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  • Writer's pictureSteve Chaves

AIPO's Creative Thinking Workshop ignites Innovation for Areté’s new Sandbox Residents

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

The Ateneo Intellectual Property Office (AIPO) in partnership with Areté held a Creative Thinking Workshop for new Areté Sandbox Residents last May 3, 2023 at the Sandbox Zone. The workshop was held onsite and was attended by 17 participants coming from the new Sandbox resident groups of 2022-2023.

Photo: New Arete Sandbox Residents with Design Thinking Trainers: Mr Steve Chaves and Ms Mariela Alcaparas

The main objective of the workshop was to introduce the design thinking methodology to the residents’ approach to addressing the needs of their stakeholders regardless of what stage their respective projects are currently in. Specifically, the workshop aimed to 1) help the participants anchor their innovations on actual users through empathy; 2) develop the ability of participants to solve problems using the design thinking process; 3) build the participants’ creative confidence; and 4) help the participants experience getting feedback for their prototyped ideas.

Popularized by Stanford University’s d.School and IDEO, design thinking is a human-centered design process that develops solutions for the problems humans encounter. It is applicable to anyone and in any industry imaginable. The workshop was led by Mr Steve Chaves and Ms Mariela Alcaparas of AIPO’s Ideation Support Group, both of whom have been design thinking trainers since 2019. The session started with a few welcoming remarks from the Sandbox Programs Coordinator, Mr Skilty Labastilla, followed by Mr Chaves' introduction to creativity, design, and how they are relevant to the innovation process. Ms Alcaparas then proceeded with discussing the 5 phases of design thinking: Empathize; Define; Ideate; Prototype; and Test.

As an exercise, the participants were asked to revolve around exploring solutions to address some difficulties related to the hot weather being experienced by an assigned user in their group. Towards the end of the session, the participants were challenged to produce low-cost and low-fidelity prototypes of their solution specific to their defined “How Might We?” (HMW) question. Some of the Sandbox residents’ outputs included a concept of an innovative green park, a hybrid tree-nursery and pedestrian walkway concept, and product to help cool down pets. These rough prototypes were then presented in front of the plenary for user and audience feedback or suggestions.

Photo: A group presenting their prototype called, "Pupsicle"

The AIPO and Areté hope that the participants continue to utilize creative problem solving through design thinking and help further their projects during their residency. The two offices aim to continue their collaborative efforts in intersecting human-centered design with innovation and art by introducing more activities in the coming months.


If you are interested in learning more about the Design Thinking problem-solving process, feel free to visit the AIPO website at or contact them via email: For more information about the Areté and their Sandbox program visit


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