industry who had a strong educational and design background. The mentors belonged to various disciplines with illustrious accomplishments in their careers, and shared passion for design. Mentors who coached during the sessions were Umair Qureshi (CEO LEADPK), Muhammad Bin Naveed (Architect and Design Instructor), Afifa Awan (Faculty Member, NUST), Ibraheem Ahmed (CEO, GOAL Tranings) and Ehsam Ullah Baig (Founder, Pakistan Innovation Summit for Education).

The participants were introduced to the complete cycle of the design process in an accelerated way. The content of the workshop was made from the curriculum of Stanford dSchool, and IDEO/Acumen Design Kit course on Human-Centered Design. Participants filled out worksheets as they went through the steps of the process culminating in building a tangible solution. Scrap materials were provided by Design for Pakistan so that participants could physcial embodiment to their ideas and let users interact with it. Creative solutions were put forth by students and in mere ten minutes, innovative prototypes were built depicting their solution for the user to interact with. This accelerated process not only helped in honing the problem solving skills of the participants, but also pushed them to thinking about creating a positive change in their communities. A certificate distribution concluded the session with Ms. Maheen Mumtaz and Ahsaan Rizvi presenting the appreciation certificates to the mentors and organizers of the workshop. While describing the future plans of DFP, Ahsaan Rizvi remarked, “More workshops will be conducted along these lines in different schools of Islamabad this year”. The workshop series are supported by the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) and Fulbright Commission.