DT.UNI. - Design Thinking Approach for an Interdisciplinary University

What is it?

DT UNIDT. UNI. will explore and develop design-led thinking approaches which support innovation in higher education institutions by using a bottom-up approach, i.e. supporting students, researchers, academics and management staff in developing their ability to think in a more divergent, creative and design thinking way. 

Design Thinking Workshop November 26th-30th 2018  

We are calling for 4 BCU managers to participate in a 5-day-workshop at Birmingham City University as part of the ERASMUS+ DT.Uni project. The workshop is aimed specifically at Managers who work within higher education and aims to skill-up participants to enable them to apply design thinking techniques into their day to day work within their own institution/area of work.  Download the International Design Thinking Workshop registration. 

What does the project enable?

The project will enable students, researchers/academics and management teams to adopt a design led way of thinking and facilitate their shift from passive knowledge consumers to active producers of knowledge. The challenge is to accelerate and widen the exchange of skills and opinions across social science, humanities and creative subject areas.

The project is coordinated by Maria Curie-Sklodowska University (UMCS) cooperating with 7 HE partners (for partner information click here). Birmingham City University, through the institute for Creative Innovation, are leading on developing a new toolkit for HE managers to support design-led thinking approaches.

In addition to the main focus of the project above, added value will be developed through:

  • Focusing on improving high quality skills of students and academics such as: creativity, adaptation to rapidly changing circumstances, teamwork, flexibility, ‘learning to learn’ competences, and improved perception on own capacity to solve problems. 
  • Supporting innovation and creativity. 
  • Promoting internationalisation, supporting changes in line with Bologna principles and tools. 

The approach:

  •  Interdisciplinary education - explaining phenomenon, problem solving, or creating a product (the STEAM approach)
  •  Design Thinking – understood as a particular style of innovative problem solving 

Participants of the Project (students, researchers/academics and management staff) will: 

  • increase their sense of initiative and entrepreneurship 
  • increase their competence in foreign language (especially English) speaking 
  • increase their intercultural skills 
  • increase their level of digital competence 
  • acquire a greater understanding of social, ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity 
  • acquire more positive attitude towards the European Union and EU values 
  • improve the transversal competences, including: creativity, adaptation to rapidly changing circumstances, intercultural and multilingual competences, social development teamwork, flexibility, ‘learning to learn’ competences, and improved perception of own capacity to solve problems 
  • improve their satisfaction and motivation in daily work/study

Benefits for the specific target groups:

1) Students – the general benefit for students will be improved skills and competences around knowledge based economy. Students will take part in locally organised and international workshops throughout the duration of the project until summer 2020; a workshop for students is planned by the lead partner to take place in Lublin (spring 2018).

2) Researchers /academics – through engagement with the project and attendance at a range of international and local workshops, this group will develop their knowledge base around design-led thinking processes placing them in a position to engage more readily in interdisciplinary activities with colleagues and to inform their teaching, sharing this approach with students; The main workshop is planned by Technische Universitaet Dresden (spring 2018), locally organised workshops with other partners are planned for winter 2018/2019.

3) Management staff – this group will develop their skills and knowledge base to support their thinking in this area, enabling them to approach their work in a more divergent, creative, innovative and interdisciplinary way, this is a core aim of the project; individuals will become more open to changes at university through the development of inter-cultural capabilities. They will take part in locally organised and international workshops (spring/summer 2019); BCU will organise and host the workshop in winter 2018/2019.     

The project also supports the 2011 EU Modernisation Agenda for Higher Education.