A Next Generation Workplace for a Next Generation Workforce

Posted on: 26 November 2012

Engineering and Computer Science Students in Trinity College Dublin sponsored by Software giant SAP in a collaboration with Stanford University 

SAP, the world leader in enterprise software, has recently announced that it will sponsor Trinity College Dublin to participate in this year’s session of Stanford’s prestigious ME310 Design Innovation course. ME310 is the ‘gold standard’ course in industrial design, and Trinity will join an elite international group of universities for this year’s programme.

Four TCD postgraduates will work with four Stanford Engineering students on a Design Innovation Challenge defined by SAP. The focus will be on SAP’s AppHaus innovation space and how remote collaboration between teams can be achieved using the latest in technology and design thinking. 

The AppHaus concept is itself inspired by Stanford’s influential d.school and represents the latest in innovative workspaces. 

SAP opened its first large scale implementation in Dublin in early 2012, and are now converting a number of buildings on their Mountain View campus. The Dublin and Silicon Valley teams collaborate closely, and the students will look at how to shrink the physical distance between the locations.

TCD students at Stanford

Dr Tony O’Donnell from SAP Ireland was delighted when he gave Trinity the good news, and looks forward to the students’ work.

“I am absolutely thrilled that SAP has selected Trinity’s School’s of Engineering and Computer Science for this year’s run of ME310. We only sponsor one university globally in any given year, and it is a great affirmation of TCD’s international reputation that we have selected them. It is also a big endorsement for the innovation and creativity that we experience every day in the AppHaus, and we look forward to seeing how the students can make us collaborate better across distances.”

The ME310 course places students in a ‘real world’ design dialogue with a corporate partner and by the end of the course, they deliver a bespoke innovative solution or process for that company.  

The course focuses on the team design process and, using advanced tools and methods, promotes superior design and manufacturing of products.  The TCD Engineering School hosted ME310 Professor and the Director of the Centre for Design Research at Stanford, Professor Larry Leifer, for lectures and workshops, to staff, students and the public at TCD in 2011.  This was followed by a three month visit of Professor Gareth J. Bennett, of Trinity’s Engineering School, to Stanford earlier this year. 

“Trinity’s Engineers and Computer Scientists are as good as the best in the world. An invitation to collaborate directly with Stanford’s School of Engineering and to be part of its Global Network of Elite Universities is testament to this fact. Breakthrough Design Innovation creates jobs and strengthens economies. Trinity’s leading reputation in design excellence delivers graduates who can both pioneer new companies to create indigenous employment and help reinvent existing companies to make them more competitive,” said Prof. Bennett who is heading up the ME310 teaching team with Profs. Margaret O’Mahony, Kevin Kelly and Mike Brady, and teaching assistant Donal Holland.

“The funding from SAP offers a fantastic opportunity for Trinity Engineering and Computer Science students to partake in one of the most influential design courses in the world.  We are extremely grateful to SAP for providing such a wonderful opportunity to our students,” said Professor Margaret O’Mahony, Head of the School of Engineering, at TCD.  

“Large-scale program development nowadays is intensely collaborative,” said Professor Mike Brady, Director of Trinity’s Computer Science programme, “The design challenge for the team is to develop a new, 21st century working environment to promote close, productive collaboration in software development teams spread across the world. All aspects of the environment are up for grabs, and it’s a great project to bring to the ME310 Design Innovation course.”