AN APPLICATION OF DESIGN THINKING IN THE CLASSROOM TO PROMOTE THE DEVELOPMENT OF SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTS
1 Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
2 Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 17th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2023
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Today nobody is in any doubt that teaching must be student-centered. Certainly, university teaching has been involved in a process of substantial changes, where traditional master classes have been gradually replaced with the search for new alternatives that allow students to be given greater prominence. Over the last few years, and especially as a consequence of the integration into the European Higher Education Area, the development of new teaching methodologies adapting to the diversity of students has become one of the main challenges facing most European universities. Thus, there is currently a clear commitment to autonomous and collaborative learning, linked to the constant advance of technological resources and the need to acquire the skills/competencies in terms of sustainability that are demanding not only a growing number of firms and customers but also society at large.
Design Thinking is considered a co-creation dynamic and exploratory approach to problem-solving. It is of vital importance in technology and engineering degrees because it systematically leads to innovation by integrating science and technology through the development of different social skills/competencies. It is a teaching tool that encourages the generation of new ideas and the search for efficient solutions in diverse real settings. Accordingly, it is viewed as an active methodology where students focus their attention on addressing current problems, favoring a collaborative environment based, to a certain extent, on empathy and optimism that allows them to put into practice processes of creative reasoning.
In this study, we propose a teaching practice for the application of the Design Thinking methodology in the ‘Strategic Management’ subject of the double degree in Construction and Business Administration of the Polytechnic University of Madrid. More specifically, it is intended to link the Sustainable Development Goals included in the European 2030 Agenda with the current need to develop more sustainable products for the building sector in line with circular economy criteria. In this regard, we propose a classroom practice where students must develop ideas that favor the recovery and revaluation of End-of-life tires to be applied to buildings. Students have to seek and find new market opportunities and high-value-added solutions for the construction industry, in particular, and society, in general, based on these new products. This study illustrates how to initiate this practice, as well as the timing to carry it out over an academic year, and the different tools used for its evaluation. This practice could be considered a benchmark by all those teachers interested in developing this active and collaborative methodology in similar or different subjects/settings.
Keywords: Design Thinking, collaborative learning methodology, sustainable development, innovations, construction industry, strategic management.