Current affairs

Design thinking and the entrepreneurial approach, a key factor in students

Friday, 2 de June, 2017

By Noelia García, journalist at El Economista

he traditional way of teaching students has become obsolete. New methods of free learning that help to develop critical thinking are revolutionizing education. Design thinking is a creative process that helps to design meaningful solutions in the classroom. The methodology has evolved from the business world and approaches the resolution of problems in a different way, working in a team, being creative with optimism and empathy. This groundbreaking methodology also fosters entrepreneurship among students, a key factor in a globalized world in which things are sold more because of the design that the end product itself.

The introduction of this type of learning in business schools has forced students to redefine themselves in order to adapt to their surroundings, making them more flexible and stronger. Moreover, it encourages them to have a tendency towards action (don’t stay still, act now), without fear or shame of failure. The phases of design thinking are empathy (to design for others, you need to have a high degree of empathy), defining (arranging ideas and putting the information in a coherent order), devising (generation of multiple ideas), prototype (designing the sketches, objects, storyboards, etc) and evaluating (testing and requesting feedback). In addition, students use social tools, closer to ethnology, and individual rather than group analysis. A practical learning process that enables students to practise, explore and identify potential errors and ways to correct them.

Business schools strengthen the capacities of people thinking of starting their own business or who have the skills to do so. In addition, they are increasing the number of support programs for creating ideas, making contacts, learning skills and networking with future professionals to do business with. They also teach students to create a personal brand, market segmentation, differential pricing systems, costs of change, comparative, regulatory risks and other marketing and economic concepts. The traditional approach is being reinvented and innovation is no longer simply a business tool but rather part of professional know-how.

Moreover, students taking a Bachelor Degree at a Spanish university also rate the new educational methods positively as they make them more creative and critical. According to the latest report drafted by the Santander International Entrepreneurship Centre, the Emprendia Network and the Spanish GEM Network, 56% of university students want to create their own company and 29.3% have a clear intention of setting up a business venture within the next three years Entrepreneurship has an increasingly important role in Bachelor Degrees, but it is not simply a case of learning how to manage a business, but rather developing a general set of competences that are applicable to all fields. With learning based on resolving specific problems related to companies, experience of the real world had to be integrated within all disciplines and be adapted to all levels of education.

Design thinking and entrepreneurship are inextricably linked in students today. Education institutions already offer an integrated thinking approach, with an emphasis on corporate social responsibility. The target is to create professionals with a genetic makeup that enables them to recreate and reimagine things, who know how to respond quickly to the needs of companies and customers. The role of the student is changing radically, shifting from ‘Can I do it?’ to ‘I can do it!’. Design thinking gives us a new way to analyse entrepreneurship and provides guidelines that help to neutralize the initial uncertainties faced when starting to develop an innovative idea.

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