Industry and Community Partner
- Engaging multiple disciplines
- Co-designed with students, industry and community partners.
- Spanning multiple universities or institutions
- Scalable and sustainable
- Support from senior executives at RMIT to develop a course that provided students with an interdisciplinary WIL experience, in what was considered a non- standard process at the time.
- Academic staff’s commitment to champion the course and its innovative features throughout the university, and their motivation to sort through the politics and red-tape that initially presented as a barrier to the development of the course.
- Completing the course during November (in flexi term) enabled more students to enrol and better learning spaces to be booked.
For more information
Wicked Problems Innovative Solutions was developed by an interdisciplinary team of lecturers at RMIT who were interested in co-design practices and WIL experiences for students. The course aims to bring together students from different disciplines, programs and levels to collaborate on a real-life WIL project.
Before designing the course, a focus workshop was conducted with a group of students as part of the co-design initiative. Though this process lecturers gained valuable insights into the timing, structure, space, culture, assessments and processes that would encourage maximum student participation.
The credit-bearing course is scheduled as an Intensive during the November flexi-term, outside of semester hours. It is designed around a challenging real-life problem and involves working with a real-life client. Students work in interdisciplinary teams within a flexible, supportive and inclusive environment. Assessments are designed to encourage students to identify the projects relevance to their career development and increase students’ awareness of the workplace skills they have developed, particularly in relation to the skills and experiences they build working within an interdisciplinary team.
The Wicked Problems Innovative Solutions course is designed using the following structure:
Day 1: MASTERCLASS AND BRIEFING
Face-to-face overview of the project brief (or the Wicked Problem) by the Client. This provides students with a professional perspective and a human-centred design-thinking approach.
Day 2: EMPATHY THROUGH IMMERSION
Team site visits to build empathy with users and stakeholders. Student teams are formed.
Day 3: IDEATION AND BRAINSTORMING
Student teams brainstorm and draw together their ideas from the past two days, constructing a definition for the problem as part of the process.
Day 4: PROTOTYPE AND TEST
Students devise a prototype solution, then implement and evaluate their ideas.
Day 5: PITCH TO CLIENT
The final day involves the teams developing their idea into a business model, taking into consideration stakeholders, available resources, and their own skills and expertise. This business model is presented as a 10-minute pitch to a panel of judges. The winning team is awarded a prize.
Impact / Outcomes
For all stakeholders, Wicked Problems Innovative Solutions is creating impact through collaboration for real and complex social issues.
Students: Wicked Problems Innovative Solutions is a transformative learning experience for students that prepares them for life and work. Working in interdisciplinary teams on a real client brief has huge benefits for student in terms of developing workplace skills and their professional identity. The WIL experience provides students with the opportunity to add to their professional portfolio and/or resume, as well as the opportunity to use it as a knowledge object to articulate the workplace skills they developed in the process, particularly in terms of demonstrating their enterprise and transdisciplinary skills. Further, Course Experience Survey (CES) data and focus group interviews show that students value the way in which the course challenges them and invites deep thinking and rich social learning.
Community and Industry Partners: Wicked Problems Innovative Solutions provides community and industry partners with the opportunity to engage with RMIT and to work as a co-designed partner to find various solutions to real-life social problems.
Teaching Staff: For the university and teaching staff, success of the Wicked Problems Innovative Solutions project comes in terms of the courses alignment to RMIT’s Strategic Plan. Further, Wicked Problems Innovative Solutions is motivating and engaging for teaching staff, it is a challenging and valuable teaching experience, and it is rewarding for teaching staff to observe the high levels of student motivation during the course.
Formal assessments include:
- A team presentation outlining the innovative solution to the wicked problem presented in the client brief.
- Individual assessments, which include a learning plan infographic and a final video reflection.
Course Experience Survey (CES) and student focus group sessions are undertaken at the end of each Wicked Problems Innovative Solutions course as part of an evaluation process.