In late 2016 a group of TUAS students, teachers and project workers together with Elomatic experts joined together to solve certain challenges in product development. Elomatic are a leading European consulting & engineering company and a global provider of 3D Plant & Ship Design Software Cadmatic with over 700 engineering professionals.
As one aim of the FINCODA project is to test new forms of cooperation in enhancing innovation competencies in university-Company cooperation, the two FINCODA partners developed a programme to allow students to develop their own innovative capacity. This work, bringing together TUAS students and Elomatic experts, goes a long way in contributing to the university-business cooperation.
How did it work?
The student groups consisted mainly of second year Energy and Environmental Engineering students who were facing a real-life design and development challenge for the first time in their university studies. Each group also had a more experienced student who had the opportunity to take on the role of project manager. In addition, the groups had three design students working with them as "consultants". Due to the multidisciplinary teams created, the concept 'Research Hatchery' was coined and the groups were ready to start work.
Each group presented a pitch of their work to Elomatic experts every week. The students received feedback as well as further support in continuing their work. They attended courses alongside these events to allow their innovative skills and competences to emerge and develop. Those who taught these modules took the role of a coach, rather than a traditional teacher, allowing the students to feel empowered and confident to work independently.
What were the outcomes?
The FINCODA Barometer Innovation Assessment Tool was used alongside the programme. They completed the barometer before the work began and then again at the end of the programme. The results of this pre and post assessment showed increases on some dimensions of innovation competence amongst the student groups.
The module ended in the final seminar where all the products created by the student groups were presented to Elomatic. Feedback from the company showed that the results exceeded expectations and that some products will help Elomatic move forward with their product development activities, contributuing to the continued success of the company.