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Interdisciplinary Education for Innovation is Tough, but it Pays

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FEI Europe 2016 presentation by Dr Peter Purg, Professor in New Media, University of Nova Gorica

The question put to the room, and the focus of the work Dr Purg presented to us, was "is it possible to educate for innovation?"

image from conference presentation

The first programme he described was mymachineglobal.org, where 20-30 children aged 7-10 of age select ideas to go to prototype, with the goal to build innovative products.

As well as the young students, older students and mentors work with them to build prototypes from the drawings.

Some key learnings from the MyMachineGlobal programme:

  • 1. Education for innovation needs to be 'radically transversal' (trans-generational, trans-disciplinary, and trans-cultural),
  • 2. Blended collaboration teams worked successfully across countries, and
  • 3. Limited resources encouraged the students to think creatively and seek out opportunity

image from conference presentation
A second programme described was the IDEATE project (ideate.me) and the IDEATE programme, an inter-University course on interdisciplinary entrepreneurship. The students meet twice a week and then collaborate online.
Bringing University students from different disciplines and different cultures together has been shown to be tough, but pays, with the students learning how to work together.
For this to work, they have found well-structured processes and programmes run by competent interdisciplinary educational teams are required. The IDEATE toolbox is available here for free: howto.ideate.me

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr Claire McGowan is CEO for SODA Inc. (SODAinc.com), a Founder-focused incubator and Wintec company based in Hamilton, New Zealand. Claire has trained as a life scientist, worked in venture capital and investment banking, and built and sold several businesses, including IPMarket.com. @clairemcgowan @Soda_inc @IPMarket

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