1 University of Library Studies and Information Technologies (BULGARIA)
2 Knowledge, Innovation and Strategies Management Club (BULGARIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 7004-7011
ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2018.1641
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
This paper is based on the results obtained during the two-year Erasmus+ KA2 project 2014-1-BG01-KA203-001561 APInno – Action project for innovation. The project focuses on developing new methodology and new curriculum for 6 ECTS MSc course in Innovation management.

The new methodology is based on the following novel elements:
- The teacher takes up a new role of a mentor who supports and guides the process rather than providing information and solutions.
- Students become the active part and work in teams in close cooperation with the business helping a real company develop innovations. They act as trusted advisor and provide solutions.
- It is based on experiential learning, gamification and competence-based approach and combines soft and cognitive skills, knowledge and understanding.
- Cross-disciplinary approach with the participation of students with diverse background and MSc programs.
- Involves participants from the triangle business – higher education – research providing a model to close the existing gap between the three parties.

The APInno methodology provides a holistic model of learning that merges experience, perception, cognition, and behaviour. Although that the project combines different educational approaches, it puts a special emphasis on Experiential Learning.

Through the learning modules students, mentors and business representatives work in a close and scheduled way to create and bring new, potentially innovative solutions into the market. The different creativity, team building and design exercises enable students to draw on first-hand experience while examining the creation of both economic and technical value. APInno´s main focus is on disruptive innovation, as disruptive innovation tend to be produced by outsiders, rather than existing market-leading companies. Many organizations are realizing the power of outsiders for bringing up innovation and the APInno methodology paves the way for a structured and tested collaboration with university students.

The whole course and the modules have a flexible structure. The training course is organized as a face-to-face on-site workshop combined with e-learning support. Blended learning is ideal for learners who need greater flexibility in their studies. It combines the convenience of home study with the ability to learn directly from trainers and interact with peers.

The APInno team took into account the important sequence to identify the competences during the learning process:
- before training they are objectives of learning
- during learning – the activity reference
- during assessment they are indicators of learning process
- after training – the learning outcomes – the building bricks of syllabus.

The APInno programme is designed to become part of any university curriculum as a course with relevant credits. Within the 180 hours of training it allows students to immerse themselves in real-world innovation projects and to get a head start on future career development before they graduate. It furthermore introduces the fundamentals needed for Innovation Management, so that in an engaging and playful way students familiarize with important theoretical concepts.

The new methodology is further upgraded under a follow-up Erasmus+ project 2016-1-BG01-KA201-023657 DigiThink – Design thinking for digital innovation where the competence-based approach is elaborated and design thinking is implemented in the MSc programs at the University of Library Studies and IT.
Innovation management, lecture-mentor, learning-centred education.