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Dr Robert Martin, DVC Corporate Services, recently conducted an Entrepreneurial and Design Thinking Bootcamp at the University of Venda (UNIVEN) Research Conference Centre. The main purpose of the Bootcamp was to show the benefits of applying design thinking methodology to infuse entrepreneurship in the curriculum. 

The Bootcamp was attended by the Executive Deans, newly appointed Director IPQA and some Academics. 

Dr Martin (Back Row-far right) posing for a group photo with attendees of the Entrepreneurial and Design Thinking Bootcamp

As part of UNIVEN’s Community Engagement drive, the newly appointed Local Economic Development Champions, appointed under the Department for Science and Technology funded IC4LED Project, led by Prof Joseph Francis were also invited to participate. 

Group presentations

Dr Patience Sannah Mativandlela, Director Institutional Planning and Quality Assurance (IPQA) said that the Entrepreneurship and Design Thinking workshop was key on redefining problems to get into solutions, also revitalisation of an academic scope of teaching, learning and community engagement to come up with actionable solutions more especially putting students at the centre as the main clients and end users. Using the steps – empathy, defining, forming ideas, prototyping, and testing. She said these design thinking tools are great for curriculum development, enhancement and for change. “The activities done on day 2 incorporated the design thinking systematic processes to help us tracking and measuring progress and outcomes. At the same time, from a qualitative perspective entrepreneurial educational programmes will help to develop or improve students’ entrepreneurial skills (personal characteristics, creativity, problem-solving, self-confidence and collaboration, etc.)”. 

Executive Dean of the Faculty of Management, Commerce and Law, Prof Modimowabarwa Kanyane highlighted that it became evident that the bootcamp was not a contestation of ideas but a fertile ground to trigger entrepreneurial thinking for our teaching and learning. He mentioned that the camp helped them to plot an entrepreneurial curriculum to reaffirm the 

University as the first choice by prospective students. “What mattered most was to translate that plot into dynamic graphic that is not only understood but also applied in real-time. The camp has a potential to be replicated as a prototype in faculties to attract more attention and actionable entrepreneurial ideation from broader faculty community”. 

The Acting Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Prof Tshilidzi Mulaudzi expressed that every time when she conducts orientation for first entering students, she always makes sure that they are informed about the kind of graduates that the University aspires to produce. She told attendees that when reviewing the modules, “evaluate how many modules are informed by research of not more than three (3) years old. Preparation of the following year’s registration must be planned and be ready by October of the year preceding registration (Module outline, study guides, assignments, and tests dates, etc). They must be uploaded and be available for students upon registration. In this way the entrepreneurial characteristics come into place.” 

When explaining his experience after the bootcamp, the Innovation Champion IC4LED Project, Mr Rudzani Bernard Mamphweli said that the entrepreneurship and design thinking bootcamp enhanced his understanding of the concept of entrepreneurship. “I am excited about the journey that the University is taking to create an entrepreneurial infused curriculum.” Mr Mamphweli further explained that, as an Innovation Champion for Local Economic Development, he intends to apply the elements of design thinking when integrating innovation into LED practices. 

Issued by: 

Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication 

University of Venda 
Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710 
Date: 16 August 2021 

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