Södertälje Science Park and Inicio, an award-winning educational organisation, is joining forces to host innovative design sprint workshops for Södertälje gymnasium students.
The Design Sprint workshops will follow the methodology designed by Google Ventures - a unique, world-renowned, five day process for validating ideas and solving big challenges through prototyping and testing ideas with consumers.
Workshop participants will be students majoring in economics or natural science at Täljegymnasiet and S:ta Ragnhild.
Students will be given business case studies from some of Sweden’s leading companies as well as businesses local to the Södertälje area. The students will have the opportunity to solve real problems the businesses are currently experiencing.
Inicio co-founder Mikaela Illanes said design sprint workshops allows teams to incorporate business strategy, innovation, behavioural science and design principles in a step-by-step process.
“Over the course of the workshop, the students will learn how to rapidly determine solutions to the problems highlighted in the business case studies, test new ideas and prototype their ideas," Ms Illanes said.
"On the first day of the workshop, the businesses will present their problem to students. This is not only a great opportunity for students, but also for businesses to work with the next generation of students - students who could be their future employees,” she said.
Each session will focus on a different phase of the design process - Understand (map out the problem and pick an area to focus on), Ideate (sketch out competing solutions), Decide (make decisions and turn your ideas into a testable hypothesis), Prototype (hack together a realistic prototype), and Test (get feedback from real users).
The teams will be comprised of students studying different subject areas. This is designed to allow them to contribute their different skill sets during the process.
"In the workplace teams are comprised of individuals with different talents, so we wanted students to learn how to work together so they can experience a real workplace situation,” Ms Illanes said.
“At the end of the design sprint process, the teams will present their solution to the companies. Students will be involved in every step of the process and will even be supported by Inicio’s team of student mentors, which consists of KTH students who are studying in a technology-focused field,” she said.
Södertälje Science Park Utvecklingsstrateg, Eva Helén, says the workshops perfectly align with the Parks mission to bring together companies and students to inspire youth about the future of innovation, digitalisation, research and development.
“The workshops are really designed to motivate students by connecting them with companies, and encouraging the students to prototype in our makerspace,” Ms Helén
"It is about allowing them to “think outside the box, by exploring real world problems. Students will be able to see how subjects they had in school fit into the real world while giving them an opportunity to develop their network,” she said.
During the design sprint workshops, Stockholm University (Department of Education) PhD candidate, Dagmar Hedman, will also be working together with Inicio to observe the ways in which workshops of this nature (collaborative settings and experiential learning) promote the sharing of knowledge and foster the use of key 21st-century skills such as communication, cooperation, creativity and critical thinking
A former Igelstavikens Gymnasium student, Ms Illanes co-founded Inicio in 2015 after she found that many gymnasium students were confused about how their skill sets could be best utilised in the 21st century.
“The reason I wanted to start something like Inicio was to help and guide teenagers through their educational choices and give them more support - I know that I was extremely confused about what field I should choose to study at university. I was lucky to choose the right field - but the process could have certainly been a lot easier if I had more opportunity to ‘try out’ different career paths. So Inicio is designed to give students the opportunity to apply the theoretical skills they have learnt in school to more practical hands-on tasks particularly in the field of technology.
“To choose what you are going to study and work with, or even what you are going to do after your summer break put so much pressure and stress on youth that I wanted to relieve it by giving them a network of mentors that can give them more information and inspirational stories that can support their choices,” she said.
Mikaela has studied for a MSc in Information Technology at KTH and was named by Företagarna as one of Sweden’s Young Innovators for 2019.
* The students will meet every third Thursday starting September 5 at 3pm at Södertälje Science Park.