This past week, Robert Morris University Illinois hosted the 2018 International Design Entrepreneurship Workshop at its Chicago campus, in partnership with Ming Chi University of Technology in Taiwan and Berufliche Schule ITECH Elbinsel Wilhemsburg of Germany.

For eight days, six teams of students, some from each institution, worked on a presentation for a client, VAMONDE, a Chicago-based company that specializes in analytics and technology for the travel industry.  The objective of the workshop is to promote and integrate design thinking and entrepreneurial spirit into innovative business models. Students were challenged to create tools that would allow for a city-wide network for visitor (tourist) engagement and analytics, specifically, an app. Their task was to market the app to have a viral coefficient greater than 1.

The teams were then judged on the strength of their strategies, the scalable impact, professionalism, creativity and understanding of the target market/app users.  They were judged on these criteria by a team of educators, business and technical experts. Two teams were recognized for their project presentations; the judges selected a winning which received a monetary award and VAMONDE, the client company, selected a team which won internships.

Under the direction of Dr. Mei-Fen Chen, professor in RMU’s Institute of Professional Arts, the workshop has provided a unique opportunity for students at Robert Morris and the other participating universities.  Students received college credit for participating in the workshop, engaged in social and academic activities as hosts and guests at Robert Morris and the city of Chicago, and planned the closing party for all involved participants at the youth hostel where the international students stayed.

“An entrepreneurial workshop with an emphasis in design thinking provides all the students with a unique experience,” explained Dr. Chen.  “This is an opportunity to work with team members from other countries, create a product that benefits from the talents of such a diverse group, and demonstrate their professionalism when communicating and presenting to their client.  Each student will use these applicable skills every day in their future careers.”

This is the second year that Robert Morris University students have participated in the Design  Entrepreneurship workshop. Last year, design students traveled to Taiwan for the experience. Plans are already in the works for a new competition/workshop for next September.