About the project
Information center, cooperation partner, teaching and research laboratory for prospective students, students and companies in the field of the digital transformation
The User Innovation Center (UIC) that’s part of IDiAL, sponsored by Fachhochschule Dortmund – University of Applied Sciences and Arts, has been created as a link between teaching, research, and business. It offers space for information, innovations, and co-productions around the topic of the digital transformation. Digital penetration into nearly all of people’s working worlds and lives makes it necessary to have a central and versatile institution that can quickly adapt to evolving technologies. Due to the strong interdisciplinary connections that come with the digital transformation, it is a very challenging task to fulfill the responsibilities of it in the context of teaching for individual departments with their decentralized specialized laboratories and teaching formats. The UIC provides the space and expertise to promote the digital transformation across disciplines.
To set up the UIC, the ground floor of the IDiAL building was extensively remodeled and renovated in 2020/2021. The centerpiece of the UIC is the I³, where larger groups can work together creatively, cooperatively, and in a relaxed atmosphere. It is also suitable for holding larger events here. In addition, the UIC has further multifunction spaces and meeting rooms where work can be completed in a more focused environment.
Following the set-up phase and beginning in summer 2021, a series of events could be held in the UIC in compliance with the coronavirus-related hygiene measures. For instance, Dr. Nhiem Lu provided an overview of the digital transformation in the security services industry during “Digital Day,” while various stakeholders from the sciences, business and society met within the UIC as part of the “convention@ruhrvalley” event to discuss the focus and direction of the ruhrvalley network in late September. Additional events included a Make-a-Thon in cooperation with the city of Schwerte and other partners during which students had 24 hours to develop solutions for actual problems facing businesses and civil society using design thinking methods. The UIC opened its doors for the “Dortmund Digital Weeks” and invited attendees to its open house. One of the year’s highlights was an IT boot camp for high school students, organized in cooperation with the Unna District Economic Development Corporation. Thirteen teenagers from the Unna District took advantage of an intensive hands-on program, whereby each day of the five-day boot camp focused on a different topic from the IT world: internet and cloud, software solutions, or video game development. The theories they learned were supplemented and deepened with practical tasks, whether the students were programming interactive light controls or using the 3D printer. Each daily program was rounded off with presentations by professionals from the field about relevant dual studies/training programs and career opportunities.
These and many other events show that the UIC has a modern and practice-oriented utilization concept that meets with the approval of many participants. Numerous additional events are being planned for the coming year with companies, municipalities, students, and stakeholders from the sciences and humanities, the business world, and civil society. Along with on-site events, virtual formats can also be offered, for instance using the Mozilla Hubs VR platform, so that events can be held safely and beyond the borders of physical attendance as necessary even in these pandemic times.
Fachhochschule Dortmund - University of Applied Sciences and Arts