Driving digital transformation in education
Education & Culture
> Insights & Concepts > Innovation strategy
applied methods
> Qualitative user Interviews > Expert interviews > Co-creation workshops > Vision blueprint
Spark Labs
3 years (ongoing)
Digitalisation is quickly reshaping the way we teach and learn. Schools like the ZHAW are being challenged to re-evaluate their core structures, and implement an approach to education that enables them to become a future-oriented institution.

1. Vision creation

To embark on this transformational journey the project team needed to first agree on a common vision. We explored questions like: why is digitalisation essential for us? How could we approach this change? What are the specific aspects we should address?

2. Skills research

Through intensive theory and field research we explored the major trends affecting education and the role of universities in shaping them. Together, we identified seven major skillsets students will need in the future.

3. Co-creation workshop

We invited over 50 stakeholders (students, teachers, experts, etc.) to participate in an open-day workshop with the aim of developing new concepts that would foster the major skills we identified during our field research.

4. PPP research

During a second exploration, we analysed the challenges and opportunities of implementing such transformation strategies in an education context. We looked at the best (and worst) practices with respect to three categories: people, places and processes.

5. Design Sprints

Concepts from the open-day workshop and insights from the research formed the basis of focus projects, for example for ‘redesigning the schools physical and digital spaces into a blended learning environment’, to be explored in dedicated design sprints.

6. Continuous refinement

During several strategy sessions we continuously refined ZHAW LSFM’s blueprint for digitalisation and created internal initiatives for digital change agents within the university to pursue.

steps in-depth

1. Vision Creation

Over the course of several workshops we helped the project team develop a common vision and roadmap for driving digital transformation at ZHAW LSFM. By putting students at the centre of their vision, they were able to develop a strategy that over time could adapt to the schools three P’s: processes, people and places. This strategy would enable them to become thought leaders in education.

3. Co-creation

Inviting a diverse group of internal and external stakeholders to contribute their diverse experience and knowhow on education and digitalization, enabled us to build concepts that put the learners and their skillset at the centre, but also considered overarching societal and technological trends as well as the university context in regards to feasibility and viability.

The team created a shared vision built on in-depth research which identified and informed potential areas of change. To spread an agile mindset across the ZHAW, a wide range of participants were invited to co-create new concepts focused on preparing the organisation for digital transformation. Initiatives that focused on people, places and processes were created and carried out.
Digital transformation cannot be imposed top-down. Stakeholders must own it. At ZHAW the management team, as well as the teaching and researching staff are starting to engage with, embrace and adopt teaching methods supported by the latest digital technologies.
Key insight

"One key insight for digital transformation at ZHAW was re-envisioning how the organisation operates in order to understand how to drive change. We had to address this challenge as one of management and people, not just technology."