In summary

  • Swinburne’s Bachelor of Applied Innovation is the first degree of its kind in Victoria
  • Students in the degree will learn through innovation sprints, hackathons, design challenges and industry projects  
  • The double degree can be paired with 18 of Swinburne’s most in-demand courses and teaches students the skills that will never be replaced by machines 

Innovation sprints, hackathons, design challenges and industry projects are all part of Swinburne’s Bachelor of Applied Innovation, the first degree of its kind in Victoria.  

The double degree can be paired with 18 of Swinburne’s most in-demand courses and teaches students the skills that will never be replaced by machines – empathy, creativity and critical and systems thinking. 

Students will learn how to take their ideas from seed to success working on live briefs with clients like previous partners CSIRO, Panasonic, St Vincent’s and ANZ to develop solutions for commercialisation. Innovation Manager at South East Water and Bachelor of Applied Innovation industry adviser, Joel Segal says the skills taught by the degree give its graduates a competitive advantage. 

“It takes students beyond the ‘technical’ skills of a discipline such as business or engineering, adding a complementary skillset necessary to think and act as an innovator,” said Mr Segal.

The degree that takes creativity for good to the nth degree 

Creativity for public good is the driving force behind the degree. Students will get to work on projects that create innovation, technologies and ideas that improve people’s lives. 

Bachelor of Applied Innovation course director Aaron Down is a designer and strategist who delivers Design Factory Melbourne’s global academic programs with the Centre for Design Research at Stanford University, the SUGAR Network for Global Innovation and IdeaSquare at CERN. He says that for university students to create real-world impacts, an interdisciplinary approach is essential. 

“The Bachelor of Applied Innovation double degree suite will be delivered in the way industry is now working,” says Aaron. 

“Real life work settings give students hands-on and practical projects with real people, communities and partners. We are creating a learning environment for meaningful work with real social and commercial impact.” 

Deeply immersive projects in the innovation lab 

In the course, students will get the opportunity to take on leadership roles in interdisciplinary teams and work collaboratively on real-world projects. Projects are as diverse as they are thrilling, students could find themselves re-imagining learning environments for STEMM, addressing food waste in hospitals or exploring digital experiences and travel. 

Inclusive financial literacy and banking app Money&Me was designed by four Swinburne Design Factory students in collaboration with Untapped and ANZ. The goal? To make banking more inclusive. Read more. 

Aaron says these experiences give students confidence, practical skills and industry connections – all from year one. 

“These immersive projects help to give them a leg up as they embark on their future careers,” he says.  

Creating a culture for innovation 

Students will learn in one of Swinburne’s dedicated innovation and maker spaces: Design Factory Melbourne. Design Factory Melbourne’s Professor Christine Thong says this makes the student experience very similar to working at an innovation lab for an organisation.   

“We have a designated space to innovate. We work with local and international partners and industry projects. And we are the only Design Factory in Australia that offers students unique connections to a global network, with over 30 Design Factories around the world, from Helsinki to Japan, to New York,” says Professor Thong.

An international, multi-disciplinary project involving students from Swinburne and Kyoto Institute of Technology across design, engineering and strategy backgrounds developed Wheebo (you can think of it as a Segway for the sea). Yanmar, a Japanese company, commercialised the student’s solution and it’s now sold under the product name ‘Wheebo’.

Life-changing thinking starts here 

Swinburne product design engineering and Design Factory Melbourne alum, Rob Mastromanno is the winner of two prestigious Good Design awards and is a senior product manager at Babybee. He benefited from many of the guiding principles of the Bachelor of Applied Innovation.  

“Swinburne thrust me into complex, real-world problems. I was forced to consider commercial, social, ethical and sustainability requirements,” says Rob. 

The experience gave him a significant confident boost.  

“My projects at Design Factory Melbourne empowered me to take on opportunities in industry that were outside of my comfort zone because I had the skills to navigate the gaps in my experience and understanding.” 

Rob is now building a team of his own and will be keeping a close eye on the first graduating cohort from the Bachelor of Applied Innovation.  

Swinburne’s Bachelor of Applied Innovation double degree suite draws on the guiding principles of the United Nations Sustainable Development Guidelines, which encourage students to be agents of change.

The Bachelor of Applied Innovation double degree commences in Semester 2, 2022 and will be open to current and commencing students.   

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