Nutrition and Dietetics Innovation Journey: What we’ve learnt so far

Earlier this year, seven Nutrition & Dietetics staff put up their hands to undertake a hands-on innovation journey with Flinders University’s New Venture Institute. The “Learning Lab” program was a deep dive into principles and methods such as design thinking, growth mindsets, assumption testing, rapid prototyping, and co-creating solutions with ‘end-users’.

Since innovation is not meant to be done alone, we were joined by three external dietitians in our endeavour to find new ways of thinking and working. In small teams, we investigated outcomes we’d like to see in our work and profession; embedding innovation into our curriculum, increasing graduate employment, and finding new funding for nutrition work in the community.

Through participating in creative activities such as the marshmallow challenge, we learnt that to design truly innovative solutions, we need to test ideas early and seek plenty of feedback before designing a solution. As Einstein said ‘If I had 60 minutes to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes defining it, and 5 minutes solving it.’

Following the program, we hosted an interactive innovation workshop in the city, attended by twenty-two nutrition stakeholders around Adelaide. The aim was to share our learnings and invite ideas for innovation and engagement with our staff and students. The event provoked plenty of discussion about the future of nutrition work, and a number of new connections were made between attendees.

Two months later, our staff are excited to be working with partners Test Kitchen and SA Health’s Prevention and Population Health Branch to pilot innovation-themed nutrition placements in 2019. Look out for a workshop in 2019 to continue our learning and development.

Staff will be continuing their innovation journey further still, working on a project to develop an innovative nutrition curriculum. Watch this space!

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