In May I had the possibility to visit the ESADE Business School campus in Barcelona with a special focus on their innovation labs called “Rambla of Innovation”. In a unique way they combine research, innovation and cooperation with companies by starting different labs, that can be used by students, lecturers or companies – alone or together – for research projects, consulting projects, start-ups or teaching. The approach for the labs is based on Design Thinking and the concept of experiential learning for students and companies.
Here is an overview about their labs:
Fusion Point: Fusion Point is a gathering place for business students from ESADE, engineering students from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) and design students from the European Design Institute (IED). Real challenges lead to the development of new products, services and processes through the application of innovative methodologies. The companies provide for example a challenge, that the students solve alone or together with managers from the companies. By doing this both the students and the companies gain new insight. In case the companies don’t have the possibility to implement the solutions by themselves, the students may use the them as a starting point for their own start-up.
Picture: Classroom at the Rambla of Innovation
FabLab: The FabLab is inspired by the makerspaces at MIT and it is the first of it’s kind in Europe. It is possible to build prototypes here for example with 3D printers, that can afterwards be tested with customers at the DecisionLab.
Picture: ESADE FabLab
EGarage: The EGarage is a space created for ESADE students aimed at providing them with the resources and environment to start new business ideas. It was also used to host a TedX Event in 2017. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecPgVeLJxXw)
EWorks: Eworks is the ESADE venture creation programme. EWorks manages and offers a series of activities to foster and support business projects by ESADE students. EWorks is a workplace for entrepreneurs who already have a clear plan and want to start putting it into practice. The programme supports and guides new business initiatives through meetings with founders, acceleration programmes and co-working spaces. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Rm5iaGI7Rg)
Picture: Group working space
Decision Lab: The Decision Lab is a research facility designed for ESADE faculty and graduate students to make studies on human behavior in a broad range of fields, such as: analytics, behavioral economics and finance, consumer and organizational behavior, decision-making, public policy and social action. The Lab’s ultimate goal is to advance knowledge in human behavior and contribute to improving decisions that trigger meaningful change. It is for example possible to run experiments based on software programs or focus groups with consumers.
All these initiatives are a way to establish a closer relationship between students, lecturers and companies, that may both result in new insight for companies, new ways of learning for students preparing them to perform in their future jobs, new companies offering unique business solutions and research results, that are highly relevant for business.