Markku Koskela, Aalto University
News & articles
Project at a glance
- Utilizes Design Thinking approach.
- Heavy focus on the problem space to generate a problem worth solving before proposing a solution.
- Uses a relay approach between the courses so that the student teams from one course continue from where student teams from another course left off.
The SUGAR Global Innovation (SGI) student program makes use of design thinking methodology to undergo the student projects, working through technology research and opportunity formulation and the chosen challenges starting from problem space exploration and need finding, to iterative cycle of ideation, experimentation and prototyping.
Overall, our students are encouraged to “dive deep” into their problem spaces, empathizing with possible users and stakeholders, and understanding the problem space best to their capabilities. The students are provided weekly lectures and mentoring that support and guide the students throughout the duration of the course.
To further support the development of an entrepreneurial mindset, our approach is designed to give large levels of independence to the students and the teams in terms of their working. Additionally, to the continuous mentoring, the teachers provide the students with relevant and necessary tools for ideation, creativity, and teamworking. These skills, combined with an open and largely independent teamworking experience, shall provide the students with the ideal environment for being creative and transforming their ideas into concepts.
In practice, the structure of our study program is divided to 4 different courses, 3 of which are hosted at Linköping University (LiU), in Sweden, and 1 at Aalto University, in Finland.
These four courses form tracks that support each other through knowledge transfer as well as overall approach to the given technology-based challenges. The Term Project course in Linköping plays a significant role, as they start the work with researching the given technologies and identifying potential opportunity areas for future work. The outcomes from this course are the starting points for the next. Engineering course in Linköping takes on some of the more straightforward challenges, where our SUGAR projects in collaboration between Aalto and LiU, as a global student team, take on some of the more open-ended challenges and opportunities to design for.