Design as an integrating factor in an international cross‐disciplinary innovation course

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding

Abstract

Today, innovation is a key word for many universities, as it constitutes an important part of most universities’ public and scientific interaction with society. Many universities are striving to increase the number of innovations spun out. At many universities, innovations are thought of as being sprung from research projects and generated by researchers. However, Sandström (2014) claims that while 20 of 100 significant Swedish innovations come from the academic environment, 80% arise in businesses. Therefore, we see the need for innovation-oriented courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels, which foster students into becoming innovators. Creating innovations requires deep disciplinary knowledge, diversity, knowledge of innovation processes, and knowledge of how to take an idea to the market. It also requires the application of this knowledge in novel areas and contexts, to reveal the potential of truly innovative ideas.

Despite this need, however, undergraduate or graduate courses that mix students with different academic backgrounds allowing them to freely synthesize their domain specific knowledge in new contexts are rare. By combining design, business and engineering students in an innovation course, and by letting the students apply their knowledge to current market needs, innovators can be fostered, innovations generated and entrepreneurs born. Furthermore, mixing cultures and mindsets may stimulate creativity, leading to novel and unexpected ideas.

In this paper, we present a novel graduate course on innovation, which was developed in spring 2012, and which has since been executed three times on an annual basis. The course is international and multi-disciplinary in terms of students, teachers and subjects. The course is six (6) weeks long and held in China, with Swedish and Chinese students collaborating in multidisciplinary teams. The novelty of the course lies in the mixture of students and in the fact that design is seen as an integrative factor in the course. The mix of design, business and engineering students is powerful since knowledge in these three disciplines mirrors the three central characteristics of a successful innovation – feasibility, viability and desirability.

Details

Authors
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Engineering and Technologies
  • Economics and Business
  • Design

Keywords

  • design, business, technology, Teaching and learning HE, entrepreneurship, Innovation
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAmerican Society of Engineering Education, International Forum
PublisherAmerican Society of Engineering Education
Pages19.7.1 - 19.7.9
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
EventAmerican Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference 2015 - Seattle, WA, United States
Duration: 2015 Jun 142015 Jun 17

Conference

ConferenceAmerican Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference 2015
CountryUnited States
CitySeattle, WA
Period2015/06/142015/06/17