Nonprofit 4 Paws for Ability asked Xavier University’s Center for Innovation (CFI) to develop a prosthesis for Tiny, a service dog born with a partial leg.


While Xavier had 31 3D printers available to students, the CFI team knew that innovation projects have to be framed by an effective process. They believed the most innovative solutions start with understanding the problem clearly and tackling it from a human (or canine)-centered point of view, so when they learned about IDEO’s design thinking approach, it seemed like a natural fit.


  • Development of a successful prosthetic leg for the dog in just six weeks 
  • Ability to produce a viable solution with no prior experience in the area, while simultaneously handling other coursework and projects
  • Awareness of the need for process, not just cool technology, to create innovative solutions