Robert Morris University Illinois recently held the 2019 International Design Entrepreneurship Workshop, in collaboration with Ming Chi University of Technology of Taiwan (MCUT), and Berufliche Schule ITECH Elbinsel of Wilhemsburg, Germany.

Students from Robert Morris, ITECH, MCUT and DePaul met for ten days to work on teams with the ultimate goal of creating a product for school furniture clients.  In addition to the workshop, students participated in social activities, field trips and excursions, and created a Facebook community to keep family and friends – especially those in Taiwan and Germany – informed of their experiences. Faculty from each university participated as facilitators and teaching assistants.

The objective of the program is to promote and integrate design thinking and entrepreneurial spirit into innovative business models.  The participating students were organized into randomly assigned groups and asked to generate deliverables through creative design solutions. This year, the challenge was for the students to transform conventional teaching classrooms to learner-centered teaching classrooms through the creation of moveable, flexible furniture (dividing walls) that have beautiful designs and support the work process of the classroom students.

Teams followed a series of requirements that included using materials that were green and ecological, high quality, fire-retardant and sound absorbing.  Electrical and lighting components added to the wall versatility.

“The workshop is intended to become an international collaboration platform for the participating universities,” explained Dr. Mei-Fen Chen, professor at the RMU Institute of Professional Arts.  “The strengths and expertise of the parties provide the best international, cross-disciplinary education experience for our students.”  Dr. Chen has been instrumental in the creation and execution of the Workshop since its inception.