Role of the Universities as Drivers of Social Innovation
2. Pontifical Comillas University
2.1. Mission and Values of the University: Implementation of a Service and Learning Model for All Faculties
2.2. A Model for Social Innovation Implemented in ICAI Engineering School
3. Designing a Learning and Service Subject for an Engineering School
- Education: workshops adapted from the ICAI Technological Campus, physics and mathematics support classes.
- Web design and development and apps: virtual stores, web page improvements.
- 3D printing and recycling: printing of chemotherapy boxes for children, printing of parts for children with severe disabilities, recycling of plastics and conversion into yarn for 3D printers.
- Collaboration with external foundations: projects requested from outside.
- Smart gardens: programming of sensors and installation to control and monitor the state of a plant, automatic irrigation…etc.
- Engineering for development: cooperation projects for development in education, energy, recycling, resource optimization, etc.
3.1. Goals, Deriverables and Evaluation
- Problem solving and decision making
- Organizational and planning skills
- Critical and self-critical skills
- Recognition and respect for diversity and multiculturalism.
- Ability to learn and work autonomously
- Action and quality orientation
“Even if at first I don’t expect much from a subject after working on it I can discover that I like it and it provides a real service to society.”
“This passion for knowledge came to me especially from my grandfather, the wisest and most humble man I have ever known. The way he listened so attentively to others no matter who they were or what they were talking about because he was fully aware that he was not in possession of the whole truth I have never seen in anyone else. It is these values that I want to develop throughout my career […]”
“Knowing that our work is going to be used, that it is not a simple evaluation of our competencies if not a work that thanks to our skills we have been able to carry out. That’s why it’s not enough just to get a pass, it’s in our hands so that someone else tomorrow can spend less time assembling the mechanisms […]”
- On the service performed: social need addressed, causes and consequences.
- About the academic content: knowledge and associated skills that have been put into practice.
- About oneself: self-knowledge, emotions, values, feelings.
- About the civic commitment: sense of service and learning project in your undergraduate studies.
- Who I am?
- Personal and academic background.
- Social problems.
- Challenge posed.
- The first days.
- The beginning. How was the first encounter with reality.
- First challenges that had to be faced.
- The development of the project.
- How have you been contributing ideas, knowledge…. to the challenge posed.
- How did you work?
- Remember any critical incident (doubts, difficulty) and how you solved it.
- The practical workshops.
- What I learned/what I didn’t learn.
- Farewell and final reflections.
- Make a list of the five key ideas that you take away after completing the Service activity.
- About the people you interacted with.
- About your learning.
- About the social issues you have worked on.
- What idea did you have about the non-profit organizations and about the beneficiaries of this program when you started the course? Have your impressions about both changed, or have they remained the same now that the project has ended?
- Service and learning in our School: what would you improve with respect to the activity you have done? Are there any activities that you think could be done as service learning that are not being done right now?
- Work done (50%)
- Group and collaborative work (30%)
- Interest shown in the subject.
- Attendance to classes/working group meetings.
- Attendance to general training lectures of the subject.
- Attendance to specific training talks of the group.
- Obtaining information about the specific project.
- Dynamization and participation in the work group (distribution of tasks and times, leadership, group work…).
- Presentation of the work to the rest of the students (in group and to the group).
- Quality of the report (20%)
- Technical explanations.
- Development of the report (analysis of the context, explanation, argumentation…).
- Presentation (formal aspects, spelling and grammar).
- Considerations—personal reflections.
3.2. Student’s Comments and Learned Lessons
- “Putting into practice all the knowledge acquired during the degree and deepening it is a very enriching challenge and if we add to this having the opportunity to study a new form of sustainable and low-cost energy generation, it becomes a very rewarding project”.
- “We have always been used to studying to get good grades, focusing only on ourselves. However, this has been different from the point of view that we are offering something to someone and what we want to offer we want it to be the best and a job well done.”
- “At ICAI I have had few volunteering experiences partly because of the pressure of studies. When I found out that we had this subject, I was very encouraged because of the idea of putting my engineering knowledge at the service of others.”
- “The subject is very well thought out. However, I would have liked to have However, I would have liked to have been offered the activity from the beginning of the degree, not only in the last year. I feel that I would have learned more by communicating and getting closer to people than with short courses in Communication Techniques”.
- “I am proud to say that this project has not been the work of one person, but has been the result of the work of 7 ICAI students. All the ideas and problems have been solved together and with the help of others, no one has been alone.”
- “I have learned that behind a simple project like a box in which waste is thrown to get compost, it can be much more complex than that and involves making transcendental decisions.”
- “It has been thanks to this subject that I have really realized how fortunate we are and that with a little effort you can help people to the point of wanting to continue doing projects of this style in my future as an engineer.”
- “Discovering a completely different way of living than I am used to reflecting on what lifestyle is better and how to be able to learn from a completely different way of living.”
- “I have also realized how important it is to have motivation when doing any project. And this is a project to do with motivation and affection thinking of others.”
- “I have learned to be more self-critical and make objective assessments of the work being done. I have realized that it is very important to detect when things are being done well and when they are being done badly so that I can redirect the tasks and meet the objectives.”
4. Practical Approaches of Social Engineering
4.1. Sustainable Projects
- Using recycled materials and an imperfect insulation system, high temperatures can be reached, the maximum temperature recorded being 126.25 °C. Although recycled materials are not ideal because the dimensions and shape of the available elements vary, a good result can be achieved.
- The radiation that causes the main heating in the oven is direct radiation, diffuse radiation plays an almost negligible role. During cloudy intervals, when there is no direct radiation reaching the oven, there is a steep drop in temperature. On days when there is no cloud cover, the temperature increase occurs at a constant gradient and is then maintained over a long period of time.
- Other parameters such as humidity or wind have their own effect on the warming of the oven. Humidity is not decisive for the oven heating. Relative humidity data was initially collected because it seemed that the percentage of relative humidity was directly proportional to cloudiness, but it has been demonstrated that this is not the case. The wind makes it difficult for the reflectors to focus the sun’s rays on the interior of the oven, causing the oven to heat up slower.
4.2. Economic Projects for NGO’s
5. Conclusions and Future Works
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Outcomes of a Socially Innovative Practice||Design, Construction and Characterization of a Handmade Solar Oven for Social Purposes|
|Developing novel solutions||This project is original and has been designed and constructed by the student and her directors using recycled materials without any external help or reference.|
|Creating social value promoting community development||This project meets SGD 7, 13 and 10, as it proposes a new way of transforming energy, in a clean way, preserving the environment and thus contributing to reduce inequalities among communities.|
|Forming wider collaborative networks||This solar oven is intended to serve in refugees camps or communities with low resources, so to create collaborative networks with these kinds of resources.|
|Challenging existing social institutions through this collaborative action||The implementation of a solar oven could serve for multiple actions, from cooking to melt bottle plastic to create prothesis, so could challenge social institutions to promote these types of actions.|
|Outcomes of a Socially Innovative Practice||Kyrios E-Commerce Website|
|Developing novel solutions||This project is original and has been developed from cero, taking as basis tutorials from how to create e-commerce sites. Is the first e-commerce site for this NGO.|
|Creating social value promoting community development||This project aligns with the achievement of the SDGs and specifically connects with the following: Decent work and economic growth (SDG 8). Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG 9), increasing access to information and communication technology. Reducing inequalities (SDG 10).|
|Forming wider collaborative networks||This site will serve to broadcast easily their products so will form collaborative networks derived from it, as happens with many site on the internet.|
|Challenging existing social institutions through this collaborative action||With this site, we pretend to increase the sales volume, being a more valuable NGO able to serve more disabled people.|
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Puente, C.; Fabra, M.E.; Mason, C.; Puente-Rueda, C.; Sáenz-Nuño, M.A.; Viñuales, R. Role of the Universities as Drivers of Social Innovation. Sustainability 2021, 13, 13727. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132413727
Puente C, Fabra ME, Mason C, Puente-Rueda C, Sáenz-Nuño MA, Viñuales R. Role of the Universities as Drivers of Social Innovation. Sustainability. 2021; 13(24):13727. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132413727Chicago/Turabian Style
Puente, Cristina, María Eugenia Fabra, Cindy Mason, Cristina Puente-Rueda, Maria Ana Sáenz-Nuño, and Ramiro Viñuales. 2021. "Role of the Universities as Drivers of Social Innovation" Sustainability 13, no. 24: 13727. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132413727