Enterprise activity equips students with transferable skills

Students celebrate their completion of the Big Picture Challenge, a new enterprise education programme that empowered students to take action when faced with a complex life problem, in this case food waste. Students from 18 different courses and all levels of study came together and worked collaboratively over five weeks to discover, build and test their solutions.

This extra-curricular activity was a joint initiative between the SU Bath and the School of Management with support and funding from the Centre for Learning and Teaching and the Public Engagement Unit. The programme was part of experimenting with new ways of learning as part of the Curriculum Transformation project.

Students had the opportunity to think creatively, experiment with their ideas, and learn how to work collaboratively across disciplines by using design thinking tools. Through weekly workshops, support from industry experts and independent group work, participants generated solutions based on real needs and learned how to constantly modify them by incorporating feedback in real time.

All teams presented their ideas at the end to a panel of judges. The winners, team “Fresh Thoughts”, developed a simple and effective system of prompting students to think about the food they waste by using a range of posters, cards and fridge magnets. All participants have been offered follow-up mentoring if they want to take their ideas forward.

Reflecting on his experience, Lewis Hall, 3rd year MEng (hons) Chemical Engineering, said:  “I learnt a lot from working with students from different courses. The group work aspect of the challenge was completely different from the group work within my degree where it’s six of us and we all think the same, we have the same ideas. The challenge was a good opportunity to learn new ways of thinking and to change my style of working in a group.”

Almost half of the participants were international students like Lucksamon Deevongkij, MSc Entrepreneurship and Management, who added: “Participating in this programme was quite a challenge for me at first since I am an oversea student and I had never worked, as a team, with people who are from other countries. At first, I was afraid that the culture differences would bring incompatibilities, but it turned out that all members were really nice and open-minded. We all learnt to be good listeners and let others share their ideas.”

Karen Bailey, MSc Entrepreneurship and Management, commented: “The design thinking process was amazing, I didn’t expect to learn this much about myself and my strengths throughout the challenge. It was a practice run for what I want to do after I graduate and it was amazing to experience it with people from such different backgrounds.”

Kristie To, 2nd year BSc (hons) Psychology, added: “I am a Psychology student and this challenge was the first thing that allowed me to go outside my field and develop entrepreneurial skills which will be really useful when applying for jobs.” Megan Gozzard, 4th year BSc (hons) Biomedical Sciences, agreed: "The Big Picture Challenge was a brilliant opportunity to extend past my course of Biomedical Sciences and to try thinking in a more commercial, social and innovative way.” 

Libby Sandbrook, Head of Circular Economy at Business in the Community, commented on judging the presentations: “At this critical point in history where we must tackle sustainability challenges head on if we are to avoid the catastrophic consequences of climate change, I felt inspired and encouraged by the commitment and energy that these students put into their projects.”

Dave Broadway, Chairman of CFH Docmail and Bath alumnus, added: “It was a privilege to witness the excellent ideas that all of the student groups presented to reduce food waste and improve sustainability. Even more impressive that these students came from all over the world and were put together in random groups. The fact that not only did they all gel and work together, but that the output was so good shows the value of this kind of cross disciplinary team creation in the best possible way.”

If you are interested in running a similar activity or in building new enterprise activities for students in your department, please get in touch with Catalina Amihaiesi, Student Enterprise Coordinator.