Innovation through Business, Engineering and Design - specialisation business, Master Programme

120 hp

This two-year master programme is based on companies’ needs for employees with the ability to initiate, lead, and promote the creation of innovations. The language of tuition is English.

Career

The programme trains students in project and innovation management, process and product development, business and system development, and social entrepreneurship. Students develop in-depth knowledge in business, but there is also interaction and sharing with the subject areas of design and technology. Students who complete the programme will be able to create sustainable solutions that take into account function and form as well as resource efficiency.

Degree

Master of Science in Business and Economics (120 credits) with specialization in Innovation through Business, Engineering and Design Main field of study: Business Administration.

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Take the opportunity

Take the opportunity to compete for a scholarship for the master programme Innovation through business, engineering and design. Here is the link to the competition.

Student testimonials

Sebastian Duque

Students within business, engineering and design collaborate at Linnaeus University to develop products


During the autumn term, first-year students on the master programme Innovation through business, engineering and design work in groups with one company each to develop their own products.

Ramona Hallgren studies on the design specialisation. Her group collaborates with the company CumVex, specialising in office furniture. Since CumVex is based in Växjö it is easy for the group to arrange meetings with the company without having to plan too far in advance.

"The company has been very open to our ideas and they listen to what we have to say. The fact that it is a local company is, of course, a great advantage, almost luxury", says Ramona. The collaboration within the group is also working well. All groups consist of students from the three different specialisations: business, engineering and design.

"The interesting part about working in a collaboration like this is that I, being a designer, view things differently. As opposed to financial managers and engineers I don't think very much about production and costs in the first stage of generating ideas", says Ramona.

Sebastian Duque studies on the business specialisation. He thinks that it has been very instructive to work together with students from the other specialisations.

"We all have different perspectives, and our working processes are also different from each other. We get to learn how designers and engineers think, just like in real-life projects", he explains.

Sebastian's group works with Alstermo Bruk, a company making suitcases. They keep contact through email, but also through visits both ways. Sebastian's group has focused on the concept of sustainability and is developing a new product.

"First, we worked four weeks with the development of a design model and now we have reached the engineering process. Once we have completed that, we will work four weeks with the business process. In this way, we will all learn the entire development process, which is very rewarding", says Sebastian.

Joe Sullivan studies on the engineering specialisation and works with the company Quickbutton, a supplier of campaign buttons, name tags and conference badges. Joe's group has also had a sustainability perspective in the development of their product and they have chosen to work with the material bamboo.

"We are really benefitting from each other's different skill sets and different previous experiences within the group. I, for instance, have never before really come into contact with the financial management part. The entire programme is very focused on teamwork", Joe says.

Innovation through business, engineering and design is a 2-year master programme offered at Linnaeus University in Växjö. The programme offers three different specialisations and the language of tuition is English.

How many ideas can we come up with?

"It's like I want to eat the product" That was the feedback Lars Dafnäs, senior range manager at IKEA, gave to some of the students when they presented their product idea on the new master programme at Linnaeus University.

"Wash council"

In one corner of the classroom, two students drape a sheet over an object. Some other students arrive with a blue IKEA bag that seems to contain a prototype of some sort. A laptop is passed around as some of the students make the final preparations for the presentation they are about to give. The atmosphere is charged.

Today's activity, when the students on the master programme Innovation through business, engineering and design get to present the result of their work, is called a wash council. The entire front row in the classroom is occupied by guests who normally work with product development at IKEA in Älmhult. It is now time for the innovations to be "washed" – will they make the cut and become products in IKEA's assortment?

During the first weeks of their education, the students have worked with an assignment on the topic "Life at home". Responsible for the assignment for this particular course are various departments at IKEA.

Briefing

How can buying a carpet become something fun? That is part of the briefing that one of the groups have been working with. The briefing is the starting point for the assignment and describes a need that the company has seen on the market. The students have been divided into groups and each group has then been given an assignment. In each group there are students from the three fields of engineering, business, and design.

The big picture

The students have had a couple of weeks to come up with different proposals for how to solve their assignments. Together they have come up with ideas, brainstormed, revised, and prioritised. What was first a number of product ideas has today been narrowed down to one idea per group. With this idea, the students have worked with an holistic approach; including everything from how the product is to be made attractive to the target group, the development of a prototype, construction sketches, and deciding on a material, to calculating the costs and putting forward a proposal on how and where the product is to be made, wrapped, and transported in a way that is environmentally sustainable. How can we make a sustainable design? What technical construction will function best?

Profit

An appealing idea will not be enough; it also has to become profitable. In their presentations, the students express thoughts on many parts of the process involved in the development of a product, from idea to market. The audience is introduced to the following aspects:
• By dividing this part into two in the construction process we are able to use more of the material, which will both lower expenses and provide us with a more flexible product.
• Through a web-based guide the customer will get help planning the purchase.
• If we outsource manufacturing to this region in China, and deliver a volume of X we will get a wage cost of...
• But if we choose a fully automated industry in Småland we will instead have fewer working hours; which means it is probably more profitable in the long run to invest in a manufacturing system operated by robots. The students have been in contact with both industries and logistics companies in order to work out estimates for the actual costs of their products.
• The wrapping will be this size, which means we will be able to fit Y pieces into one container, resulting in a transport cost of...

So, what are the margins? In the briefing the students have been given clear specifications regarding what profit margins are required in order for the products to be considered for production. The requirements are really tough, and force the group to decide what is most important with the product. One of the products consists of a variety of different models. The students have confirmed that one version will be more expensive to produce than the others. Is it still worth keeping that model? Is it possible to come up with a technology that makes it less costly to manufacture that model? What if it is that very model that makes the idea pop out and sell?

Animations and CAD sketches are mixed with classical slides in the student presentations. It becomes very evident that this is second-cycle level. In class, Swedish and international students work closely together, adding an international perspective to the education. How would this product be received in Spain? Or in China? Linnaeus University has agreements with a large number of universities abroad, and each year several hundred international students from all over the world arrive on campus.

"How can buying a carpet become something fun?"
We just might have heard the answer to that question at today's wash council. Perhaps we will stumble upon one of the products in the big furniture company's assortment in a not too distant future.

Learning

What to do if your group cannot come up with a good product idea? Not all groups will come up with solutions that make the American Idol jury – what the IKEA project owner jokingly nicknames his colleagues and himself at one point – burst out in a Hallelujah! Some assignments may be tougher than others.

"If you had succeeded in providing a good solution to this question you would all have become millionaires", says Miguel Salinas, senior lecturer at the department of design. "Failure can also be seen as the best way to learn".


"It is very important to be honest and provide information on any problems encountered along the work process. To say: We got this far – but we were not able to come up with solutions to all challenges in the briefing. It is impossible to sell an idea that you yourselves do not believe in", explains one of the company representatives.

"Imagine how much you could have gained by developing a quick prototype – then it would have been clear right away that the product may be dangerous if a child decides to try to climb it".

Much of the discussion in the room revolves around communication between customer and supplier, orderer and developer, and between different competencies. Also, it can be difficult to balance the requirements from the university with those from the company. A constant learning takes place in the dialogue between company and university.

Team spirit

"All student groups who have come up with ideas that seem to have good potential have one thing in common; the group members have worked as a team", says Lars Dafnäs, and continues:
"It is crucial that you make use of all your combined brain potential to solve the task. It becomes evident when you do, because then the result is something new, something inspiring".

"Still a lot of details to work on, but clear potential!"

The article describes one of the courses on the 2-year master programme Innovation through business, engineering and design. Are you curious about the education? If you study business administration, design, or engineering you can apply to the 2-year master.

Växjö

Växjö is a modern city with more than 80,000 inhabitants. The city has been declared "the Greenest City in Europe" because of its focus on environmentally sound solutions and the environmental programs implemented.

Being a student in Växjö you have easy access to everything – the city centre, the woods and the lakes. The pedestrian path from campus around Lake Växjösjön reaches almost all the way to the city centre and is perfect for jogging or taking long walks.

Campus Växjö is modeled along the lines of an American campus university and is the natural meeting place for students in Växjö. Campus is always bustling with life, and students move between lecture rooms, the University Library and the restaurants, pubs and outdoor recreational areas.

Students