058.003 Engines of Innovation in Research Unlocking the innovative potential of research for PhD students
Diese Lehrveranstaltung ist in allen zugeordneten Curricula Teil der STEOP.
Diese Lehrveranstaltung ist in mindestens einem zugeordneten Curriculum Teil der STEOP.

2024S, VU, 2.0h, 3.0EC


  • Semesterwochenstunden: 2.0
  • ECTS: 3.0
  • Typ: VU Vorlesung mit Übung
  • Format der Abhaltung: Hybrid


Nach positiver Absolvierung der Lehrveranstaltung sind Studierende in der Lage...

After successful completion of the course, students will gain...

Creative confidence

…with tools, techniques and inspiration for an innovative mindset

…to improve their research process

…to make themselves more innovative scholars

…to "unstuck" in times of research blocks

Problem-solving abilities

…reflecting, iterating and tolerating ambiguity

…refining questions, processes, and methods, viewing setbacks as opportunities for further learning

…highlighting the creative process of scholarly research

…combining analytical skills and creative intelligence

Emotional well-being

…being proactive about emotional needs (as it leads to greater productivity)

…creating a social-support network (academic, non-academic)

…creative a supportive, non-judgmental environment

…work in tandems and experience peer-coaching

Inhalt der Lehrveranstaltung

Creativity is the cornerstone of research. Universities as hubs of creativity and agents of change are populated with the smartest minds and have created a culture that encourages the generation of new knowledge. Independently of the field of activity, scholarly work appreciates and rewards novelty and innovation. However, as a PhD student you are rarely taught how to manage your creative process and optimize creativity.

In the context of an increasing workload, prioritizing to publish research results and secure research funding, this course offers you guidance for your creative process by offering concrete tools to gain clarity, be innovative and make progress in your research.

The course is organized in 4 Modules: 

Module 1: Introduction to Innovation

This module aims to introduce you to the innovation ecosystem of TU Wien, the services and support the academic ecosystem offers to tomorrow´s innovators. 


Dr. Birgit Hofreiter
Initiator and Head of the Innovation Incubation Center (i²c), the Competence Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at TU Wien and founder of the TUW i²nkubator.
With a doctorate in Business Informatics, she spent several years at research institutions abroad before accepting an offer from TU Wien in 2011 to develop a qualification program for entrepreneurial education for students and scientists. Within a few years, this resulted in one of the leading university institutions for the promotion of university spin-offs in Europe. Author of numerous scientific papers, member on the steering committee of scientific conferences, active as a national and international reviewer, member of various advisory boards and mentor and coach for start-up projects and qualification programs. 

Dipl. Ing. Alexandra Negoescu

I enjoy working with brilliant scientists and engineers to create disruptive shifts across industries. Over the past years at the TU Wien Innovation Incubation Center, I’ve been focusing on helping TU Wien scientists and engineers assess the business potential of their research projects and, through the incubation program, help them bring their research to society.

Guest speakers:  representatives from the TU Wien RTI departments introducing the support and services offered by their service units. 


Module 2: Unlocking the innovative potential of research  

Science is helping us solve some of the biggest challenges of today, but doing science is hard. The hardest part is that scholars have a perception that doing science is a linear path from identifying a research question to finding the answer, and if one works hard enough, one will eventually arrive at the answer. The reality is that science happens very differently: we get stuck, we take unexpected turns, we get rejected, our experiments fail, and we get scooped. And that is making many researchers miserable. We know that innovative research requires that we cross the boundary of known and unknown, which means going through an unexpected and often uncomfortable and ambiguous path.

 We know from neuropsychology and evolutionary biology that when feeling fear and despair our mind narrows down to safe and conservative ways of thinking. And it is almost impossible to produce innovative research in those states. To discover something really new, we need emotions of excitement and hope but also solidarity and support.

In our lecture, we will complement analytical skills with creative problem-finding and problem-solving abilities to make sure you can face the unknown, manage yourself, and cultivate a reflective practice to build resilience. We will help you learn from failure without feelings of shame and guilt, encourage you to be playful and have fun while exploring your research, and learn how to embrace and navigate the ambiguity that is inherent to innovative projects.


This is a highly experiential workshop with short lectures, interactive exercises, personal experiments and reflective practice that helps you internalize the learnings.


Prof. Anja Svetina Nabergoj teaches user-centered innovation methods. In her programs, she focuses on building creative mindsets, problem finding that is rooted in empathy and qualitative research with users as well as concept development techniques like brainstorming, prototyping and user testing. She helps build internal competence and empower teams to start an ongoing user-centered innovation effort. For the last 12 years she has been developing pedagogy at Stanford University for teaching innovation process and nurturing creative mindsets to management and senior leaders from leading global companies. The programs aim to inspire and drive organizational change that is focused on the consumer, help leaders understand the delicate balance between exploration and exploitation, and empower them to start the innovation transformation journey in their company. 

Prof. Svetina Nabergoj works at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University, where she teaches Executive Education programs and graduate classes including Creative Cultures in Organizations and Organizational Psychology of Design Thinking. She is an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Ljubljana and also co-teaches courses at Trinity College in Boston and at the Kyoto Institute of Technology. Her teaching approach is based on the most recent findings from leading neuroscientists, psychologists and anthropologists with the goal to inspire leaders to change their behaviors and mindsets and create work environments that are more conducive to innovation. Some of the behavior changes include embracing risk and learning from failure, engaging radically diverse project teams and helping employees embrace ambiguity; an essential part of creative problem. Prof. Svetina Nabergoj is a founding member of Research as Design team at Stanford University, which developed the curriculum for applying design thinking to scientific and scholarly research. She has been working with leading scientists from various fields of academia and mapped their creative process behind breakthrough innovative scientific research. She translated it into learning experiences for PhD students, post docs and young scientists. Their work has been published as a book titled Creativity in Research by Cambridge University Press. More about the book and their programs at: https://www.creativityinresearch.org

Prof. Svetina Nabergoj is also on the Advisory Board of The Stanford Catalyst for Collaborative Solutions, which is a new initiative with a bold mission to create an open space to explore uncommon interdisciplinary solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.


Module 3: Innovation and Commercialisation of Innovative Technologies

 In this module, we will dive into the topics of innovation and technological development processes. As we deal with innovation in general and its most common forms in academic and private organizations, we will also cover the aspects of commercialisation of inventions and the technological maturity. This course will offer a basic understanding and an operative knowledge of most common concepts in this area, including the differences between inventions, innovations and technologies; incremental and disruptive innovation; open innovation; commercial strategies; and innovation management.

Basic concepts will be presented and explained by the lecturer, while practical importance of those concepts will be discussed and analysed in the class based on the selected use cases. Students understanding and application of the teaching materials will be evaluated based on the participation in the class and a short essay on the topic.


Dr. Slaven Stekovic, MBA is a serial entrepreneur, scientist and book author in the areas of longevity, robotics, AI drug discovery and age-related diseases. He has founded several successful companies and is serving on the boards of multiple organizations in the areas of life science, education, chemical engineering, construction materials and consumer products. Slaven is an active business angel and venture capitalist focusing on IP-heavy, early-stage companies in the UK, Austria and the Balkans. He holds degrees from the University of Graz and the University of Cambridge and has been teaching at multiple European universities for almost a decade.

Guest speakers:  representatives from the Austrian Patent Office


Module 4: Ethics and Leadership

This module aims to build the skill set needed to tackle complex challenges from a leadership perspective. What does leadership mean? How do I lead? What does inclusive decision making is and how to facilitate it. 


Marjo Rauhala (PhD, MSSc, BA) is the research ethics coordinator at TU Wien and responsible for establishing the research ethics advisory and review procedures for the entire university. With a background in philosophical and biomedical ethics and social sciences, Marjo Rauhala has broad experience in the field of research ethics. This experience encompasses academic research, ethics management and advisory tasks in engineering projects, as well as ethics review in the research funding programs of the European Union. Since FP7, Marjo Rauhala participates in the European Commission’s working groups on ethics guidance and expert panels in ethics screening, review and check/follow-up of European funded research for the European Commission’s Ethics and Integrity Sector and the European Research Council.

Mag. Dr. Lisa Sigl is working as Senior Lecturer at the Service Unit of Responsible Research Practices. Amongst others, she is developing courses and workshop series for PhD and Master programs and train-the-trainer possibilities, using a range of interactive tools (like card-based discussion formats) and case-based learning. She is experienced in teaching and empirical research in Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), with a particular interest in the potential of inter- and transdisciplinary research and the role of research in solving societal and environmental problems.

Zuzana Hajickova is a business psychologist with three Master’s degrees in (1) social and organizational psychology, (2) creativity & talent development, and (3) an Honours Master’s in Leadership. Currently, she is working as a Future Work Consultant at a major telecommunications provider in Switzerland (Swisscom AG). Together with Kerrin, she helps to transform groups into inclusive, happy, and effective teams by the means of coaching, training, and various tools of change management.

Kerrin Weiss is a PhD candidate and lecturer at ETH Zürich. At ETH she aims at improving medical education with technology and teaches how to coach innovation projects. She has collaboratively built multiple organizations running on intrinsic motivation and leads projects up to 500 people. Together with Zuzi she coaches leaders, facilitates skills workshops, and holds trainings that focus on fostering psychological safety.



Participants will explore a variety of design skills and mindsets, but focus especially on how being mindful of your own research process, work styles, emotional state, and sometimes-hidden assumptions can help you get "unstuck" when facing research bumps in the road. The instructors seek to help participants to explore potential solutions to problems in their research efforts.

The course will mix theoretical input with hands on exercises and experiences as well as group discussions. In addition, the attendees will learn about effective tools underpinned by a proven blueprint for practical work on innovation. The students will reconsider his or her own personal approach of being an effective leader of innovation activities and develop an own individual roadmap for implementing innovations.



Weitere Informationen

***ECTS Breakdown***

3 ECTS = 75 hours

45       Lectures (prüfungsimmanent)
30       Individual and group exercises

Vortragende Personen


LVA Termine

Do.09:00 - 10:3007.03.2024Seminarraum CHEG - ETIT Introduction to the Course
Mi.15:00 - 17:0013.03.2024Seminarraum FAV 05 (Seminarraum 186) Introduction to the TU Wien Ecosystem
Fr.10:00 - 12:0019.04.2024 Zoom link will be provided (LIVE)Creativity in Research
Do.09:00 - 17:0025.04.2024Seminarraum CHEG - ETIT Creativity in Research
Fr.09:00 - 17:0026.04.2024Seminarraum CHEG - ETIT Creativity in Research
Mo.13:00 - 16:0006.05.2024 zoom link will be providedCreativity in Research
Di.13:00 - 16:0014.05.2024 zoom link will be providedCreativity in Research
Mi.09:00 - 13:0029.05.2024Seminarraum CHEG - ETIT Innovation and evaluating the commercial potential of innovative technologies
Di.09:00 - 13:0004.06.2024Seminarraum 362 - 1 Building the toolset of a high performer
Fr.09:00 - 10:0007.06.2024 zoom link will be provided in TUWEL (LIVE)Open Innovation - Guest Lecture
Do.09:00 - 12:0013.06.2024Seminarraum 362 - 1 Ethics in Research
Di.13:00 - 17:0025.06.2024Seminarraum CHEG - ETIT IP Protection - Guest Lecture Austrian Patent Office


Continuous assessment

- Attendance and active participation at lectures
- Group work and presentation of results
- Individual work and presentation of results
- Exam


Von Bis Abmeldung bis
22.02.2024 09:00 06.03.2024 23:59 08.03.2024 23:59


066 445 Maschinenbau Keine Angabe
TRS Transferable Skills Keine Angabe


Es wird kein Skriptum zur Lehrveranstaltung angeboten.

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