The first year of the Sustainable Inovation Mindset interdisciplinary course ends in success
What happens when a logistics expert, a human capital development specialist and an environmental accounting expert guide students meaningfully through real-world projects at Škoda Auto a.s.?
It brings the birth of a successful interdisciplinary course that links knowledge from theory and practice, enabling students to express themselves creatively and improve their skills and competencies for the 21st century market. This is precisely the story of the Sustainable Innovation Mindset course taught by Ing. David Holman, Ph.D., Mgr. Eva Švejdarová M.A., Ph.D., and Ing. Josef Horák, Ph.D.
The entire course was taught in English using the 21st EWA Edu collaborative approach to developing learners’ competencies, skills and understanding. During this course, students worked on specific project challenges from various departments within Škoda Auto. During the semester they also had the opportunity to attend several lectures by guest speakers and two inspirational workshops.
The focus of the course is also appreciated by the students themselves. “The course is a great combination of theory and practice. It addresses pressing real-world problems using a variety of methods, which are discussed during the semester in the form of interactive lectures, workshops and seminars. Its outputs are presented to “clients”, that is, representatives of specific departments within Škoda Auto. And all this in English, which is also a great opportunity to develop presentation and language skills,” adds one of the students, Ondřej Havlík.
The course concluded with presentations by international student teams, which presented specific solutions in the area of changing mindsets through “cultural nudges”, diversity and inclusion, and reducing the carbon footprint of food. The students presented the results of their work at a final meeting attended by representatives of Škoda Auto. They particularly appreciated the innovative approach taken by the students towards the challenges they are currently working on in their departments.
And how does the teacher rate this course?
“I am pleased that my colleagues and I – with a lot of support from my colleagues at Škoda Auto – managed to create an inspiring environment, which I believe contributed significantly to the results achieved, but at the same time allowed us to go through and experience several dead ends in a safe environment, which is something that definitely pushed the students, our colleagues from the world of work and us lecturers/guides forwards. Here I would like to acknowledge the courage and proactive approach of the students, who were not afraid to step out of their comfort zone and take advantage of this new educational opportunity to work on practical assignments and defend them before professionals in the field.”
“From my standpoint as the guarantor and teacher of the new course, I must say that preparation and organisation of the course was very demanding. We approached all seven areas of ŠKODA AUTO a.s. with the possibility of collaboration, so projects could come from all areas, which is something that required great flexibility, interdisciplinary expertise and a holistic approach from us as teachers. In addition, we had to be agile and constantly adapt to demands during the semester to be as useful as possible as guides to the students. After the first successful completion of SIM, I must say that I enjoyed the whole process very much and that the results from the international student teams were both a reward and a great motivation for me personally.”
“I am very pleased that I was able to contribute to the understanding of how implemented projects’ costs can be quantified and at the same time identify benefits that relate to the projects students were working on. I greatly appreciate the creativity and proactive approach of all of the students in their work on the assigned tasks. Meanwhile I can state that the diversity of the international teams was a clear benefit throughout the entirety of the course.”