Challenges


Our PBL challenges bring together multidisciplinary student teams from the partner universities to co-develop proposals for client organisations’ sustainable innovation problems. The challenges extend from several weeks to over six months, allowing the multicultural teams to go through a full concept development cycle with the support and mentorship of faculty. The intensive and hands-on approach of the PBL courses is designed to maximise the students’ learning experience and provide access to novel ideas and insights for the clients. See our past case challenges below.

PBL East Africa challenges are offered 1-2 times annually. To get involved as a student, faculty member or a potential client, contact our team – we look forward to hearing from you.



Kenya


FoodAfrica (2017–2018)

Client: FoodAfrica research programme, coordinated by Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
Challenge: Improving food safety in Kenya, with particular focus on aflatoxins in the food value chain
Team: 5 UoN and 5 Aalto students from environmental science, business, design, engineering, communications and social science
Proposal(s): A solution roadmap for tacking aflatoxins (Aalto team)

See also the Aalto student team’s Instagram page.



In Kenya, the PBL challenges are organised by C4DLab’s Sustainable Innovation Design course and Aalto’s IDBM Industry Project.


SUSTAINABLE INNOVATION DESIGN

Sustainable Innovation Design (SID) is a flagship course of Nairobi Design Thinking School, established by University of Nairobi’s C4DLab. The course offers a ‘learning by doing opportunity’ to participants as they solve real life industry issues by using Human Centered Design Thinking Principles.

The SID course is open for a holder of an undergraduate degree in any field. Final level undergraduate as well as masters level students will also be considered.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

The goal of this course is to develop teams of creative, bold, curious, open minded & innovative thinkers while solving a real-life challenge.

TEACHING METHODS

Students are grouped in self organising multi-disciplinary teams. The students are then given an industry problem to solve the entire semester. A specific iterative methodology is used under the supervision of mentors and design thinking coaches.

FINAL OUTCOME

At the end of the semester, the students present their prototype for academic credit and industry assessment.

Contact

See SID course website: http://ndts.c4dlab.ac.ke

INTERNATIONAL DESIGN BUSINESS MANAGEMENT INDUSTRY PROJECT

The IDBM Industry Project is a context-based learning platform for students in Aalto University’s multidisciplinary IDBM Master’s Programme. The project is assigned by an industrial/business partner and runs through most of the academic year. The project teams are multicultural and represent all three IDBM fields: business, design and technology.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Mastering key frameworks and tools in managing the design thinking process and technology-intensive business initiatives Using design approach in product, service and business development Applying creative problem-solving and design research in the project context

TEACHING METHODS
FINAL OUTCOME

Concept proposal of a new product, service or business model

Reports, presentations and other project related documentation

Contact

Programme Manager
M.Sc. Anna-Mari Saari
anna-mari.saari@aalto.fi

Professor in Charge
Prof. Niina Nurmi
niina.nurmi@aalto.fi



Tanzania


Tanzania Meteorological Institution (2017–2018)

Client: Tanzania Meteorological Institution
Challenge: Coming up with innovation mechanisms for enhancing uptake and utilization of climate information by Tanzanian smallholder farmers, in order to enhance climate resilience of agriculture.
Team: 5 UDSM and 5 Aalto students from business and finance, information technology, climate change and meteorology majors
Proposal(s): TBA



In Tanzania, the PBL challenges are organised by UDSM’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre and Aalto’s Creative Sustainability Capstone and Digital Services for Sustainability courses


CREATIVE SUSTAINABILITY CAPSTONE COURSE

CS Capstone Course is part of Aalto University’s multidisciplinary Creative Sustainability Master’s Programme. The course brings together student teams to find creative solutions to client organisations’ real-life social and environmental challenges.

LEARNING OUTCOMES
TEACHING METHODS
FINAL OUTCOME
Contact

Prof. Armi Temmes
School of Business
armi.temmes@aalto.fi

Dr. Jarkko Levänen
School of Business

DIGITAL SERVICES FOR SUSTAINABILITY

Digital Services for Sustainability is a special course designed to be completed in cooperation with other student projects in the PBL East Africa programme. During the course, students will work as experts, helping other students to consider the effects of digitalisation and address the design of digital services for different audiences including informal and underserved communities.

LEARNING OUTCOMES
TEACHING METHODS
FINAL OUTCOME
Contact

M.Sc. (Tech.) Pietari Keskinen
pietari.keskinen@aalto.fi
Prof. Marko Nieminen
marko.nieminen@aalto.fi



Uganda


Up-plastic Kampala (2017–2018)

Client: Challenge topic provided by the Makerere student team based on on a pitching competition
Challenge: To upcycle plastic waste by creating a recycling workspace and student community at Makerere University
Team: 6 Makerere and 5 Aalto students from construction management, creative sustainability, design and civil, water and environmental engineering majors
Proposal(s): The Up-Plastic Kampala project. Read more from the students’ website and Instagram, as well as the Aalto team’s full report.



In Uganda, the PBL challenges are organised by Makerere’s CEDAT college and Aalto’s Sustainable Global Technologies studio course.


CEDAT COLLEGE

Makerere University’s College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) was formed in 2010 from a merger of two academic units: Faculty of Technology and Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts. This academic cooperation springs from the practical-based teaching and learning methods employed at the units, which emphasize creativity and innovation aimed at solving societal problems.

In line with the University’s strategy, the College has then steadily moved from traditional classroom teaching to more learner centred pedagogy, which stresses research and innovation. We encourage our students to be innovative and search for solutions to problems that afflict our society. Our academic staff is also engaged in intensive research and innovation. This is why the college has come to be known as the home of innovation.

With a student population of 3,200 and academic staff of 227 the college is among the largest at Makerere University.

SUSTAINABLE GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES STUDIO COURSE

SGT is a co-learning studio course for Master’s and PhD students at Aalto University. During the course students form multidisciplinary teams to carry out projects linked to global development challenges. Assignments are implemented with partners from academia, industries, governmental and civil society organisations and communities in developing countries.

LEARNING OUTCOMES
TEACHING METHODS
FINAL OUTCOME
Contact

Programme Coordinator
M.Sc. Matleena Muhonen
matleena.muhonen@aalto.fi

Professor in Charge
Prof. Olli Varis
olli.varis@aalto.fi

The project is funded by the HEI ICI Programme by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and facilitated by Aalto Global Impact, which promotes Aalto University’s research and educational programmes for societal impact globally.