In fall 2022, ENGAGE.EU successfully hosted the first pilot program of Work Integrated Learning programs entitled “Responsible Leadership and Sustainable Innovation”. The pilot program was developed and implemented in collaboration between WU Executive Academy, Tilburg School for Business and Society and Caritas Austria, with other partners also contributing. The project brought together a group of 20 MBA students and professionals from diverse backgrounds to work together on a challenge sponsored by Caritas, one of the ENGAGE.EU partners. Participants worked on the Josefbus challenge, a service set up for people with limited financial means who need help with minor repairs or work in their household.
The learning format aimed to foster innopreneurial competencies while developing creative and innovative solutions to the challenge at hand. To equip learners with the necessary theoretical foundations, lecturers from Tilburg University provided input in three online sessions on the topics of Purpose-Driven Networks, Digital Platforms and Public Value. These sessions were followed by the four-day on-site bootcamp in Vienna, where participants worked in groups on various potential solutions for Josefbus using the design thinking methodology. The Innovation Office of WU Vienna developed and facilitated the bootcamp.
In a dynamic bootcamp process, learners engaged in defining and sharpening problem statements, interviewing stakeholders, matching ideation and iteration, developing and testing prototypes, training their pitches, and more. One of the participants, Lewis Scott, who is enrolled in the Professional Master in Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Technology, described the process as follows, “The dynamic was pretty fast, pretty energetic, there was a lot of standing up, changing seats, collaborating with post-its, quickly developing ideas, discussing…. And then – working it all out, figuring out how it was all going to come together!” He added, “One of my learnings was to see how easily and efficiently you can work in a team with people that you have never met before to generate something innovative within a short period of time”. At the end, participants presented their results and solutions to the challenge posed to Caritas, opening the way for future collaboration on Josefbus.
For many participants, this project was a unique learning experience. As Roman Schagala, MBA Student at WU Executive Academy explains, “After the experience in this project, I am more sensitive to the question of what is the value of social impact and social work”. Participants also got a chance to see what the ENGAGE.EU alliance is about. “I truly believe that ENGAGE.EU is more than just about learning for the future. It is an outstanding platform to tackle grand societal challenges and to solve real world problems that have a meaningful impact and make a meaningful difference for generations to come,” said Peter Haag, enrolled in the Professional Master in Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Technology.
One of my learnings was to see how easily and efficiently you can work in a team with people that you have never met before to generate something innovative within a short period of time ,Lewis Scott, enrolled in the Professional Master in Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Technology.
Work Integrated Learning
The Work-Integrated Learning Program is developed and implemented by ENGAGE.EU partner universities. It is aimed at learners, practitioners and entrepreneurs interested in lifelong learning, social engagement and contributing to their communities. The program consists of online courses that provide participants with relevant knowledge, tools and methods to address societal challenges. In addition, participants take part in face-to-face bootcamps where they apply the knowledge, tools, and methods taught in the online courses to address real societal challenges sponsored by ENGAGE.EU stakeholders such as NGOs, municipalities, private companies, etc.
The pilot “Responsible leadership and sustainable innovation” is one of the five pilots that are going to be implemented by ENGAGE.EU partners before the final rollout of Work Integrated Learning programs.