INTERIORIZING THE IMPORTANCE OF THE INNOVATION CONCEPT IN THE STUDENTS OF THE DEGREE OF CIVIL ENGINEERING

The construction sector has a great importance in the Spanish economy, in spite of the crisis that is suffering. This sector collapsed in 2007, being one of the sectors that most suffered the severe impact of the international crisis. When analyzing the reasons for this collapse and with the exception of external factors to the sector, the reason that most hinders its recovery is the low level of competitiveness and the high degree of inefficiency of the sector, fact derived from the poor level of innovation of the companies that make it up. In this sense, the concept of innovation has been identified as the best support in the struggle of competitiveness, as it creates competitive advantage and facilitates sustainable growth, to be able to thrive in difficult markets, such as the Spanish construction sector.

In this regard and taking into account that the students of the degree in Civil Engineering can work in the future as responsible for the management of companies in the construction sector, it is very important that students at this level have internalized the importance and relevance of the concept of innovation as a synonym of competitive factor and business performance of the sector. With this aim, this paper presents an innovation evaluation model for the companies in the Spanish construction sector, to be applied in the practical classes of the "Business Organization" subject of the Degree in Civil Engineering.

In this way, is intended that students understand and visualize how the variation of the key innovation-related indicators affects the performance of these companies, in analytical and graphical way. The model has been presented in an Excel sheet, so that once the students enter the input data, the Innovation Index (II) of the studied company is obtained. The graphical representation of the obtained results allows observing in a quick way, which are the strengths and weaknesses of each company, being able to create a discussion and a debate among the students on the selection of the areas of action to try to improve in this aspect.