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Developing a sense of empathy: The fifth module of the educational project Converge

Converge Project Module 5

On January 18-20, the fifth module of the educational project Converge, developed by IPERF, the International Institute for Research Performance and Innovation Management e.V. (Germany), jointly with Graduate School of Management (Russia) took place. The project was initiated by the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs (RUSNANO Group). During the first modules of the project participants learned about emerging technologies, human-computer interaction design, technology transfer and product management.

There are business owners and executives of the high-technology, construction, manufacturing and IT companies, financial organizations, restaurant chain and advertising agencies among 35 people who participate in the training.

The fifth module of the program was devoted to two extremely important topics for Russian companies-design thinking and service design.

In the first part of the module, participants got acquainted with the methodology of design thinking, one of the most successful tools for developing products that are truly needed by users. Students learned how to observe users and evaluate the user context, develop a sense of empathy for users to identify their problems and requirements more effectively, define the point of view in design, and also acquired the skills of prototyping products and testing them with users.

The second part of the module was devoted to service design, a methodology for service creation for the formation of a positive company image. Participants learned about the successful services in different areas and how to apply various tools to develop their own successful services.

Much attention was paid to team projects. The trainers of the course conducted individual consultations with all the teams and together with them defined the directions of projects development.

Vladimir Zubarev, director of marketing, promotion and advertising at Optosens, said: „The module dedicated to design thinking and service design was very interesting and informative. A structured and informative approach to transforming an idea into a complete product based on understanding of user needs and allowing to find the best possible solution is what distinguishes this course from similar ones. An optimally selected set of modern techniques and tools provides an opportunity to apply them in practice in the shortest possible time and with minimal cost in the process of working on real projects.“

During the educational project, the participants will participate in six training modules on three thematic blocks: Technology, Design and Business. As a result of the course, the participants will complete a project to create a new product/service or to improve an existing product/service within their companies.

To support the work of mixed teams, OWN.space, the cloud platform, was adapted. This platform allows creating virtual workspaces, where team members, together with virtual agents based on artificial intelligence technologies, can perform tasks for their projects.

The next module devoted to business planning and agile methods will be held on February 15-17, 2018 and will complete the educational project Converge.