Université Libre de Bruxelles, Solvay Brussels School of Economics & Management
Location: Brussels, Belgium
TRIAXES brings together students from business, engineering, and design departments. Students design, develop, and market a new product, hence diving into a real entrepreneurial venture.
Call to Action
Three contextual dimensions of the Solvay Brussels School led to the creation of the Triaxes project: the school’s DNA, its strategic positioning, and its academic environment. The Solvay Brussels School is one of the 13 faculties of Université Libre de Bruxelles. Entrepreneurship and multidisciplinary approaches have always been part of the school’s DNA. Bachelor and master degree programs include strong technological, economic, and managerial components.
Today, the school’s strategy is to further develop its entrepreneurial and innovation management research and training services. Belonging to a comprehensive research-based university with five Nobel Prize winners opens numerous opportunities for multidisciplinary projects. The TRIAXES project naturally emerges from this context. History tells us that the key to success for entrepreneurial ventures requires a successful and efficient multidisciplinary team made of design, engineering, and business skills.
TRIAXES is an intensive and exciting collaborative project developed jointly with the design school and the engineering school. It brings together students from three faculties to collaborate and integrate design thinking models for both the product prototyping and business model envisaged. They are coached by professors from the three schools.
TRIAXES is a unique opportunity for the students to experience design thinking and discover the complexity induced by the creation of new businesses. The team of students must acquire technological and design skills by analysing the contents, the products, and the structure of it, and by thinking about the scenario of use and designing a sustainable business plan to fund the production and finally sell the 3-D object. The business student takes the lead for the market research and prepares the business plan, including financial and legal constraints. The engineer student must bring technical solutions. The design student works on the shape of the product and anticipates the scenario of use, securing an effective user experience. The project was created by a multidisciplinary pedagogical team composed by an industrial design professor, a biomechanical professor, an entrepreneurship professor, and two faculty developers. The trio of students works together from September to February, alternating plenary and individual meetings. The result of the work is assessed by an academic and external board of examiners. The board of examiners includes professionals from several successful startups in the Brussels region. They all participate in the assessment and give feedback to the students.
The ultimate objective of the project is to give the taste of entrepreneurial ventures to students from the business, engineering, and design schools. For faculty, the main benefit is in the experience of design thinking in the course. TRIAXES provides the opportunity to extend the future professional network of students by allowing them to meet students, professors, and professionals from other fields and schools. The project develops specific skills in analyzing context, defining strategic orientations and financial simulations, solving technical problems and providing sustainable solutions for the engineering challenges, sketching a project, elaborating effective specification needs, and giving sense and shape to an object. It also provides transversal skills like communication, collaboration, and project management.