Covering everything from unpacking business challenges, through to understanding stakeholder requirements and applying design-led innovation techniques to problem solve, the videos have been filmed especially for the ICE+ cohort.
And now, all eyes are on the students to see how they apply their newly acquired skills.
The University’s launch of ICE+ (Innovation Creative Exchange Plus), follows a successful bid to the Office for Students and Research England, as revealed in the spring of 2020. The resulting quarter of a million-pound grant will be used to fuel this interdisciplinary and employability initiative, which will provide opportunities for students at all study levels to engage in real-world challenges, posed by external businesses, between 2020-2022.
“We’re delighted to be one of the partners enrolled to help deliver this exciting scheme,” commented The Engine Room’s managing director Lesley Gulliver. “We’d originally planned to provide immersive face-to-face workshops, but the health crisis meant we quickly had to rethink our model.
“Mindful of the virtual fatigue being experienced by students as 2020 unfolded, we decided to record bespoke, bite-sized videos that can be consumed in handy ‘chapters.’ We set a task in each one, to maintain the interactive element and encourage people to apply their learnings before tuning in for the next episode. And upon completing the six-part series, they are then equipped to take on their first innovation challenge, set by a UK organisation.”
Philip Clegg, head of enterprise and entrepreneurship at the University of Huddersfield applauded The Engine Room’s adaptability: “It’s been a difficult year for many people – not least students, whose learning experiences have risked being jeopardised by the pandemic.
“But they have proven how agile and resilient they are, spurred on by the support of external partners such as The Engine Room, who have worked hard to ensure their development opportunities remain stimulating.
“Having delivered the six-part video series to our first group of students, we now look forward to them putting their knowledge to good use.”
The initial challenge is the creation of a CSR strategy for a local business, in only 1.5 days. Students will then pitch their proposals back to the external organisation, and the team with the best idea will be offered short internships to further develop and/or implement their work.
“While the challenges will naturally vary, we hope all will encourage the students to design, test, reflect, learn and adapt,” continued Phil. “And The Engine Room’s workshops have given them the perfect platform from which to do this.
“In fact, the videos have provided us with a powerful training resource that existing and future students can revisit on-demand over the coming months – which is a benefit we would not have experienced, had they been delivered in person.”
The Engine Room’s design director Darren Evans added: “As designers, we’re passionate about showcasing the benefits of design thinking to help businesses solve almost any organisational challenge. If young people develop an understanding of such a human-centred approach to innovation, before they’ve even experienced the world of work to any great degree, things could get really exciting!”
For further information about the ICE+ initiative – including how to set a challenge for the aspiring professionals – please visit the University of Huddersfield’s website.