Challenge Based Innovation: a multidisciplinary learning approach

Sonia Navarro (@son_navarro) Associate director, Institute for Social Innovation, ESADE.

Challenge Based Innovation (CBI) is a four-month project-based course in which multidisciplinary student teams from ESADE, UPC, IED Barcelona and UNIMORE in Italy collaborate with researchers at CERN IdeaSquare to discover novel solutions for the future of humankind. Each team is given a human-driven challenge and must apply methodologies to prototype solutions that will ideally include technologies derived from research at CERN.

On 1st December 2016, at a gala held at CERN in Geneva, guests learned about the proof-of-concept prototypes on which the five student teams had been working over the past few months to address various societal challenges. One of the teams (Learning Environment of the Future) was sponsored by the E&Y Foundation through ESADE’s Institute for Social Innovation.

The way students learn is changing. In this course, students work with methodologies such as design thinking, which involves a human-centric approach to designing products and services. The course also gives students the opportunity to connect with CERN scientists and work with students from other disciplines, just as they will have to do in their future jobs. Moreover, it forces them to think about all the potential uses of new technologies, as well as the impact of those technologies on people and society at large.

The following are the challenges posed to the multidisciplinary student teams, for which they developed the proof-of-concept prototypes presented in Geneva on 1st December:

1-     Learning environment of the future

What is the “classroom”/learning environment of the future? How can the learning experience be improved through the interaction of physical and digital space?

2-     Return to working life after a traffic accident

How could technology help in the psychological rehabilitation of people injured in traffic accidents, in order for them to return to normal working life?

3-     Integration of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities into society

How might we improve the cognitive development and communication skills, and consequently the quality of life, of people with IDDs through ICTs?

4-     Emergency housing networks

How could technology help to improve the living conditions of refugees, displaced people and others in need of emergency temporary shelter?

5-     Smart maintenance

How could we integrate the viewpoints of the various actors to make possible a more valuable, context-aware and anticipatory approach to maintenance? What role do smart factory technologies play in that integration?

The aim of CBI is to create future changemakers by offering international students and researchers a unique real-life experience in prototyping with a human-centric approach. In a world where everything is changing at an unprecedented speed and many radical changes are being unleashed by new digital, robotic and 3D technologies, amazing innovations will create huge opportunities for economic growth as well as serious societal challenges and inequalities.

Providing this experience is a wonderful way to prepare students for the fast-moving technology-driven changes in our society.

Social Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation | , , , , ,

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