Social Innovation and Design Thinking project in Eindhoven

DCU staff and students recently travelled to Eindhoven in The Netherlands to take part in a project  led by the Glasgow Caledonian University called the Strategy for Change social innovation training programme.

DCU’s Office of Student Life and the Glasgow Caledonian Student Association work in conjunction alongside the University of Aveiro and RISE Umeå to keep the project ongoing.

The Strategy for Change programme aims to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in designing solutions to social problems. The programme is organised by the Studio for Connected Society in the Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology and takes place in the Designhuis in the university.

Three students from DCU won scholarships to take part in the one-week training programme in Eindhoven, after taking part in two student hackathons in DCU organised by Emer Ní Bhrádaigh and Úna Redmond.

During the week in Eindhoven, the students worked with groups of postgraduate students from Eindhoven, Aveiro and Umeå to develop social enterprise ideas. At the end of the week, the students had to prepare a presentation of their own work, as well as being given the opportunity to review and critique the work of Eindhoven design students, whose project focused on creating a dementia-friendly society.

Speaking about the programme, Deirbhile Ní Chathail, a second year Gnó agus Gaeilge student, said that “the Erasmus Strategy For Change Programme was an experience that really forced me out of my comfort zone. Focusing on design, rather than the practical business procedures was a new method of working for me; using our hands to build our ideas rather than pen and paper opened my eyes to how creative and innovative I can be if I take myself out of my comfort zone and believe in my ability to adapt and work in new ways.”

As part of the programme, DCU hosted a Social Entrepreneurship Conference in the INVENT building last September, which was attended by over 40 delegates from the partner institutions.

DCU students will also have the opportunity to take part in transnational visits to the partners in Glasgow, Eindhoven, Aveiro and Umeå in the next academic year.

Lucy Mangan