Hidden value - towards an understanding of the full impact of engaging students in user-led research and innovation projects between universities and companies


‘Live’ projects have been the staple of degree programmes in design for as long as design education has existed. They represent the perfect vehicle through which students can test their evolving knowledge and skills. They provide an ideal constructivist platform through which problem-centred, authentic learning can be achieved and deliver immediate value to student learning. This study explores the value to the other stakeholders in such projects: the Company and the University. A suite of projects undertaken over a ten-year period between a leading Design School and one of the largest Fast Moving Consumer Goods companies in the world has been reviewed. Semi-structured interviews with Company employees and academics have been used to establish the impact of each project, and this data has been mapped against the original objective of each project in order to identify the hidden value of these collaborations. Through this exploration of a decade of University-Company collaborations, the authors identify levels of engagement that go beyond the ‘live project’. The paper illustrates the value of such projects for the ‘client’ organisation, and the academic community, as well as reflecting, briefly, on the student experience

    Similar works