Communication for innovation

Along with the rest of the university, the Communication Design for Innovation (CDI) minor started on Monday. In its third iteration, 36 technical students prepared to dive into the mysterious world of social sciences at the Science Center.

But not just social sciences. The minor is all about the integration of technological development and communication.

Communication as a research field at a university of technology is not as unexpected as you might think. Faulty communication lies at the root of many problems in technological development. Instead of computer modelling and simulations the research focuses on people and bridging the divide between technology and other parties. But it goes even further than that. “Combining social design and technological design in one process makes responsible research and innovation tangible,” said Maarten van der Sanden, one of the founders of the minor.

With a motto of ‘learning by doing’, the programme is centered around c-lab, a case study in which students work with a company on an actual problem. “Working closely together with a company gives you the opportunity to build a professional bond,” said Charlotte Kemp who took part in last years’ minor. “Our meetings were always very professional, in a suit in an office at the Zuidas in Amsterdam. You get the feeling the company expects something real, and that was really cool and motivating.” Her project was with GKSV, a communication strategy consultancy. Kemp’s project group developed a game for GKSV to bring to their client and work together on the best fitting communication strategy. This years’ case owners include the municipality of Rotterdam, TNO, and Delft Robotics.

Besides the case work the students also study marketing communication and cooperation in social networks. In addition there are several masterclasses dealing with topics like negotiations, visual thinking and journalism. For Kemp the masterclasses were the most memorable of the minor. “I really got to know myself and my weaknesses in for instance negotiations,” she said. “They taught me how to deal with these weaknesses and how to become a better negotiator. These are skills I have already applied in my daily life”

The new students have very diverse motivations for their choice. “It is nice to look at problems from a totally different perspective with a real case,” said Bernice de Haan. Malu Sieben wants to know more about group dynamics, saying, “I often get annoyed in group processes. I think this minor is something that will help me with this for the rest of my life.” Sebàstian Bourier has a more professional view on the subject. “I see it as an addition to my bachelor’s. This minor gives me an added value when I will go work at a company after my studies.”

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