Aims and learning outcomes
Winning companies, such as Apple, Google, Tesla and others, innovate continuously because of their culture of design thinking. Design thinking is the ability to integrating the needs of people, the possibilities of technology and the requirements for business success. In this course, you will learn how to take a similar approach developing a project of interdisciplinary nature. The aim is to combine your (vertical) disciplinary knowledge from the MS Computer Science program with interdisciplinary (horizontal) skills needed to work in a truly multidisciplinary environment, which characterizes the current industry trends.
The project will focus on a multidisciplinary problem, emphasizing the requirements specification, the design and feasibility analysis of the envisioned solution, and the implementation of a proof of concept show-casing the most innovative part and feasibility of the solution. These will be the project outcomes. Cutting edge technologies and results of the most recent the Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioingegneria (DEIB) research work will be considered as a baseline. Each project is mentored by a team of tutors, with different backgrounds; one of them should belong to the Computer Engineering Area of the DEIB. Examples of projects developed in recent years range from self-driving cars, big data analytics for infectious disease, sensing smart cities, indoor localization applications for airports and artificial intelligence applications for space systems.
To develop the foundations of a design thinking approach and the ability to work effectively in a group, a set of lectures will focus on principles of design thinking and collaborative problem solving. Students will participate to small team-based concept development, considering case studies and innovative scenarios problem settings. Moreover, lectures focusing on design methods and innovation management in a social context will be provided online.
At the end of this course, students will learn to:
- Understand the design thinking process
- Generate and evaluate new product and service concepts
- Design services and customer experiences
- Evaluate product development economics
The first two lectures of the course will be dedicated to provide an overview of the content of the course lectures about innovation management and design methods, and to the presentation of projects proposals.
Projects will be developed by groups of up four students. The third lecture will focus on the design thinking process and will introduce case studies and success stories.
Lectures on interdisciplinary aspects will be provided on-line through the dedicated YouTube channel available. The lectures are a subset of the Alta Scuola Politecnica (ASP) Courses on interdisciplinary issues, methods and models of innovation provided by the ASP program. These lectures are based on seminars given by prominent international professors from Universities all over the world (including Stanford, MIT and Berkeley).
The students then will be asked to discuss in a critical way and provide their personal interpretation of the on-line lecture contents. The discussion will be lead alternatively by different groups of students and the leadership and participation to the discussion will be part of the final evaluation.
Project selection will be performed by students, who will indicate their preferences after project presentations. Matching will attempt to satisfy the majority of students while, at the same time, allocating students to the majority of projects and satisfying projects disciplinary pre-requisites.
The projects will be monitored through a follow-up and feedback, using three follow-up sessions that will be scheduled (requirements definition, mid-term, and final evaluation); presentation skills exhibited by the group will contribute to the evaluation.
Student workload will be compatible with the 5 credits. Lecturing will consists of about 4hrs lessons (in class) dedicated to course organization, presentation management, design thinking process and collaborative problem solving, of online lectures for about 10hrs, and general discussions in class for about 6hrs (total of 20 hrs). Project work will require individual and team work, whose impact will be variable but generally defined by tutors so as to be sized within 50-60 total hrs for each student; project progress will be monitored through several (3-4) pubic presentations.
- Lecture 1: Course objectives and introduction to design thinking, multidisciplinary issues, methods and models of innovation
- Lecture 2: Project proposals presentation
- Lecture 3: Design Thinking Process and Collaborative Problem Solving
- Lecture 4: Team-based concept development on simple case studies
- Project assignment
Week 3-4 (online)
- Independent vision and study on “design methods”
- Lecture 5: Discussion on design methods. Which approach best fit your project needs?
- Project requirements presentations (open participation for tutors)
Week 6-7 (online)
- Independent vision and study on “Innovation and society”
- Lecture 6: Discussion on innovation and society. How is your project innovative and which is your unique value proposition?
- Mid-term project presentations (open participation for tutors)
Week 9-11 (online)
- Independent vision and study on “Innovation management”
- Lecture 7: Discussion on innovation management. How do you expect to be successful and face challenges of other market competitors?
- Final project presentation (open participation for tutors)