The challenges of tomorrow? They’re complex. Gnarly. Undefined. They’ll be driven by social and technological disruption, by the emergence of new disciplines and a world of work where the vast majority of jobs don’t even exist yet.
To prepare for these challenges, graduates will need high-level transdisciplinary problem-solving skills and an innovation mindset. Enter the Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation (BCII).
The BCII is a combined qualification designed to equip students for this changing career landscape; creating new value through transdisciplinary problem-solving, combining expertise across knowledge domains in order to tackle wicked problems.
“The BCII generates an intensely productive learning environment for creative ideas to emerge through imaginative, problem- and possibility-centred experiences,” says Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Education and Students) Professor Shirley Alexander.
“BCII students become resilient and adaptive, ready to face major challenges and identify new opportunities in an increasingly complex world.”
Unlike traditional university course structures, which tend to be focused on a single discipline area, the BCII is built on the concept of multidisciplinary teamwork. It can be paired with 26 UTS degrees, bringing together students from a vast range of professional background to engage with novel approaches to learning.
“Students participate in activities such as think tanks and hot housing days, methods sandpits, hackathons and co-creation sessions,” Alexander says.
But the BCII is about much more than what happens in the classroom — one of its aims is to ‘reimagine’ education by positioning it at the intersection of academia and industry. As such, the BCII has extensive links to both public and private sector industry organisations, including Accenture, Google, Food Innovation Partners, NSW Health, and TAL, Australia’s largest insurance company.
In fact, it’s largely an industry-facing degree — much of the course content is structured around solving real problems that these industry partners are grappling with.
Previous projects include a Google challenge to introduce the internet to 200 million people in rural India, and a City of Sydney project to reduce alcohol-related violence in Sydney’s Kings Cross neighbourhood. A recent project with Visa saw students designing the future of electronic payments using wearable technologies and connected devices.
With these transdisciplinary degrees, you’re not learning what someone else has discovered — you are doing real live work on real live problems, says Alexander.
Last year we had a waiting-list of industries that wanted our students to work on their problems and issues.
Now entering its sixth year, the BCII is going from strength to strength. So popular is the degree that 3784 students applied for 250 places in 2017; only one in 15 was successful.
Its reputation in international circles is growing too: the course was jointly awarded a bronze award in the Presence Learning category with Falmouth University in the UK by Wharton Re-imagine Education — a prestigious international competition rewarding innovative initiatives aimed at enhancing student learning outcomes and employability, often described as 'the Oscars of education’. This award recognises classroom innovations that enhance the student learning experience, in response to the idea that "reimagining education involves more than devising ingenious technological solutions to problems".
The BCII is one of a new suite of degrees at UTS that are focused firmly on the future. Along with the Bachelor of Technology and Innovation and the snapshot Diploma of Innovation, which present creative thinking as essential components of a successful tech career, these courses are about developing an innovation mindset that can be applied to the problems of tomorrow.