Priorities:Universidad Católica del Uruguay Student Priorities

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Strategy #1- Proyecto Impulsar (Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Diverse Academic Fields)

An initiative to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in less explored academic fields and enhance communication between students and the institution.

Our Challenge

How can we boost I&E in academic fields that are not conventionally related with innovation and entrepreneurship?

Our Problem

Lack of Innovation Exposure: Academic fields like Psychology, Law, Social Work, Political Science, and Visual Arts have limited exposure to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Ineffective Communication: There is a gap in communication between students and the university.

The Challenge of Flexibility: The curriculum's flexibility and the availability of elective courses make introducing mandatory innovation courses a complex task.

How It Works:

We begin by identifying faculty members who have a genuine passion for innovation and entrepreneurship in academic fields. This involves close collaboration with the Vicerrectoría de Diseño y Desarrollo Curricular (Vice-Rector's Office for Curriculum Design and Development) to leverage their insights into faculty expertise and academic areas.

Once we've identified these faculty members, we work in tandem with the Centro Ludus (Center for Teaching Innovation) to design a comprehensive training program. This program equips faculty with the necessary knowledge and teaching skills for integrating innovation and entrepreneurship into their courses effectively.

Collaborating with faculty, we strategically identify opportunities within existing courses where innovation and entrepreneurship concepts can be seamlessly integrated. This process ensures that students in fields historically less exposed to innovation benefit directly.

Our team, in collaboration with the Centro Ithaka (Ithaka Center), launches an awareness campaign. We actively engage students in the targeted fields, informing them about this initiative and the significance of innovation and entrepreneurship in their academic journey. Simultaneously, we organize events, lectures, and panels featuring accomplished professionals from related fields who have excelled as entrepreneurs.

In partnership with the Centro Ithaka, we explore collaborations with external companies. This facilitates the creation of internship opportunities, mentorship programs, and additional resources for students in the target fields, enhancing their real-world exposure to entrepreneurship.

We Will Follow the Incoming Steps:

#1 Identify influential faculty members.

#2 Create a training program for faculty.

#3 Integrate innovation into courses.

#4 Promote awareness.

#5 Evaluate and monitor.

#6 Integrate into the curriculum.

#7 Establish strategic partnerships.

#8 Assess long-term impact.

Strategy #2- USA (Unidad de Sinergia y Armonía) - (Make different university centers work together  in synergy)

The Unit of Synergy and Harmony (USA) works to align the different units of the university that have proposals for students, finding opportunities to collaborate and generate more valuable and comprehensive proposals. This unit understands the different priorities of each unit and is responsible for the necessary logistics to facilitate collaboration. It is composed of a student from the Student Center (ComuniUCU) and a team from UCU.

Why are we suggesting this?

Our challenge:

How can we harmonize UCU's offerings to better address student and faculty needs while fostering active engagement?

Students Pain Points:

- We have sooo many choices to make: Elective courses (the list has 327 rows in Excel), clubs, sports, exchange programs, volunteering, pastoral activities, innovation initiatives, language courses...

- We're already involved in activities outside of the university, so we don't have much extra time.

- We all have diverse interests, but we need to manage our credits effectively to make the most of these opportunities.

Faculty Pain Points

- They need to consider many different, original, engaging, and interesting proposals.

- They're not really connecting as a UCU team; instead, they seem to be "competing" for attention.

- The students aren't putting in their effort, lacking initiative, and remaining passive in their roles.

The value in our solution:

Student Value:

- Fewer options, but more comprehensive ones.

- Different interests blended into a single proposal.

- Connection with people with different interests

Faculty Value:

- Quality and teamwork are more important than quantity and individual efforts.

- Innovative proposals with distinctive features set above the average.

- Having more students involved means greater promotion of the proposal, all in alignment with UCU's values.

Strategy #3- UCULink  - (AI software that filters the way students receive information in a personalized way)

UCULink is a software application that uses artificial intelligence to create personalized messages for students based on their interests. It can forge unique interactions with students and collect invaluable data from these exchanges. With each interaction, the software becomes more adept at crafting compelling messages and understanding the students on a deeper level.

Our challenge:

How can we boost student engagement in UCU activities through personalized and impactful communication?

Our problem:

Numerous Activities, Limited Engagement: UCU offers a plethora of activities, yet student participation remains low. We aim to boost this engagement.

Suboptimal Communication Channels: Through our research and interviews with students, we found that emails and the UCU portals are not the most effective means of communication.

Generic Messaging: When a student does read an email, the content often lacks personal relevance, reducing its impact.

Inefficient Tracking Mechanisms: Currently, UCU struggles to track student participation accurately, especially when it comes to understanding their reasons for non-participation.

How it works:

1) Students indicate their interests in the UCU portal.

2) Our AI app tailors messages based on these interests.

3) The app communicates via WhatsApp or other preferred channels.

4) These messages can encompass any information or updates the university wishes to relay.

5) Upon receiving the message, students can learn about the activity or update and have the option to respond.

6) Interaction metrics are recorded, enabling the AI app to learn and refine its message suggestions and activity proposals for students.

We will follow the incoming steps:

#1 Ensure all students register their personal interests in the UCU Portal.

#2 Develop an algorithm that sends event invitations based on individual student interests.

#3 Collect data on student event attendance.

#4 Over time, the algorithm can then forecast which events a particular student is likely to attend.

Strategy #4- ComuniUCU - (Rebrand the way UCU communicates and builds community)

ComuniUCU is a student goverment designed for students, by students. This goverment goal is to transform the way our university build community and generate an environment were students are are involved in decision-making processes, while creating a more connected and engaged student community.

Our challenge:

How can we foster a more engaged community of UCU students while also creating new communication channels?

Our problem:

Lack of Student Community: UCU has a huge student community, yet it lacks unity. Students attend the university but do not feel connected to it.

Poor Communication, Low Engagement: After conducting our research we found that due to the inneficient communication channel for activities from the university, students do not enroll in extracurriculars.

Small Student Culture: Presently, UCU's student activities are created and not well comunicated, generating an apathetic community, increasing reluctance in activities and pivotal student roles.

How it works (Elegibility, Process):

1) Interested students fill a form, launching their campaign.

2) Members must be comprised from various faculties and degrees.

3) Create student bylaws for student representatives.

4) Ensure regular meetings and recieve feedback from student community.

5) Design & create community building activities and committies.

6) Create a platform in which alumni is involved in decision-making.

7) Establish a communication bridge between students & representatives with university authorities.

We will follow the incoming steps:

#1 Comprise the most effective quantity of representative members.

#2 Design the format of the election campaign.

#3 Design and develop a suggestion area for students to present problems that need fixing.

#4 Create bylaws and ensure they are being followed correctly.


Strategy #1- CantINa INclusiva & INnovadora-IN^3- (Inclusive and innovative canteen)

After meticulously analyzing the LAndscape Canvas we created, the fact that there was a very poor Innovation and Entrepreneurship culture among students caught our attention.

Apart from that, we realized that this situation was even worse in the area of health of our University. We consider this to be something that needs to change, since innovation is something that every area of knowledge should be looking forward to, no matter what their object of study is.

Our challenge:

How might we help the Faculty of Health students be more involved in the I&E Ecosystem, and incorporate it to their careers?

For our following idea, we also took into consideration a present problem in our University: the fact that the on-campus canteen has little to none inclusive foods.

Taking this into account, this project would consist of a competition between groups of students from the Nutrition career. During the course of three days, each group would have to create a mock Startup which should be related to the food industry. They would have to come up with meal plans and recipes, considering all of the special diets students have, for example: gluten free, sugar free, Keto, vegan, vegetarian, etc.

Selected judges would then vote and choose the best, most complete and inclusive Startup, and parts of their meal plans and some of their recipes would be added to the University canteen´s menu.

We will follow the incoming steps:

  • Step #1: schedule a meeting with the person in charge of the University's canteen.
  • Step #2: interview the Nutrition career director (Margarita Núñez).
  • Step #3: interview the Student Affairs´ director.
  • Step #4: create a communication campaign aiming at the Nutrition students, and motivate them to be part of the activity.

Strategy #2- “Experience”

Having investigated all the areas of the university, we could realize there are just a few instances where students apply what they learn in their specific subjects, working with partners from different careers.

Our challenge:

How might we help students to experience what their work will actually be like when they graduate?

Everyone knows that when we graduate, we are not going to work just with people that studied the same as us, because of that we want to make them experience what is the reality when they become professionals. To make them realize it and knowing that new academic plans do not have exams, we propose to have challenges when classes are finished. In those challenges, undergraduates will work with students from other careers.

We will follow the incoming steps:

•Step #1: Talk with the vicerrector of academic programs

•Step #2: Talk with the director of academic programs

•Step #3: Brainstorm project ideas that could involve students from different majors

•Step #4: Create the elective “experience”

Strategy #3- Entrepreneurship Splash

Thanks to our own student experience and the interviews we had with Ithaka during week 3. We noticed that although the university has courses on innovation and entrepreneurship, in which practical work is carried out, there is no possibility of doing something in the real world (within what the course offers).

Our challenge:  

The creation of an extracurricular program for students who want to know more about the entrepreneurial world from a more practical point of view

So when we inquired about Ithaka's functions, such as the entrepreneurial project incubation program. We came up with the idea of ​​creating an extracurricular program where students are given the opportunity to participate in meetings, talks, consultancies that the university has with real projects, so that they can acquire practical knowledge and help the entrepreneur and the consultant in whatever way they can.

It will have a prior management process where the entrepreneurs will be consulted if they are willing to let the students participate in their talks (due to the degree of confidentiality). Then 2 or 3 students per proyect will be selected from a waiting list based on their average and what their major is, since the idea is to give the opportunity to students who are familiar with the project.

In addition, they will be given prior training so that they are aware of what will be discussed in the meetings.

In addition to the knowledge obtained, the student will obtain additional credits for his career

We will follow the incoming steps:

  • Step #1: Have a meeting with the manager of the Ithaka incubator and with the director of Academic Programs where we will present our idea and what we want to achieve
  • Step #2: get to know the interest of the students for this new program to evaluate if it is worth continuing with the project, to make changes, etc.
  • Step #3: Meet with the Practicum department to plan the prior management that will be done when assigning students to certain projects

Strategy #4- “SIF” (Society´s Innovation Fellows)

After seeing all the courses and careers that our university has, we notice that just a few are committed to help the community, mostly elective ones, and in which the students always work on a structured project, with almost no time or possibility to innovate in the expected solution.

Our challenge:

How can we implement innovative solutions for society's problems?

The SIF is a project where students can work on a specific real life problem, helping the society by innovating and bringing the “design thinking method” to them.

We have a lot of courses, projects and instances where we can learn and show our innovation skills inside the University, but we should also put our knowledge into solving others problems.

Sadly in our city we have a lot of things and places where we could work on and bring a solution, but not a simple one, but an innovative one, applying the design thinking method and other ideas to deliver a solution for the society.

This project would not just help the people who live there, or the public image of the university, but everybody who’s involved, because it would be a challenge for the students, teachers and everyone working on the project to think, develop and implement an effective solution in a relatively short time (four months).

We will follow the incoming steps:

  • Step #1: Create a presentation where we show all the society's problems we could solve by innovating and/or using the Design thinking method, how we would do it and what we need. Then present this project to the BERIT and IthaKa directors, and to the UCU authorities in order to know their opinion about it.
  • Step #2: Ask former BERIT courses students what they think about this project and if they would participate.
  • Step #3: Select a few (2-4) actual society’s problems and create an elective course where students can work on a solution for those problems. In order to promote the students participation we would create different promotions (via UCU university life Instagram, the WebAsignatura Portal, and in the campus spaces) of these courses.


Storytelling: Fostering Innovation & Integration at Catholic University of Uruguay - Link:

Strategy #1 - International I&E Start-ups Annual Fair

After taking a deep look at the Landscape Canvas we realized that the innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E)) ecosystem among university students is not as strong as it could be, given the fact that innovation nowadays is very present around the world. Although it is true that the I&E atmosphere in the University is growing, we believe it's not enough. 

It may be either due to the fact that students are not inspired enough to come up with an innovative idea that can solve a problem or because they do not believe it can be such a scalable idea to carry out. 

Our challenge:  

How might we help students involve themselves in the innovation and entrepreneurship environment?

The idea is to make an International Start-up Fair with the aim that students get to know the great amount of existing innovative start-ups in the world and get inspired to create and carry out an innovative idea that can solve a problem among the society. This Fair will take place on the outdoor part of the campus each 21st of April (World Creativity and Innovation Day) and every year will present different start-ups from all around the world regarding specific fields of innovation such as digital health, fintech, agritech, cybersecurity and industry. 

If possible, this fair will not only present the inventions and how each of them work, where they are from, how they grew in the last years, but also will show the product or a prototype of it so that the fair can be more interactive for everyone. 

We will follow the incoming steps:

  • Step #1: Schedule a meeting with IthaKa Center and student affairs to see if they approve the idea and if they support us.

  • Step #2:  Make teams of people to do exhaustive research of the different innovative ideas carried out in an assigned country. Each idea must be related to the field chosen for that year and the team will create the stand with panels with all the information about the idea and the product if possible.

  • Step #3: Speak with the communication and marketing department to help us promote the fair among UCU students and teachers as well as any other person from outside of the university exhausting every communication resource.

Strategy #2 - “Solv-IT” Innovation Workshops

Something that came to light while we analyzed the Landscape Canvas,was the lack of workshops and start-up weekends.Moreover, we realized that there weren't too many(or it did not exist at all) activities that would encourage interaction among students and in which they could meet new people. 

Our challenge:  

How might we help students to interact better with each other,while propelling the I&E environment ?

The event will consist of a two-day workshop in which students will gather in teams to solve real-life problems.Students will be able to choose from a variety of problems that fall under a previously chosen topic, which will change in each instance. The first half of the first day would be used to introduce the students,form the teams,and help them to know each other with some ice-breaking games.The second half would be used to teach the students about design thinking and giving them the possible problems they can choose to solve.In the second day the teams would start with their solution and build their MVP .The winner team will receive help from the Ithaka’s incubator to continue developing their project and they will have the chance to receive seed funding from a regional sources of capital (angel, VC, state or institutional funds). 

If possible, this fair will not only present the inventions and how each of them work, where they are from, how they grew in the last years, but also will show the product or a prototype of it so that the fair can be more interactive for everyone. 

The idea also,apart from the good ideas and/or projects that may come up,is to propel the interaction between students from different majors by forming multidisciplinary teams and making them work towards a common goal. 

In conclusion,our aim with this workshop is both to improve the interaction between students (a matter in which the pandemic wreaked havoc) and,at the same time, to involve them in the I&E environment. 

We will follow the incoming steps:

  • Step #1: Contact external partners who could provide the seed funding.

  • Step #2:  Book the university’s cowork space for the dates in which the workshop will take place.

  • Step #3: Get in touch with the Students Affairs and Communications Department in order to do the marketing and advertise the event.

  • Step #4:  Make it happen.

Strategy #3: “INNOVAFTER”

Analyzing the Landscape Canvas and also hearing the students' thoughts, what we discovered was a lack of opportunities for students from different careers and departments to interact and get to know each other. As we know nowadays it is fundamental to have a multidisciplinary team so we can be more efficient and complete. To get to this is easier if students can have instances to create bonds and share time together. In addition to this, one of the fundamental missions of our University is to have a full academic and social experience so that students not only attend class but can generate a community. 

Our challenge:  

How might we help students to interact better with each other,while introducing them to the I&E environment ?

What we will be doing as part of the solution of this question on top is an Innovafter. This will be an event held at the end of the classes so that people from different careers can join and listen to good music, student bands and enjoy some drinks. Is the perfect time to relax after class in an informal environment and get to know other students you would never see and talk to if it wasn't for the after class.This event is not only to meet with other students but also to start knowing and getting involved in the innovation and entrepreneurial environment. 

When we enjoy something we remember it. What is better than games to introduce to the amazing and magical world of innovation? We want students to enjoy their university life and to have the opportunities to make the most of what they learn in new projects to improve personally and professionally. 

This is why in this event there are going to be a variety of mini innovation games while they have fun and play games. 

We will follow the incoming steps:

  • Step #1: Start planning the event, book the space we want in the University (Join Place) and contact different providers of drinks and food.

  • Step #2:  Make some flyers and communicate on instagram, the university web and via mail one week before the event.

  • Step #3: Contact volunteers or students with scholarships to help with the event.

  • Step #4:  Contact volunteers or students with scholarships to help with the event.

Strategy #4: Innovation Marathon

After having immersed ourselves in the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem of our university, one of the main problems that we were able to recognize is the lack of integration of students in the innovative and entrepreneurial area of ​​our institution. So with this strategy we aim to foster an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in students by inviting them to join in activities that challenge them to think outside the box and use their creativity. 

Our challenge:  

How might we help students involve themselves in the innovation and entrepreneurship environment?

The idea of ​​this project is to create an annual competition, which ideally lasts over time, and by means of which students will be invited to, together with a group of friends or classmates, apply with an idea or problem that they would like to implement or solve in the university. During the competition, for between 3 and 4 days, they will be provided with tools (videos, activities, talks, etc.) so that they can develop prototypes of their ideas or even so that they can rethink other solutions that they had not taken into account. Once the competition is over, the ideas will be presented to a jury, and the winning team will be able to carry it out. 

The main focus of this competition is to encourage students to use their creativity and skills to improve the university ecosystem of which they are a part every day. For the latter, we believe that the participation of students in these types of activities is of utmost importance, since they are the ones who can more easily recognize the problems that should be solved, at the same time that they would be thinking and creating ideas that would generate a benefit to themselves. 

We will follow the incoming steps:

  • Step #1: Talk with the student affairs department to have feedback on the preliminary event, and begin to organize the methodology to carry out the competition.

  • Step #2:  Contact all centers and departments to get an overview of the problems or things that could be improved in each place, and put together a list of several examples and contacts.

  • Step #3: Talk with the communication department to implement the promotional material of the event and start promoting it between students via social networks and other means.


Strategy #1 - Boosting communication via webasignatura.

After interviewing various students, we felt that there was a lack of effective communication. The courses were already created, but students were not aware of their existence. So the first step was already taken, now we want students to acknowledge the opportunities that are available to them. UCU currently sends emails in order to notify students that there is a workshop or a course, however due to the amount of activities there are, and the channel that is currently being implemented, it is not effective, and frequently sent automatically to spam. 

Our challenge:

How might we communicate effectively to the students community the variety of vacant activities to develop innovation and entrepreneurship skills?

The first thing we noticed, is that there is an unused space on the university's login webpage  that can be exploited to solve our challenge. The space in question is approximately 70% of the login page to the university's servers. So the idea is to employ that area that is necessarily seen by students, to communicate the different activities.

Adjacent to the login interface, there will be an advertisement of different aspects. Firstly, before the beginning of classes, the login will show the subjetcs related to I&E the course of event of the week. Just below that, the name of the activity and a short description of what is about, will be placed. However, after students have already chosen the subjets of the semester, the page will include activities, lectures, programs, and scholarships related to the topic previously mentioned. Theregion will also have a calendar, that enumerates the upcoming events, being a constant reminder of new activities. 

We, fellow candidate will be responsible for designing the website, keeping it updated, encouraging students to pay attention to it, and make the link between the students that produce the clip and the referent of that activity.

Not only that, but the group wants to go beyong what is established, and wants the webasignatura to suggest other courses that might be of interest to the student based on previous searches with a combo of courses with timetables already arranged.

We will follow the incoming steps:

  • Step #1: Schedule a meeting with the Dean  (Julio Techera) to ask for approval, with a referent of Centro Ignis, to ask if the project is possible (Natalia Espasandin), and with someone of IT, that manages the website.

  • Step #2:  Investigate all the courses, workshops, open sessions and competitions related to innovation and entrepreneurship.

  • Step #3: Make a team of Computer Science students to create the adjustments  to the website.

Strategy #2 - One day networking event between students and teachers.

While analyzing the Landscape Canvas completed in Session 3, the team realized that although there are a bunch of resources regarding “Mentoring, advisory or business networks”, Ithaka is the only centre that provides this service inside the university. Also, Ithaka encourages entrepreneurs with start up ideas and helps them in the validation and the process of creating it. 

But what happens with students that have interests and ideas that do not necessarily match with beginning a startup or a business plan? 

Our challenge:

How can we provide students the possibility to contact teachers related to the topic they are needing help with?

In order to describe the project, we´ll give an example. Imagine Pedro, who is a Business Administration student interested in finances. Although he is still studying his degree and with a lot more to learn, he is interested in the stock market and has a lot of doubts. 

We, fellow students, don't want Pedro to have those inquiries for such a long time, when there are a lot of students and teachers who can help him by having a chat or work on an idea together.

How will this networking process work? 

  1. We will talk to different teachers who are willing to go to our networking event.

  2. We will invite Pedro and other students who showed interest in contacting with a graduate student or teacher who knows about a certain topic.

  3. When all students and teachers are at the event, we will do some activities to get to know each other and chat about our interests.

  4. We could end the networking meeting with a group challenge or an unconference.

The idea is not only to get to know students and teachers but to work with them. After this, all students will have some contact with the teachers that were present and they will be able to interact with them whenever they have a doubt.

We will follow the incoming steps: 

  • Step #1:Talk with Student Affairs and Íthaka in order to co-organize the event.
  • Step #2:Interviews with students and teachers to see who is willing to go to our networking event.
  • Step #3: Determine the place and date of the networking event.
  • Step #4:  Elaborate a strong communication strategy to get to as many people as we can from UCU´s environment. 

Strategy #3: OPITI Investigation

After analyzing the landscape Canvas and by doing extensive research among students, we identified that there ́s a lack of content and investigations done by the university. Also, students are not motivated to do research about topics that they are interested with. 

Our challenge: 

How can we motivate students to make their own research and the creation of content related to I&E? 

We came up with the idea that if a student wants to make research related to innovation, can also have the possibility to participate for credits.

OPITI (Opportunities to Incentivate Tremendous Ideas) can be held from March until July, and in that period of time, students interested in developing content that matches to the bases and conditions of the program, can investigate and have an advisor while doing the investigation.

When the deadline finishes (first week of July), students have to handle their investigation, and the assigned jury will have to correct the work done by the student.

Who are our allies? Academic Programs Department, Student Affairs Department, Investigation and Innovation Department, ÍthaKa Center.

We will follow the incoming steps:

  • Step #1: Schedule a meeting with the Dean (Julio Fernández Techera), Vice Dean of Research and Innovation (Daniel Perciante), Centro Ithaka's Director (Magdalena Giuria), Education Department Director (Ana Laura Palombo) and Professor ́s Director (Lorena Estefanell) to ask if the program ́s realization is possible and afterwards coordinate the following steps.

  • Step #2: Structure a list of “compulsory” items that need to be part of the research.

  • Step #3: Develop bases and conditions for OPITI´s program.

  • Step #4: Designate teachers who will be advisor and mentors of the projects.

  • Step #5: Designate faculty members of the juty, to determine if research follows the correct criteria.

  • Step #6: Inform the students about the possibility of participating in the program.

Strategy #4: Entrepreneurs Club in Campus Montevideo.

While finishing week 4 of University Innovation Fellows training, after doing deep research of the university ecosystem, we identified that our team of prefellows was working and developing ideas that tried to satisfy everyone´s needs, rather than working and enhancing with the few people characterized as being change agents.

We know for sure that if this one is enhanced, relationships between all the stakeholders will be long lasting and in return will create a better academic environment. 

Our challenge: 

How might we broaden the quantity of students commited with UCU and activities related to I&E?

The idea is to gather change agents (Fellows, PreFellows, student leaders, students that participated in I&E events) and create a Club that promotes and encourage social interactions between them. A really good aspect to point out, is that there is already an existing Entrepreneurs Club in Campus Punta del Este.

So after talking with the organizers of Punta del Este´s Club, we agreed that in order to strengthen links between campus, we purpose the creation of the club that allows them to gather to talk about development ideas on UCU, participate on UCU events, help with communicating existing and next activities and projects, brainstorming about opportunities to develop and enhance, etc.

Activities held by the club will vary depending on the needs of the students participating, and will help to encourage students sense of belonging with UCU, because their actions will be leaving a lasting footprint in the rest of UCU community.

We will follow the incoming steps: 

  • Step #1:Schedule a meeting with Punta del Este Entrepreneurs Club and coordinate the following steps.
  • Step #2: Create a team of students (fellows and prefellows) that will organize the group.
  • Step #3:Establish objectives and priorities of the Club.
  • Step #4: Spread the word through campus and multiplicate the quantity of students participating in the club. with teachers from different departments in order to determine which would be the best topics to base on.


Stategy #1: Transform the "Co-Work" into a makerspace

Malena and Agustina will lead this project.

After analyzing the landscape canvas, we identified that our university doesn’t have a physical place for the innovation ecosystem.

Our challenge:

How may we create a place exclusively for the innovation ecosystem where I&E is stimulated and encouraged?

Our objective, is to redesign the cowork space so that it becomes a common place to innovate and undertake. In this way we can centralize the I&E in one spot and establish its concept within the university. This co-work would facilitate the promotion of different I&E-related activities and the collaboration among people who are interested in different projects.

Even though this physical place already exists, it isn’t used as a place to collaborate, socialize and stimulate innovation.Instead, most students just go there to study individually for exams. So, how do we change the way in which students use the co-work of Santander?

Our conclusion was that we need a change of approach or, in other words, we should change the way people perceive this place and its purpose. In order to do that,  we are going to promote the Co-work as a place where students can go and start a project, a place to become an entrepreneur and innovator. We want to generate an integrated network in which people can share their knowledge and help each other.

Secondly, we will provide a large variety of materials, both stationery materials such as blackboards, markers, post-it’s, legos and technological devices such as computers, projector, and a lot of plugs (which are really necessary).

We also want to redesign the walls, creating in these areas opportunities to interact with each other.   

1) A brainstorming wall, in which people can write questions, leave messages, ask for advice, etc.

2) A “linking board” in which people can write their name, career, what they can give others (in terms of knowledge), if they need help in a project, and a contact number.

  • Step #1: Talk to Magdalena Giuria, Íthaka’s director, to find out the relation between Santander Bank and the university so as to identify the person in charge of the Co-work.
  • Step #2: Speak with the responsible of the Co-work, show him the prototype and ask him for approval.
  • Step #3: Quote a price for the redesign of the co-work.
  • Step #4: Ask Íthaka and/or Students Affairs for financial support. Negotiate and adapt budget.
  • Step #5: Purchase the items and arrange them in the Co-work.
  • Step #6: Come up with ideas for the promotion of the new space.

Strategy #2: Organizing exisiting I&E activities -Passport to Ithaka-

Maite and Brian will lead this project.

We feel as there is a lack of connection between Íthaka’s mentoring of the project and the process that occurs before it. In other words, we believe that there isn’t enough information on what a student initially needs to do if he/she wants to “emprender”.  íthaka’s mentoring of the project is excellent for a more advanced stage but not for the initial stage. Moreover, UCU offers very good workshops, courses and speeches but there isn’t a common thread that leads the students through all of these.

Our challenge:

How may we link or connect the different I&E activities and offer a more guided process?

The idea is to create a guide for students who want to get involved in the I&E ecosystem but don’t really know how. The guide, called Passport to Íthaka, would present all the I&E activities in which they can participate. These would be organized according to the experience required in “Baby steps activities” and “Nurturing stage activities”. The last-stage activities would be based on the knowledge acquired in the first-stage activities and would have as a final objective the presentation of an innovative idea to Íthaka. The “Passport to Íthaka” would be a website in which students could see all the activities together with theirs descriptions, reviews and dates.

It should be noted that we, the candidates to fellows, would be incharge of keeping up to date, promoting and creating the activities.

  • Step #1: Schedule a meeting with Students Affairs (Martín Pérez) and Íthaka (Magdalena Giuria) to ask for approval.
  • Step #2: Look through all the activities of the UCU and organize them in: “Baby steps activities” and “Nurturing Stage activities”.
  • Step #3: Make a team of advanced Computer Science students to design the website.

Strategy #3: Cross-curricular subject ”Innovate in Your major”

Josefina and Paola will lead this project.

We detected that students are not interested in innovation neither in entrepreneurship.

Our challenge:

How to improve the lack of innovative spirit in the curricular?

The idea is to create an 8 week free-choice elective for all the careers, in order to teach I&E skills through practice and testimonies, and to show students that it’s possible to think of an idea and make it real . Th subject will promote interdisiplinar works, being the first subject which integrates students from every major in one class.

Two professors would teach this subject: one of them would be an I&E professional and the other one would be a different hands-on entrepreneur every week. Each week will focus in a particular area, so that it touches most of the diverse interests of the students.

This course would also include  a project during the last four weeks so that students can learn in a practical way.

  • Step #1: Investigate about MEC (Ministry of education and culture) requirements to implement a new subject.
  • Step #2: Talk with Mónica Arzuaga (vice rector of academic programs) to obtain support and endorse the proposal.
  • Step #3: Determine subject formalities. This includes subject duration, teachers and schedule.
  • Step #4: Organize a meeting inviting Career coordinators, Deans, and Monica Arzuaga to explain how the subject works and its objectives.
  • Step #5: Promote the subject between students exhausting every communication resource.   

Strategy #4: After class Friday meetings

Malena and Brian will lead this project

One of the main problems that we identified is that students don’t feel attracted to participate and engage in the I&E environment.

Our challenge:

How may we encourage first-year students to notice and take advantage of the I&E ecosystem?

Weakly after-class reunions will be our solution.  Students can have dinner and interact with each other through games and challenges related to innovation and creativity.

The dynamics and techniques involved would vary throughout the two first months of every semester. The idea is to promote creativity and lateral thinking through out games, challenges, and other dynamics that will encourage the idea of an innovative community.

Also, differents teachers and students interested in sharing their experiences would be present, answering questions and giving advice.

  • Step #1: Organice a meeting with Magdalena Giuria, Director of Íthaka to get to know some resources needed to innovate and the best ways to promote them.
  • Step #2: Develop a detail plan abuot the meetings, including objectives, activities planned with the information provided by íthaka and personal resources.
  • Step #3: Empatize with first year students to design and define the best way to promote the activity in a creative and effective way.
  • Step #4: Organice a meeting with Martín Pérez, Director of Students Affairs, to present the proyect and endorse the proposal.


Strategic #1: Launch an I&E Fair

One of the opportunities we found at our campus was the lack of I&E culture among students and staff, regarding what it is and what the university has. In response to this, we worked on developing a 3 days long I&E Fair. The fair itself counts on three big sectors:

Starting with who has no clue of this and what is going on at the university, at “Discover and Learn” will be shown all the courses and activities regarding I&E that the university has to offer. Each one with their own stand, and someone to assist who approaches. (“Look all the cool things you can do and learn!”)

For those who already have an idea, but are a little scared on working on it, “Inspiration” stands will show different projects, at different stages, that are being carried out by students, graduates or staff. Some of them giving the possibility for people to join the team if it’s needed. (“We are doing it, so you can do it too!”)

And having in mind the ones who already are thinking of starting with their project, “Support” will have different incubators and support funding stands to bring them closer to a support system, and show them where they can develop their ideas. (“Now if you have a project, we can help you.”)

Every stand must have a playful and interactive side to be more attractive for those whose interest is yet to be awaken. As well as a diversity of disciplines among projects’, and curses’ stands, so everyone can find something interesting for them.

The fair will also have a Collaborative Project Stand, where people can do something (like a drawing for example) that the project needs in order to help them. An Ideas! Wall will also be found, where a problem is proposed (regarding the university) and whoever wants can come up with a solution and add it on a post it note. Likewise, Canti and feedback walls will be held.

At the same time, a cycle of talks will be held on some particular moments. It will count with an inspirational keynote speaker, and some smaller talks that give attendants tools and skills regarding I&E.

The fair itself, along with the talks, will catch people attention by it’s infrastructure (a big tent, music, colour lights…) and the place where they are made. That way, students and staff getting the info about the fair won’t be a major problem.  

  • Select the best date.

Define the curses and activities most relevant for the fair’s Discover and Learn stands.

  • Define the projects that will be shown.
  • Define the speakers and talks.
  • Identify the collaborative project.
  • Find a sponsor cowork (or more than one).
  • Talk with all of them.

Strategic #2:Project-based service learning

Three of the five problems we found on our university that could be identified were the lack of I & E mindset, the university don't teach how to be entrepreneurs but to be employees, and the lack of work between faculties. So, when coming up with ideas and prototyping we get one project that involves a mix of these three problems.

This prototype involves service learning courses where students from all careers create projects to provide better life quality to neighborhoods or villages in vulnerable contexts.

To do this they must learn theory and apply the knowledge from a work of solidarity in a real context, depending on the needs of the community. Its purpose is that the learned contribute to an effective solidarity service. To explain this idea, I base myself on a book called “Manual para docentes y estudiantes solidarios ("Manual for solidarity teachers and students"). Which gave me tools to understand what this type of learning is all about and give my prototype a name.

With this project it is intended that students have a theoretical basis but also apply it to reality in a project that has continuity, that is not deserted and that gives a contribution and real impact for the community.

Therefore, to carry it out, we also need the support of companies that act as sponsors, thereby, it will be possible to obtain resources that without them we would not be able to obtain and therefore the initiation would be deserted since it would not be possible to carry it out in the proper way and have the desired impact.

In addition, the university should provide a physical space for students develop and work on their ideas, for example a co-work. And, provide the theoretical framework and in turn provide tutors to guide the students in the idea, as well as technical assistance from experts such as lawyers, accountants, engineers, etc.

This must necessarily be interdisciplinary, so students of all careers connect and contribute each from their knowledge and discipline. This allows, therefore, that the problem we identified that the university does not work together with all the faculties can be solved as the frame of all this must be from the university and not a specific subject or faculty so that all the university will work together to carry this out, on the other hand, the assistance that is provided to students in their projects comes from different disciplines.

The benefits from the student side is that their academic ability will improve because they will be able to apply what has been learned and become involved with reality, having to think about solutions that improve the quality of people’s life, which also contributes to social awareness and sensitivity.

On the other hand, in terms of E&I, students will be able to be innovative in their solutions and also to create projects that contribute to the purpose of the project, to be creative, to interact with different profiles and the educational community.

From the point of view of companies, being sponsors, will benefit from a marketing strategy, and have contributed to a social project for the benefit of the community improve their position and the image society have about them. Also, to link with the educational community.

And for the benefits from the University, it creates a link with companies, improve the training and capacity of their students, interaction between different faculties, and generates and promotes the I & E culture throughout the university.

  • Define in which institutional framework this course will be developed (If it depends on a vice rectory, department, etc.)
  • Have a bag of companies with which a link is generated and with which they will work as sponsors for the projects.
  • Define the duration time of the course.
  • Define Who dictates the course.
  • Convincing the authorities (vice-rectory, departments, teachers, depending on what frame is made)
  • Define how to find and define the social problems to attend.
  • It defines who will be intermediary between the university and companies, and university-community.
  • Designate a physical space to develop students' ideas.
  • Designate tutors.
  • Define in which academic year it will take place.

Strategic #3:Foster Multidisciplinary work based on the concept “Time Bank” -Canti Cowork

Create a web platform in which students and graduates search for some particular skills for a specific problem they are having. Students or graduates who are interested in solving these problems, can accept the work and contact each other. Based on the concept of "Time Bank", that is a system of social relationship in which time is exchanged for time. On other words, the currency would be the time but in my case the exchange is a service (specific problem of the student / graduated) by time (hours). The accounting of working hours will be handled by a coordinator at Cowork who will be responsible for administrating the working hours of each student who decides to provide a service.

Example of case: A student (Carlos) from Business Administration, needs to create a logo for his / her entrepreneurship. He doesn’t know the tools of Photoshop and Illustrator to design a logo, therefore it will resort to CANTI and will post its specific problem. He will write his name, career, cell phone number and the skills required to solve the problem. Manuel from Communication saw the post and as he met with the requirements, he contacted Carlos and decided to help him. The work Manuel lasted 3 hours. When he finished, he went to Cowork and counted his working hours to the coordinator.

Benefit from Canti:

The hours accumulated by the students can be exchanged in courses, workshops of your choice and credits.

Positive Characteristics:

-It will promote social relations within the Universidad Católica del Uruguay.

-It will create a meeting platform where people will meet and exchange knowledge, skills and experiences covering needs for help and learning.

-Strengthens cooperation and intercultural coexistence by promoting knowledge, interaction and mutual respect.


Universidad Católica del Uruguay has 7 faculties with 35 degrees. There is so much knowledge and variety within the University that I want to promote and advance the crosses between the degrees, through multidisciplinary work.

  • Convincing the authorities (vice-rectorate, departments ) so as to implement the benefits of Canti. Have to get through bureaucracy.
  • Have a web designer make the landing page
  • Designate coordinator
  • Set up a launching date
  • Make noise and publicity about the Canti Cowork
  • Talk with students and encourage them to bring problems  so as to start creating work.

Strategic #4:Mentors community

Even though we identified as a problem the lack of I&E culture or mindset, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that our students in general have that desire that motivates them to improve and to create. There was the missing part of where to dump and express all that creativity. Taking into account all that, we saw the opportunity and came with this prototype of a Community of advanced students (or even recently graduated ones) who can mentor those that don’t necessarily have their entrepreneurial ideas polished enough or need some kind of guidance.
With the help of a council, the community assigns the best mentor for that particular student, so, for example, if the student comes with an idea somewhat around the developing of an app that helps you keep track of the amount of paper you have being waisting and help you reduce it, the council will select a mentor that fits the idea and the student best. In this case, maybe a graduated student of computer engineering with a small app developing company on the making.
The council is also responsible of teaching and providing the tools for the mentors to become better at their jobs. Build the competences needed to mentor, to guide, to lead, and most important, to motivate the student to keep working and developing their ideas.
This whole idea will not only benefit the student but also the mentor. Getting some kind of incentive for their work, the creditable experience of being a mentor of a project, the knowledge acquired through the mentor training…
Working mechanics

Once the student arrives to the community and is assigned a mentor, they get to agree on a work schedule: a number of meetings (depending on the project) in which they will work together on the idea. After that period is finished comes the evaluation: feedback for the student and for the mentor as a form to keep improving in both their roles. There is the possibility to arrange more meetings if it is needed.
When that process is finished, the mentor is free to accompany the student in their journey as an entrepreneur now working with NEXO (the entrepreneurial center in UCU).
How does the student get to know of this community?

We knew the communication of new resources in our university has always being an issue. Billboards, screens, mails… So making sure the teachers know about the existence of this community is crucial. They will be the biggest link between the students and the mentors in the first step of this process.

We also thought of using the existing resource of WebAsignatura, an online platform where all the students of UCU take part. Advertise the community through that, and through the app.

Asuntos estudiantiles, a department focused on students affairs, shall also take part.

The interdisciplinary part of this project is the common work with NEXO. The community and the entrepreneurial center must work together, referring students and shearing progress, to make this whole adventure more enriching.

  • Define in which institute, department of vice rectorate will be in charge of the community.
  • Create the links between departments to make sure this idea works as it is supposed to do, as it is something that crosses all faculties.
  • Define the incentives the mentors will be given (credits, awards/bonuses).
  • Design (or choose) the platform in which the community will be working with.
  • Find possible mentors, train them and make them ready to work with students.
  • Inform teachers about this new resource.
  • Give a speech at Plaza de encuentros presenting the community, have some of the mentors show their enterprises.
  • Encourage students to present ideas, even the craziest ones

Related Links

Universidad Católica del Uruguay Campus Overview

Fall 2017 Fellows

Julieta Caputo

Sofía Muñiz

Manuel Heslop

Victoria Ferrer

Fall 2018 Fellows

Agustina Nacimiento

Brian Lorenzo

Maite Serantes

Malena Chiesa

Maria Josefina Martinez

Paola Cabrera

Fall 2019 Fellows

Gianni Martinelli

Sebastian Wilson

Veronica Sabella

Camila Massa

Juan Manuel Ave

Julieta Mossian

Related links