We work with staff and students to embed sustainability into learning, teaching, curriculum design, research and student-led activities. One of our most recent curriculum initiatives was with the Master’s in Innovation, Creativity and Leadership course, held at Cass Business School.
Each year, the Term 2 module, “Leading Creative Design”, sees groups of students use creativity and design methods to develop new and improved services to achieve various goals. The design task formed part of the assessment for the module, which also included requirements for the individuals to reflect on their designs throughout the project.
Teams of 4 to 5 students worked together over 6-7 weeks to use creativity to come up with a solution which could increase our recycling rate to 80% from our current target of 65%. Working with the module leader we developed a brief which set out that the redesigned service should cost less than £20,000 to develop and implement, and less than £3,000 to annually run. We attended the first session where the coursework task was announced so that the students had an opportunity to ask us questions about our current waste management processes. After that, we collaborated with the students to provide them with any relevant data and information, including an opportunity to meet with our waste contractor.
A week before the submission deadline, each group had an opportunity to present their ideas to the rest of the class and gain feedback from both their peers, their teacher and the Sustainability team. All of the teams had created a prototype, and below are a couple of pictures of their ideas in action! We were incredibly impressed with the range of ideas that the students came up with, from a re-design of our catering services which eliminated disposable service and included washing facilities for staff/students’ own reusable mugs, to a completely new design of bin with new signage and even a gamification element to encourage us to recycle more!
Throughout the module, the students learnt about innovation and design by studying the theories, models and practices from design science, product design, interaction design and software engineering. It was fantastic to see them applying the creativity techniques that they had learnt to a real-life problem within the University, and we hope to be able to take some of their ideas on in the future.
(Left) students test out their ideas (right) the prototype for new recycling bins to help staff and students sort their waste correctly.