Seminar: ChangeMakers

Entrepreneurial and Design Competencies for Societal Transformation

General Information

Title ChangeMakers: Entrepreneurial and Design Competencies for Societal Transformation
Number MGT001410
Type Seminar
Offered in Winter semester & summer semester
Lecturer Anne Tryba; Annette Diefenthaler


Course Description


In this module, students will acquire entrepreneurial and design competencies through experiential and scenario-based learning: Set in a future scenario, students will be confronted with scenes (based on scientific projections) that make clear what circumstances we may live in in the future. The Impulse Symposium ahead of the project week will provide inspiration and insight to stimulate students' imagination of that future scenario. During the immersive project week, participants will work in small teams to create a real-life practical solution for a larger societal problem they encounter in these scenarios: The first day of the project week creates space to explore what challenges students find relevant, and to explore through design and entrepreneurship research whether these challenges appear to be worth solving. Throughout the week, students will learn and apply creative problem-solving methods, foresight and future building techniques, and entrepreneurial thinking and decision-making to work through that challenge they identified. Students will be encouraged to leverage Generative AI tools to illustrate the solution scenarios they create. The future scenarios will simultaneously offer a playful and inspiring backdrop, while also illustrating probable constraints and challenges. Students will be guided to apply visualization and prototyping methods as well as reflection techniques that will support them in producing a shareable vision of a livable and lovable future and identify why and how they can contribute to realizing it.
The module is intentionally structured to include an impulse before, as well as iteration and reflection after an immersive project week. In addition, students will receive a reading package. Combining these elements will allow students to start well-prepared, reactive their prior knowledge, inform themselves about relevant methods, and process and appraise new information.


  • Understand and apply basic entrepreneurial and design competencies, including: Focus for sophisticated problem identification; Courage to take an active role in creating change; Imagination to develop and articulate ideas; Action to take an idea forward towards implementation
  • Leverage these competencies to retain hope in the face of critical societal challenges

While developing and articulating solutions in interdisciplinary project teams, students will learn how to plan, manage and conduct a project, mobilize scarce resources, act in the face of uncertainty, collaborate in a team, and present, discuss, and reflect upon their own solutions convincingly. In addition, working with future scenarios will strengthen students' creativite confidence and analytical and strategic skills.


Teaching and Learning Method

This module relies on six core elements:

  • Impulse – a university-wide public mini-symposium that includes several high-quality inspirational speakers who will set the tone and give context.
  • Project Week – an immersive one-week project-based experience including theory-driven and methodological impulses, team activities, interactive discussions, flipped classroom elements, and guided project work inside and outside the classroom.
  • Iteration – a review of the work that has been created during the project week in small teams accompanied by feedback and support from the course instructors and subsequent further development.
  • Presentation – a celebratory moment where participating teams share their work with each other and discuss their process and results.
  • Reflection – a moment to reflect on the experience and, importantly, plan for possible next steps of integrating the newly acquired skills into one’s work.
  • Reading package - a collection of supporting course material, links, and articles to strengthen the understanding and sensemaking of the applied methods.



Fluency in English; interest in entrepreneurship, design, and a sustainable future; willingness to work in a team