The Student Perspective on a Future European University

Last summer, Damien Nunes, innovation coach and service designer at UMIO’s Service Science Factory, facilitated a two-day “student experience journey” workshop at University of Rome Tor Vergata.

Young Universities for the Future of Europe

The workshop was part of the YUFE (Young Universities for the Future of Europe) alliance in which staff and students collaborate on how to address European (and global) challenges. The alliance is spearheaded by Maastricht University and brings together seven top-level universities from the Young European Research Universities Network (YERUN).

Key questions

Damiens’ inspiring workshop addressed the following questions:

”How could a future European University look and feel for students?”
“What university services need to be designed to provide a unique experience?”

Six multi-disciplinary student teams each brought a particular focus from their YUFE partner university to the table. Inspired and energised by the ‘Design Thinking’ innovation methodology, the students first mapped out the existing student experience journey of their own university, sharing experiences, highlighting the various qualities, and identifying the potential for improvement.

Students’ needs and wants

Empathy is a key element within the whole workshop to understand what students find important and especially why. The purpose is to generate student-driven insights, rather than validating staff assumptions about “what is good for students”, to arrive at a true understanding of students’ needs and wants.

Reimagining the student experience journey

Within the existing student experience journey, certain focus points were highlighted. Then the teams, infused with state-of-art creativity and ideation techniques, set out to develop alternative solutions for these issues, both for the physical and the digital domain. Unsurprisingly, quite a few interesting ideas were generated for the digital domain: the development of a wide and integrated digital platform, a blend of the physical & digital experience, and the use of digital technologies for branding and promoting the YUFE alliance.

Bringing the concept alive

In this way, an overall concept was developed for a future student experience journey, a holistic map of how students will experience a future European University, with the “head and heart”. To make concepts come to life as part of an innovation trajectory, it is important to go beyond talking, and prototype services in a tangible way. The students therefore created a short pitch, which included role-play and creative design props to show how they envision ‘the Future European University’. Currently, a video of the six pitches is in the making. It will bring the concept alive for the key stakeholders of the YUFE-alliance to further shape the European University of the future.

YERUN opportunities

For more information about YERUN Opportunities for UM researchers and staff click here.

About Damien Nunes

Damien has a background in design and is currently project leader and service designer at the Service Science Factory, part of UMIO. He facilitates projects, workshops and inspires creativity within (project)groups to develop new innovative service concepts.

Send Damien a message: E-mail

Visit Damiens’  LinkedIn  page.