Title: Get wet! Teaching innovation theories through experiential learning

Authors: Frido E. Smulders

Addresses: Department of Product Innovation Management, Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Landbergstraat 15, 2628 CE Delft, The Netherlands

Abstract: Teaching theoretical concepts from the field of corporate product innovation to students without business experience is a challenge, even more so when class sizes go up to 250-300 students. Innovation theories are ambiguous and not robust enough such that one cannot just read a book and then know what to do in a real life corporate setting. This paper presents a didactic approach based on experiential learning that aims to maximise internalisation of product innovation theories by focusing on the development of an integrated mental model that is an integrated mental structure of cognitive and behavioural elements. The carrier for presenting the approach is a cluster with a study load of 330 hours that covers one semester and consists of two theoretical courses and a design project, blending teaching innovation (practice) and teaching about innovation (theories). Nobody has ever learned how to swim by book and without getting wet!

Keywords: teaching approach; higher education; innovation theory; NPD; new product development; design projects; experiential learning; social constructivism; Fish Bowl sessions; mental models; corporate product innovation; design education.

DOI: 10.1504/JDR.2011.040593

Journal of Design Research, 2011 Vol.9 No.2, pp.168 - 184

Published online: 07 Jun 2011 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article