The Global Goal

How Compelling Narrative is an Effective Way to Engage People With STEAM [Part 4 of 4]

The new Innovation Stations in the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s (OMSI) Turbine Hall offer guests the opportunity to identify impactful solutions to design challenges and try new experiences. In doing so, visitors will understand that problem solving is a skill that can be practiced and strengthened.

Strong narrative and human-centered design allow problem solving to feel more meaningful and personally relevant. But what are they designing for? Enter the global goal.

At its core, a global goal represents worldwide threats to human’s ability to thrive over the next 100 years – for example, access to fresh water or nutritious food, limiting the effects of climate change, and building healthy communities. The question that arises is “how can we collectively change the course of those challenges?”

With this question in mind, OMSI and its partners are presenting design thinking as a tool for problem solving within the context of global goals. In doing so, activities with which guests interact at the Innovation Stations allow them to make a personal connection between themselves and global grand challenges.

“We discovered that one of the most effective strategies for design thinking and problem solving is narrative – telling a good and altruistic story,” said Andrew Haight, director of guest engagement at OMSI. “So, as opposed to ‘how can we build a big, tall tower?’ it becomes ‘how do we make sure families on the sixth floor stay safe in the event of an earthquake?’”

So, what is OMSI’s first global goal? It’s all about building healthy communities. 

As the corporate foundation of Cambia Health Solutions, Cambia Health Foundation believes philanthropy has the power to transform health care. Founded in 2007, the foundation invests in game-changing solutions that foster a person-centered, integrated health care system able to help people live well from birth through natural completion of life by understanding their goals, addressing social determinants and promoting health equity.

“We are proud to support the OMSI’s center for innovation to shine a light on the wide range of factors and solutions that impact people’s health, from the air they breathe to what they eat, to the relationships they have,” said Peggy Maguire, president of Cambia Health Foundation. “The health care system continues to make much-needed shifts as people demand a more personalized experience that addresses not only their health care needs, but also the social influences that impact their overall health and well-being. We know industry doesn’t have all the answers and look forward to unleashing the creativity of our community to find solutions.”

Haight, Maguire and their teams worked together to determine how they could translate the challenge of building healthy communities into hands-on learning opportunities in OMSI’s Turbine Hall. They developed a series of design challenges that help people connect with each other in the museum, while showing how those social connections build their health and wellness. 

“This is a unique and authentic opportunity for companies to showcase the work they do in an accessible and meaningful way, while connecting with people at OMSI,” said Love Centerwall, vice president of development at OMSI. “Our efforts around the center for innovation were driven by our desire to involve companies in different industries more deeply so that children, families and the community can more fully understand career technical education (CTE) and STEAM careers.” 

Partnerships are crucial to successful programming at OMSI. By cultivating an ecosystem for learning in and out of the classroom, OMSI, in close collaboration with its partners, is amplifying its role in the STEAM career pipeline. The new innovation stations in the Turbine Hall are designed to build STEAM skills, bolster young students’ confidence and enable them to see themselves successful in STEAM subject matter.

Read more about the exciting transformation taking place at OMSI:
•    [Part 1] OMSI Makes STEAM Learning Accessible and Fun: STEAM is Pouring Out of a Place that Used to Spout Steam
•    [Part 2] Connecting People to STEAM: OMSI’s Turbine Hall Gets a New Look and Updated Programming
•    [Part 3] Preparing People for the Future: Why OMSI is Renovating, Updating and Restructuring the Turbine Hall