From Teachers’ Innovative Practices to Students’ Co-Creation: A Glimpse of the Project “Link Me Up – 1000 Ideias”
Keywords:higher education students, co-creation, design thinking, triple helix, employability skills
Higher Education Institutions are, more than ever, open to innovative practices, and nowadays the triple helix of University, Industry and Government is taking place through the implementation of projects such as “Link Me Up – 1000 Ideias”. This project, funded by COMPETE, was created as a network bringing together thirteen Portuguese Polytechnic Institutes to promote entrepreneurship among students, called talents, in academia. In a multidisciplinary approach, a co-creation team of 4-6 students, working together with organisation partners and using teacher’s innovative practices, explore a future-oriented challenge in order to design solutions, ideas and future scenarios, in an 8-week process that aims to empower students to create their own innovative companies or projects and to help them to be prepared for the transition to the world of work, developing soft skills that are required in our competitive society. This project is linked to another, entitled “Learning based on co-creation processes,” funded by POCH, in a partnership with DEMOLA Global, which provides teachers (in this process, they become facilitators) with innovative methodologies that are then operationalised when implementing co-creation challenges. In this study, we aim at presenting the “Link Me Up” project from the point of view of students from the Polytechnic Institute of Viseu and local organisations, by a) reflecting upon the questionnaires applied to students and companies to assess their degree of satisfaction with their participation in the project, identifying key areas enhanced by the experience. Additionally, b) we will look at the reports written by the group of students as they summarise the work developed in partnership with companies throughout eight intensive weeks. We will conclude, not with a retrospective view, although it is important to look at the past to build the present, but with the perspective of a future that is collaborative, reflective, critical and increasingly creative.