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IT Management Partner St.Gallen AG (ITMP) | Oberer Graben 6 | 9000 St.Gallen, Switzerland

© 2017 by ITMP

Student of the Future

- ITMP & HTW CHUR

Think back of your study time. How did you learn? What did you learn? Most of the study tracks primarily feature the theoretical content and embed this in long established course schedules. It is no secret that also in the educational environment change is a challenge. But change is vital: one third (strongly) disagrees with the statement “higher education institutions are graduating students with the skills and competences that my business needs”, while another third is neutral (Sidu & Calderon, 2014).

Hence, starting at the root and enable students to thrive in their future career, one has to start with the question: What do our students really need when they enter the job market?

 

The HTW in Chur recently posed themselves this question and came up with the suggestion of an introductory week, which emphasizes essential competencies, the students can benefit from in their studies and professional life. This mindset and corresponding skills needed can be found under the umbrella of Design Thinking. 112 students from the Bern and Chur campus entering the Multimedia Production Master in Switzerland were invited to spend a full week in Chur to learn and experience Design Thinking. ITMP was asked to join with one consultant in this 5-day week and guide the students. Students were placed in teams with the help of a personality questionnaire emphasizing the 6 crucial elements of a successful Design Thinking team: Enabler, Refiner, Innovator, Advancer, Empathy, Creative. It’s been ensured that at least one of the roles is represented in a team.

 

The task to think about how people inform themselves in 2025 about a specific topic, led them through the complete Design Thinking process focusing on:

  • How to work in teams and overcome challenges.

  • Learn about needfinding, customer-centricity and how to conduct interviews.

  • Synthesize and interpret a large amount of qualitative data.

  • Generating ideas within a large group.

  • Hands-on prototyping.

  • Presenting project process and prototypes.

  • Providing constructive feedback.

 

The team composition based on the personality questionnaire supported the learning process: in a post-evaluation survey students stated that they experienced constructive discussions and different personalities. However, the students were able to profit from different backgrounds and insights and stated that they took advantage of it.

 

All in all, the students were highly motivated and delivered excellent prototypes and final presentations, ranging from health topics up to politics. “Design Thinking delivered in the best manner ever”, stated a student. Learning a participatory, agile and iterative method equips students to develop competencies the job market in the future is longing for. Now it is their turn to use it and develop their outstanding profile.

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