UCD Undergraduate Innovation Modules

Work beyond your discipline


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UCD Undergraduate Innovation Modules

Work beyond your discipline


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Elective Modules

UCD Innovation Academy offers three elective modules open to undergraduate students in all schools across University College Dublin. Each class is a community of students from different disciplines and years.

These three elective modules can now be combined to form a ‘Structured Elective’ in Innovation for Change. Structured Electives will appear on your official UCD Transcript, and mean future employers will see that you have a block of credits in a specific area; in this case Innovation.

(Note: Enrolment on an Innovation Academy module means a commitment to active participation and engagement, which necessitates attendance at all scheduled classes. Please note that auditing Innovation Academy modules is not be possible.)


Elective Modules

UCD Innovation Academy offers three elective modules open to undergraduate students in all schools across University College Dublin. Each class is a community of students from different disciplines and years.

These three elective modules can now be combined to form a ‘Structured Elective’ in Innovation for Change. Structured Electives will appear on your official UCD Transcript, and mean future employers will see that you have a block of credits in a specific area; in this case Innovation.

(Note: Enrolment on an Innovation Academy module means a commitment to active participation and engagement, which necessitates attendance at all scheduled classes. Please note that auditing Innovation Academy modules is not be possible.)

What will I learn?

Through a series of exercises (in class and online)  your creative thinking skills, problem solving skills, team-working skills, design thinking and lateral thinking abilities will be developed. Students will actively engage in developing creative solutions to problems and to critically evaluate these solutions. Throughout the process you will be introduced to techniques and tools of creative thinking, problem solving and design thinking and be encouraged to use these in all your work. Students will also learn about teamwork and how to construct an effective team. Verbal communication of ideas will be developed through in- class presentation of solutions. Students will engage with a challenge offered by an external partner organisation on the Hosted Immersion Day during the fieldwork week.

No Exams: LEARN BY DOING. Experience a completely different learning environment.

*In Semester 1 this module is delivered through a blend of classes and online sessions on Thursdays at 13.00 -13.50 and 3 full Immersion /Workshop Days (Saturday 29th September, Saturday 20th October and Saturday 24th November)

**In Semester 2 this module is delivered on the following dates. Students must attend all of the dates.

  1. Kick-off Class – 13:00 to 13:50 on Tuesday 22nd January 2019
  2. Innovation Week – 4.5 day block week (March 11th to 15th), ending with a half-day on Friday 15th
  3. Close-out Class  13:00 to 13:50 on Tuesday 23rd April 2019

How will I learn?

Through workshops, online learning, team challenges, presentations and creative problem solving. Throughout the process you will be introduced to techniques and tools of creative thinking, problem solving and design thinking and be encouraged to use these in all your work.  Marshmallows, spaghetti and post-its will all make an appearance!

What will I learn?

Dynamic changes in technology, demographics, globalisation and the environment are creating turbulent, unpredictable marketplaces. Coping with such complexity is increasingly challenging for commercial organisations as well as social enterprises and governments. Founders, managers and employees in all sectors need to think more creatively, innovatively and entrepreneurially in order to make effective decisions. They need to develop an entrepreneurial mindset.
An entrepreneurial mindset is one that focuses on who you are, what you know and who you know rather than what you need. It is an approach where action trumps everything, where the focus is on our own experience of doing rather than procrastination or studying the actions of others. It’s a culture that believes that collaboration, team working and community resilience promotes success. It’s a mindset that views the calculation of risk as fundamental rather than the taking risk per se. Entrepreneurs see failure as a means to learn rather than a lack of success.

Entrepreneurs view the world around them in terms of problem-solution fit. The entrepreneurial mindset is to first and foremost clearly define the problem-to-be-solved. This is discovered by observing and talking to customers or users about their pains and gains. This is the difficult part. Only after that do you move on to the easier part whereby you ideate a number of alternative, creative solutions to the defined problem. The mindset is to then carry out tests or experiments to identify the best solution by prototyping minimal viable products (MVPs). This cycle of trying to find ‘fit’ is very much an iterative process.
This module will embrace the ideas and concepts above by facilitating students to practice key innovation and entrepreneurial tools and techniques and develop life-skills including creative confidence, curiosity, communication, collaboration and commitment. This module will also enable student teams to develop a commercial, social or community venture. Specifically the module will allow students to apply the following tools and techniques to their own ideas for new ventures.

•​Identifying and defining problems-to-be-solved (jobs-to-be-done, pains and gains) using customer discovery techniques such as interviews, observation and secondary research
•​Generating solutions for problems defined through brainstorming, empathy maps and customer journey maps
•​Value proposition design: identifying value propositions for chosen customer segments
•​Business model canvas; taking a helicopter view of your new venture
•​Prototyping, experimentation and testing
•​Iterations and the pivot
•​Pitching

*In Semester 1 this module is delivered through a blend of classes and online sessions on Tuesdays at 13.00 -13.50 and 3 full Immersion /Workshop Days (Saturday 29th September, Saturday 20th October and Saturday 24th November)

**In Semester 2 this module is delivered on the following dates. Students must attend all of the dates.

  1. Kick-off Class – 13:00 to 13:50 on Thursday 24th January 2019
  2. Innovation Week – 4.5 day block week (March 11th to 15th), ending with a half-day on Friday 15th
  3. Close-out Class  13:00 to 13:50 on Thursday 25th April 2019

How will I learn?

Students will work through in-class and online challenges to develop projects through the lean business model canvas, working in teams to test ideas and prototype solutions. They will engage with real customers and stakeholders to test their ideas and get real results, all in an open, innovative and action- based learning environment.

What will I learn?

This module will introduce students to the concept of social entrepreneurship. Over the course of the module, participants will be exposed to social entrepreneurship through experiential learning activities, guest speakers and challenges. Throughout the module, students will develop their research, innovation, and communication skills establishing how to develop, sustain, and evaluate the impact of socially responsible ventures – both within and outside their area of study. The overall aims of this module are to help students understand the characteristics that define a social enterprise; appreciate current debate within the sector; identify problem areas and contexts within which social enterprises are launched; develop ideas for potential social ventures; consider how to evaluate the impact of social enterprises, and to be able to query and investigate how their own specific interests and existing discipline-specific knowledge can be harnessed for a social and/or environmental purpose. In short, students will be able to understand how to “think critically and act ethically”.

Upon completion of the module, participants should be able to:
* Explore social entrepreneurship and the variety of of contexts within which social ventures are launched
* Critically evaluate and assess the motivational drivers and decision making processes behind the development of social ventures
* Examine the potential for social ventures in relation to one’s discipline or specific interests
* Learn how to design and launch social ventures by combining skills in creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking
* Develop an understanding of how social ventures can be evaluated

*In Semester 1 this module is delivered through a blend of classes and online sessions on Tuesdays at 13.00 -13.50 and 3 full Immersion /Workshop Days (Saturday 29th September, Saturday 20th October and Saturday 24th November)

**In Semester 2 this module is delivered on the following dates. Students must attend all of the dates.

  1. Kick-off Class – 13:00 to 13:50 on Tuesday 22nd January 2019
  2. Innovation Week – 4.5 day block week (March 11th to 15th), ending with a half-day on Friday 15th
  3. Close-out Class  13:00 to 13:50 on Tuesday 23rd April 2019

How will I learn?

Through workshops, online learning, team challenges, presentations and guest speakers. Throughout the process you will be introduced to techniques and tools of creative thinking, problem solving and design thinking and how these can be applied within a social context.


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“An entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and an innovative approach are key attributes employers look for from graduates…They are attributes that we look for ourselves when hiring, and so it’s important that we are supporting universities in developing these skills amongst the next generation of leaders.” – Shane Mohan, Partner and Innovation Lead at Deloitte.”


Why are these electives for me?

Electives are about trying something different and here at UCD Innovation Academy we’re all about different! Our three elective modules are open to students across the University. We love diversity in our classes and cohorts are made up of students from different disciplines and years.


You’ll learn in an innovative and creative environment through workshops, online and team challenges, presentations and creative problem solving. You will be assessed based on your participation and engagement within each module as well as some prescribed learning and reflective assignments throughout each module (meaning no exams).


From 2018 you will also have the opportunity to combine the three Innovation Academy electives into a Structured Elective in Innovation for Change which will appear on your final transcript. The ability to innovate and create new economic or social value is a key skill that employers across all sectors and industries seek from their teams.

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What will I learn?

What will I learn?

Through a series of in class and online exercises you will be introduced to techniques and tools of creativity, problem solving,  design thinking and entrepreneurial action. Our modules will give you applied tools and practical experience of taking an idea from concept to testing and validation.

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Creativity and design-based problem solving

Creativity and design-based problem solving.

Effective teamwork, networking, pitching and leadership skills

Effective teamwork, networking, pitching and leadership skills.

To innovate, validate and execute new ideas

To innovate, validate and execute new ideas for economic and social good.

Leave with the skills that are in high demand by employers across all sectors
Leave with the skills that are in high demand by employers across all sectors.

Through a series of in class and online exercises you will be introduced to techniques and tools of creativity, problem solving and design thinking. Our modules will give you applied tools and practical experience of taking an idea from concept to testing and validation.

Creativity and design-based problem solving

Creativity and design-based problem solving.

Effective teamwork, networking, pitching and leadership shills

Effective teamwork, networking, pitching and leadership shills.

To innovate, validate and execute new ideas

To innovate, validate and execute new ideas for economic and social good.

Develop skills that are in high demand by employers across all sectors
Develop skills that are in high demand by employers across all sectors.


Student Experiences

Student Experiences







Our Student Feedback

I have a better understanding of the subject after completing this module
94% Agree (82% Strongly Agree)
The teaching on this module supported my learning
100% Agree (77% Strongly Agree)
I am satisfied with this module
94% Agree (71% Strongly Agree)

FAQ

Who can take this module?

Our modules are open to all UCD Undergraduate Students eligible to take an elective – from First to Final year and all in between.

The module is Grade/GPA Neutral – What does that mean?

Our Modules are Pass/Fail, which means that your result won’t count towards your stage or overall GPA. Your GPA will instead be calculated based on the results of your other modules.

How will I be Assessed?

You will be assessed based on your participation and engagement with the module as well as some prescribed learning and reflective assignments throughout the module. There are no exams.

How Important is Attendance?

Given that there is no exam, attendance is compulsory for our modules, both in the classes and particularly the block week and/or weekend classes.

What is a structured Elective?

By combining the three UCD Innovation Academy Electives together you can gain a Structured Elective in Innovation for Change. For more information on this Structured Elective please see here.

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Get a place

! – First, make sure that you’re logged into SIS, then click on the links below to go directly to the module description and register. 

IA20010 Creative Thinking

Register for the Semester 1 offering of 'Intro to Creative Thinking'

IA20020 Entrepreneurial Endeavour

Register for the Semester 1 offering of 'Entrepreneurial Endeavour'

IA20060Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship - Towards a Good Society

Register for the Semester 1 offering of 'Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship - Towards a Good Society'

If you’re having problems registering or these links don’t work for you, you can read step- by- step instructions on how to register at this link.

“It really has given me more experience than I could have imagined when I signed up for the module.”
The most dynamic learning environment I’ve experienced.Dr. Aonghus Shortt
PhD and Founder of FoodMarble
David NevinUCD Undergraduate Elective Modules