It has almost been a month since our second semester has started at Ryerson Law. We kicked off this semester with a four-day "Technology Innovation Intensive", which was led by Hersh Perlis, Director and Co-Founder of the Legal Innovation Zone. We worked in groups to develop an innovative solution for access to justice problems faced by youth and were taken through a variety of sessions to help us do so, such as Problem Discovery, Ideation, Prototyping, and Pitching. We also had a chance to hear from some incredible speakers (including Jack Newton, CEO and Founder of Clio).
Problem Discovery and Ideation were some of my favourite sessions because of the transferrable skills I am able to take away from them. The process of determining pain points in order to discover a bigger problem and conducting a "rapid idea generation" to further refine an idea is something I can apply to anything in my life. The activities that we did in these sessions helped me consider a new perspective on solving problems and involved fun and creative methods.
I also really enjoyed the Prototyping session led by Ahmed Sagarwala, Digital Experience Manager at Future Skills Centre. I've never been a very "technologically-savvy" person, but this session helped me understand that I didn't need to be to build a prototype. We learned how to use tools like Miro and Marvel to build a prototype of our product idea. It was so much fun to explore these tools and, though I'm not the greatest designer, actually build a tangible version of our idea.
The course concluded with a final pitch, where we presented the problem that we identified and the solution we developed. I was very fortunate to have such an incredible group (we call ourselves the Str3am T3am) to go through this Intensive with and I really enjoyed working with their brilliant minds.
I'd like to summarize some key takeaways from the first-ever Technology Innovation Intensive at Ryerson Law:
Innovation is about solving problems. Technology is certainly a tool that can assist with this, but innovation does not necessarily always equate to technological solutions. Design thinking is another great tool to help develop creative solutions.
Design thinking is a way to stimulate creativity. When I was first introduced to the concept of design thinking, I found it difficult to allow my brain to "let loose". I quickly learned to love this method of developing and further refining ideas and appreciated the iterative process involved. My favourite thing about design thinking is the way it forces you to relate to users, helping you to gain a deeper understanding of the problem that they are facing.
Change and new skills are needed. If we have seen anything over the past year in the pandemic it's that there is no "going back to normal". It is a competitive advantage for a law student to possess innovative and entrepreneurial skills and apply them in a way that will contribute to providing better legal solutions. Even understanding how a simple technological solution can help to efficiently run a legal practice in a remote setting and leading its implementation can be the type of contributions that are needed from future lawyers.
My group's idea was to develop an app called Legal Str3am - a curated solution for youth influencers to help them navigate the legal implications of their online work.