Tag: Studio Y

Push and Studio Y


^ An example of some of the software that Push offers

On Thursday we visited the studio Push, located within the MaRs complex in downtown Toronto. Push is sport technology company started within MaRs that focuses on a wearable armband that helps competitive athletes refine their workout through scientific certified metrics. It began as a small company of about 3 people. They used a start up “assistant” located within the MaRs building to help get the ball rolling. The assistant helped train them in common business practices and marketing, as well as helping to establish their brand. The starting team had little experience in running a business so the help proved invaluable. The company knows it target demographic quite well and has tuned to their product accordingly, which was very important in their process. However, they intend to expand their target audience to more casual users. The company also emphasised the freedom of starting your own business.

This trip proved to provide some helpful insight into the operations of a start-up business. In many ways, Push reflects some of my own goals in terms of business. The person we were talking to emphasised the freedom and flexibility you obtain from starting your own business. This is one of the biggest reasons why I want to start my own business. I’ve never wanted to work for a large scale corporation where my word means nothing. It also fascinates me that the workforce is shifting from specialized employees to more multi-faceted employees who carry a variety of skills. This improves my disposition towards our course considerably. It makes me more comfortable about the future.

  1. Were there any money problems when you were starting out?
  2. How big was the team when you started and how big is It now
  3. What were some of things that Jolt taught you?


On the same day as Push, we visited the Studio Y space in the lower portion of the MaRs building. It was a welcoming space, filled with plenty of young students. Studio Y is a gathering place of young people from around the North America that come together to collaborate with each other. There are 25 “fellows” that make up the entirety of Studio Y. Every 8 months these 25 “fellows” change. These fellows each bring their own personal projects where they recruit the help of their fellows to assist them. They bring a new perspective that can be incredibly valuable to their projects. The system challenges they take on are similar in themes to their personal projects, except they are on a much larger scale. They invited us to communicate with them and raise discussion topics that would be debated in small groups. The topics ranged from more tangible discussions such as the concept of Online friends while some were more abstract, like the discussion on our ways of communication.

I found this visit to be an intriguing venture. I never really knew that such spaces existed, where students were brought in for 8 months – with all their expenses covered including room and food – and were given the freedom to pursue their own personal projects. It seems like an incredibly useful tool and also a very fun experience. The new perspective that these fellows could bring to each other’s projects sounds like perhaps the most useful part of the Studio Y experience. I’ve often found that having a fresh pair of eyes on something that you’ve been slaving over for hours can you can give some much needed perspective.


  1. How does one become a “fellow” in Studio Y
  2. What are the types of projects that are encouraged in Studio Y?
  3. What are the types of projects that you guys tackle for your system challenges?





Studio Y – (“Why?”)

Q: What is the maximum amount of people to ever be in the studio simultaneously?

Q: How high is the success rate of studio members getting a full time employment in a company?

Q: How dos the studio maintain itself? Is it a government organization?

Summary:Studio Y is an interesting place located in MaRS building for people aspiring for opportunities, rich with ideas and innovations. The place itself is a comfy studio with pillow-seats and chairs forming a circle, where all the studio members gather and discuss projects and ideas, share thoughts and experiences and collaborate. Studio has interesting group division procedures where certain members pitch their idea and the remaining members disperse themselves into groups based on how members resonate with certain ideas. During our visit to Studio Y we were treated as members. We were taught the basic procedures of interacting within this environment, like clicking when our views resona+ed with the view of the speaker, and separated into groups based on people’s interests.  In teams we discussed various ideas that were important to us and then on return to the room we talked about our ideas with the entire community. Studio Y provides many opportunities for students to cooperate with larger companies and opens a window for inexperienced students fresh from universities to get a job at one of the companies.

Reflection: The overall experience of visiting Studio Y was pretty interesting. I was slightly disoriented at first at how friendly everyone was and how the conversations got picked up pretty quickly, however the overall experience was amazing. I joined a group which was discussing education in video games and it was quite the experience, sharing thoughts and with people interested in the same topic. I brought up the example of physics in video games such as in Half Life and Portal, where the knowledge of physics required to solve puzzles could potentially be a applied to real life. In general it was a good experience and I would definitely remember Studio Y.

Studio Y – March 13


Our second stop inside the MaRS building was Studio Y, where young people can apply for a 8-moth fellowship to learn about techniques useful for building leadership skills, entrepreneurship and many other types of skills. Reading about Studio Y made me wonder a few things, and those were my questions:

  • What specific qualities and abilities Studio Y’s members work on?
  • Aside from discussions, are there any other ways for the members to participate and develop their skills?
  • What do you classify as ‘innovation’ when it comes to game design?


Studio Y is located on a very nice room that looks a lot more informal and diverse than what we had seen from the MaRS building. We were greeted by some of the studio’s members, who introduced themselves and explained to us how the studio worked, and what are its objectives. We were then invited to participate in a session of discussion of varied topics, some proposed by the present studio’s members and others raised by some of us. Each person could pick one of the proposed topics to discuss, which resulted in small groups discussing varied subjects (for example, games narratives, the future of tech, games in education, inclusion and technologies, and others). The person who proposed the discussion topic also needed to pick a location for their group, including different corners of the room, the kitchen, and the food court. I decided to join the games in education discussion (located in the food court) with other four people. We discussed how often games are “dumbed down” to be used as instruments of education, which ends up creating a negative label for educational games in general, even though there are some good games of this type out there. It was also mentioned how there seems to be a lot of educational games for children but not nearly as many for teenagers or young adults, which reinforces games being “dumbed down” as children’s play and being necessarily easy and about simple topics. This prompted us to discuss about possible solutions to make educational games just as appealing as most common games. Once time was up, we returned to Studio Y’s room and each group gave feedback about their discussion, and nice discussion outcomes were rewarded with finger snapping.



The nicest thing I noticed about Studio Y is that there’s a lot of freedom for participants to choose what they want to do and discuss, which promotes more honest and vivid discussions. The environment itself is also very welcoming and strangely cozy, giving the meeting a much more personal rather than professional feeling. I think this kind of atmosphere can be very positive for idea generation and innovation in general. The studio seems to explore and reinforce everything that most OCAD students seek, especially with the heavy focus on innovation. The idea of being able to pick a topic to discuss from scratch instead of discussing previously defined ideas (as it happens in most “discussion circles”) is very refreshing and particularly useful for brainstorming, and I feel I could have participated a bit more if I wasn’t shy. Regardless, even for shy people such as myself, I think the studio provides a very positive environment for idea generation and learning in general.



(Inside Studio Y – Community Gather and Discussion)


  1. StudioY cohorts 25 new people each year. How are these 25 people chosen?
  2. After the fellowship, people can choose to pursue one of the following three categories: Education, Enterpreneurship, and employment. Do you have any successful cohorts that have graduated this program without going into one of these three categories, and have applied the skills? (Successful meaning stable living or good career).
  3. Who are the supports of the Studio Y program? Are any of those companies related to what Studio Y is trying to achieve?


When the class arrived at Studio Y, our host, Hilary Predko, greeted us at the door. She first explained to the group about what Studio Y is about, and then asked every one in the room for 6-8 possible topics to talk about. The different topics included techno-cyber inclusion, community business structures, story telling and the truth/false of stories, how tech plays into varying abilities, educational segregation, the future of digital component in teaching, and how games, mechanics and narration unite together. After the topics were chosen, people got to choose which topic they wanted to talk about and relocated to different locations in order to talk more about the subject. The subject I participated in was educational segregation. Speaking about the topic, we were able to define the possible problems of the educational system. We determined that in most schools, school systems believe their educational system is “perfect”, and enforces students to take classes according to that structure. We also discussed about the possible changes to this system and how students over certain ages should be able to choose what is best for them. All of the groups later reconvened at Studio Y and discussed the various topics as a larger group.

Personal Reflections:

Studio Y’s open space environment has proven to be a very communicative setting. The weekly group meetings to discuss various topics open up many ways of thinking and interaction. I was especially thrilled to hear about all of the different topics to talk about, such as the story telling, game making, and education. Joining in on the education segregation topic, I believe that it is true that students are sometimes guided too tightly within the parameters of the school system. From primary school to high school, the plan for some schools has not reached its strong point. In my past experience of schooling, I clearly remember that I was forced to learn the same level of math in each year in different grades. This idea of enforcing math at a lower level but multiple times made me realize I have wasted quite a bit of time to do certain subjects I have already mastered. School systems also don’t offer electives early on, which puts stress in students to figure out what path they want to take in the four years of high school. During middle school, the teachers chose students they want to keep when they taught a higher grade, manipulating the education system. This act segregated students from the teachers’ “favourites” to the ones teachers are less interested in. Students feel enough stress as is trying to learn, fit in, and be students. The problems listed here are not all of the possible problems, but it would be great if education system for primary to high schools would change for the better.

Studio [Y]

What exactly is Studio [Y]?

How does one become a fellow?

Is being a fellow at Studio [Y] enjoyable (is it a good use of one’s time?)

Today we visited Studio [Y]. Studio [Y] is an 8 month design fellowship program. There fellows spend the time working on personal innovation projects, participating in courses and participating in systems challenges. The course curriculum includes things like analytical thinking, critical thinking, design thinking and systems thinking. There is also a support system in place for the fellows to do their work. This includes group development teams, quest proposals, outside visitors, etc. As visitors we were part of what is referred to as a “community day”. As part of this we joined the fellows in small groups for what they call an “un-conference”, where free form topics are suggested and then completely unstructured discussions are held around those topics. I was in a group discussing the limits of mechanist academics and the benefits of alternative and experience based learning. We also talked about the growing divide between the current education system and one that is more ‘leaner oriented’.

I found this visit very enjoyable. I think that Studio [Y] is a great place and a good example of innovations in the post-secondary education field. I really enjoyed taking part in the “un-conference”. The discussion gave me some good insight into another’s perspective on the issue, but I really just liked that we were able to have a free form discussion around a very ephemeral and rich topic that wasn’t immediately related to my current academic career (sometimes freedom of topic choice can be quite a relief). I found this visit more beneficial from a personal standpoint than a professional one; I was able to pull more philosophical growth from this experience than professional growth (which is not a bad thing).


Use of this service is governed by the IT Acceptable Use and Web Technologies policies.
Privacy Notice: It is possible for your name, e-mail address, and/or student/staff/faculty UserID to be publicly revealed if you choose to use OCAD University Blogs.