Deakin University is calling on the Donald Trumps and Alan Sugars of industry to challenge its postgraduate students with their best sustainability-related business problems.
Head of the Deakin Graduate School of Business, Professor Ross Chapman, said the problems would be used as part of an apprentice-style Workshop for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (WOFIE).
‘It won’t be for the faint-hearted,’ he said.
‘The workshop, which is being run by the university for the first time, will take place over five consecutive days (31 October to 4 November inclusive) and involve interdisciplinary teams of postgraduate students working on the real problems set by business.’
‘Over the five days, the students will attend presentations given by futurists, business leaders and other speakers who all specialise in one way or another in innovation or entrepreneurship.’
Professor Chapman said the Deakin venture, which would start in the University’s third trimester, had been modelled on workshops run at Aalborg University in Denmark.
‘Ultimately the workshops will give the students the experience of working in an interdisciplinary environment to find smart solutions to real problems and then prepare a business plan to develop their ideas into a feasible business,’ he said. Challenge co-ordinator and Industry Fellow, Steve Ogden-Barnes, said the program was currently looking for business sponsors as well as business problem-setters.
‘We have decided that the theme this year will be Sustainability in Action,’ Mr Ogden-Barnes said.
‘Sustainability is increasingly underpinning business decision-making and has been brought into sharp focus by recent events both nationally and internationally.’
‘Many businesses have faced reinvention and recovery in the face of natural crises, but crisis leads to innovative thinking.’
‘The creative process often happens when our knowledge thresholds are reached and there is a failure in systems to cope.’
Mr Barnes said the WOFIE program in Denmark had seen many organisations benefit from the creative, structured and supported approach to sustainable problem-solving, delivered in partnership with industry.