Author is a design thinking enthusiast and a service designer, who has designed, organised or taken part in three different types of innovation events: Hackathons, Service Jams, and Design Sprints. These topics are covered in the subsequent parts of this series, they can be read in any order.
Hackathons, Service Jams, and Design Sprints are design methods and innovative learning-by-doing events. They aim to produce new, innovative solutions to identified challenges such as “Creating Stronger Communities” or “AI and Working Life” and to teach modern methods of problem solving. Regardless of the chosen method, all three are great ways to engage participants in a useful and mutually beneficial way. All three require a new way of thinking and working and they will all have the participants learning at an intense rate.
It is also important to note that intense learning-by-doing experiences can shift and change to meet the needs of the problem at hand. So, let’s look at what these intensive events can offer in an educational environment to participants, teachers, and companies.
The first thing that is required by everyone involved in any of these events is an entrepreneurial mindset or an interest in developing one. This mindset includes things like
- valuing and enhancing creativity
- increased tolerance towards uncertainty
- a higher willingness to take risks
- being intrinsically motivated through curiosity
- and, very importantly, a willingness to accept failure as not only a valid outcome but viewing it as a learning experience.
During the event, the participants will be practicing and enhancing this mindset as well as learning new tools and methods for problem-solving. In essence, they will be reinforcing the entrepreneurial mindset by learning tools and methods that allow them to use it in the future.
This means that each group involved – the teacher, the participant, and the company representative – has to be open to and to embrace this way of working. Teachers have to allow and encourage curiosity, uncertainty, creativity, and even failure as a viable option. Same with companies. This can be a challenge.
For teachers, it can also be hard to grade. This is why the European Union has created an assessment framework for the entrepreneurial mindset – EntreComp.
All participants welcome
One of the most important aspects of co-creation and innovative learning events is that they include and bring together participants from different disciplines. This allows for different lived experiences, knowledge, skillsets, and other things that enhance learning to come together. This in itself is a learning experience for participants who have not worked on a project with someone outside their area of interest or expertise.
Following a set framework
These methods of learning-by-doing are guided by a framework that is both flexible and modern. While the students are working in teams with the challenge-providing companies, everyone is able to follow where they are in the process and what is expected of them next. This allows the companies to feel secure that their time is not being wasted or that it is not too chaotic to follow.
While the participants are learning and using a reusable set of methods that they can apply elsewhere once the event is over. The teacher also has a framework which to base learning progress and assessment on.
However, none of these events is set in stone. That is not the purpose of this type of learning. It is quite the opposite of the intention. Having an open mind is the number one requirement for any innovative co-creation methods and processes. Being able to use these methodologies and to embody an entrepreneurial mindset package of behaviours and attitudes is what will propel individuals and teams forward to take on the challenges of the future.
Some parts of a process may be shorter or longer depending on the information available. You may have research already that you can draw on so the research segment is shortened, etc. You may find it hard to reach real customers to test your prototype on so that needs to be extended to meet their schedules.
Where to find intense innovative learning events
When you read the other posts, you will see that in each of these types of events, we looked at the intended outcomes, how they are conducted, how good teams are created, what kind of connections are made, and how they might look for in the education field. It is important to note upfront that for each of these kinds of events, there are multiple learning outcomes, some overlapping and some exclusive. In other words, while the events are different in many ways, they can also blur into each other at times.
The next question becomes, where can you find these events? These events come in many different shapes and sizes. You can find these in:
- Credit-bearing classes
- Private companies
- In-house events at companies and organisations
- Paid for events
- Free events
- Events that pay the participants
There are so many ways to access these events and if you are thinking about running one of these events, it is probably best to try one as a participant first. The best way to understand the value of this intensive experience is to be involved.
How to find this kind of event at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences?
If you are interested in getting involved in an intensive learning event, then you can check out the 10 Days 100 Challenges design sprint that takes place in the end of May or beginning of June and coordinated by the 3AMK team in the Research, Development, and Innovation (RDI) unit. This event brings together students and teachers of Metropolia, Laurea, and Haaga-Helia. It also allows a variety of students to work with real companies and demonstrate what they are capable of. As a service designer who has organised and run this kind of event multiple times, I can say that participants almost always come out of these experiences changed in some way.
Pamela Spokes works as a Service Designer in Metropolia’s RDI team. Originally from Canada, Pamela has years of experience in university admin focusing on international recruitment, marketing, and the international student/staff experience. With a Bachelor’s from Canada, a Master’s degree from Sweden, an MBA in Service Innovation & Design from Laurea, and her AmO from Haaga-Helia, she is interested in purposefully designed experiences that are centred around the user. Don’t be surprised if she knocks on your door to talk about learning co-creation methods through intensive learning experiences.