Introduction to design thinking kicked off Master’s studies in Laurea UAS

​The Master's programmes for the autumn semester kicked off at Laurea University of Applied Sciences last week. The students of all Laurea UAS Master’s programmes started with an orientation day on Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, students were already working hard on their first face-to-face study unit.

The students of the Degree Programme in Service Innovation and Design (SID) in English and the Degree Programme in Customer-centred Service Development in Finnish started their studies with the introductory study unit Design Thinking.

Design thinking is learned by doing

Katja Tschimmel and Mariana Valença from Portugal are the instructors of the study unit Design Thinking. Tschimmel and Valença have been coming to Laurea for several years to teach students of Service Design.

- Whenever I have lead this study unit at Laurea, I have noticed how enthusiastic and motivated the students here are and how they really want to absorb all the new information, says Katja Tschimmel.

In the study unit, students familiarised themselves with the theoretical foundation of design thinking under the direction of Katja Tschimmel and Mariana Valença and had a chance to apply different practical approaches and tools in the innovation process.

- My most important advice to the students of this study unit is, however, that there is no set formula for design thinking and people cannot copy it for themselves from anywhere. It is something they must learn by doing, says Tschimmel.
- I also emphasise to my students that they will by no means be experts as soon as they have completed the studies. They must not be afraid of failing and making mistakes as these are part of the process.

On average three days of face-to-face instruction per month in Master’s degree programmes

Laurea implements Master’s degree programmes as blended learning, which means that the students have on average three days of face-to-face instruction per month. Seven students in the international group of 29 students who started the SID programme always travel to Espoo from elsewhere in Europe specifically for the days of face-to-face instruction.

- I find these intensive work periods of a couple of days once a month very good, says Katja Tchimmel, the instructor of the Design Thinking study unit.
- You can see that the students really throw themselves into their project when they work on it intensively. This kind of concentration increases the students’ motivation but it also has a positive effect on the process and its results.

Professionals from different fields provide different perspectives

- So far the beginning of the studies has been promising. I have high expectations for learning a lot of new things and developing professionally here, Kristina Stening describes the beginning of her Master’s studies.
- Even today, I have learned a lot I didn’t know about before. It has also been nice to be able to try things in practice alongside the theory on the lectures, says Kristina, who works in marketing.

Manas Mallick, another student of SID, agrees with Stening.

- Working here has been really innovative, but practical. We are also a very diverse study group with professionals from many different fields, he says.

The most important thing so far has been the different and fruitful perspectives we have come across in our discussions when working in small groups. We have approached topics from different angles and sometimes even disagreed about them a little, but finally, we have been able to agree on how to proceed with the task.

Modified 9/16/2016 3:09 PM

​Service Innovation and Design Master's program students Manas Mallick and Kristina Stening.