NASTAVA > Erasmus+ projekti > PRO HACKIN'

Product Hackathons for Innovative Development

The objective of the project is to find the most appropriate tools to support efficient collaboration in physical and virtual environments in order to enable companies to involve participants working remotely from all over the globe.

The Pro Hackin’ project encompasses two main objectives: improving teaching and learning methods in engineering education and enhancing the collaboration between industry and universities. Through this project we will develop a methodology that will encourage open innovation between universities and companies. This will be achieved by implementing product hackathons in the otherwise linear product development process, as a key activity which enables rapid generation and sharing of ideas.

The concept of product hackathons is adopted from software engineering and it represents intensive problem-solving events which are, unlike the programming hackathons, focused on design of physical/tangible technical products. Currently, this concept is not commonly used in mechanical and industrial engineering due to (i) the lack of knowledge about the techniques and tools which enable quick creation of high-quality design solutions; (ii) lack of educators’ experience in defining first the appropriate design task and then structuring and conducting the hackathons towards innovative solutions.

The developed methodology for product hackathons will be tested during a joint product development course organized each project year by one of the universities in collaboration with one industrial partner, who will provide a design task for product innovation (innovation challenge). The overall goal of a product hackathon is to acquire numerous ideas from a large number of external participants (engineering students) in a short time period. First the industrial partner should identify a design problem they want to solve in collaboration with the educators, then the students collaborate in teams to propose solutions. The industrial partners are highly involved in the process and provide the students with feedback to their solutions. At the end, the companies will gain many ideas and prototypes that can become new products. On the one hand, working on real-life assignments gives students the opportunity to learn the appropriate skills required by the industry and they will experience working in intense problem solving environments. On the other hand, through open innovation challenges, the industrial partners obtain out-of-the box ideas that come from outside their enterprise. Including product hackathons in engineering curriculum can bring numerous advantages and students can easily learn new knowledge and gain various hard and soft skills. Collaborative design-thinking format promotes networking, resourcefulness, productivity and supports new product innovation.

Project coordinator is Assoc. Prof. Stanko Škec.