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Adapting to Change: Innovative Models with Owais Lightwala

How do we craft a thriving future for the arts in times of uncertainty and change?  

Owais Lightwala led an interactive presentation and workshop on Design Thinking methodology. He described it as, “Design thinking is a problem solving approach that emphasizes user understanding, creative ideation, and iterative testing, and the goal of it is basically to solve problems that people have in the real world. Really responding to the need for more user centric human centered design approaches.” 

Owais walks through the five stages of Design Thinking: Empathize, Design, Ideate, Prototype, Test.   

The session collaboratively maps out solutions, outline a toolkit for resilience, a blueprint for action, and fresh perspectives on driving equitable growth in the arts.  

“Innovation: idea of creating value for the people we serve or how are we trying to solve the problems that our communities, our users face that is going to add value for them and ideally in a new way” 


Links and Resources: 

Ideou Design Thinking Process:  

About the presenter: 

Owais Lightwala is a professor, entrepreneur and optimist. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Creative School at Toronto Metropolitan University, where his teaching and research focus on entrepreneurship, leadership, and innovation in creative industries. He is the co-founder and CEO of Sai, a tech startup that is working to revolutionize the way that creatives manage their money. Prior to that, he spent 8 years as the first Managing Director for Why Not Theatre, co-leading the establishment of one of Canada’s most dynamic new arts organizations and producing industry-changing projects like RISER and The Mahabharata. He is sought after as a bold strategic voice in the culture sector, including from institutions like the National Arts Centre, Canada Council for the Arts, and Canadian Heritage.  He has served on many nonprofit boards, including TO Live, Mass Culture, AMY Project, and Art Ignite. He was selected for the invite-only Impact Program for Arts Leaders (Stanford Graduate School of Business), has completed the CORe program (Harvard Business School), was a 2018 DiverseCity Fellow (CivicAction), a fellow in the 2018 Leaders Lab (Toronto Arts Council/Banff Centre), is a graduate of York University’s Theatre program and did his MBA at Toronto Metropolitan University.

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