TU/e innovation Space CBL Toolkit

Innovation space project: innovation and entrepreneurship processes

In this course offered by innovation Space, students undertake open-ended, challenge-based projects to enhance engineering design skills and key competencies. Students take ownership of the project and work independently, receiving support through coaching, feedback sessions, workshops, and field trips.


N. M. J. M. Kerstens,

G. Guri,

A. R. Wetters,

C. A. Apon,

I. M. M. J. Reymen

Academic level



Coaches, student assistants, external stakeholders (business and societal organizations), course coordinators, challenge owners.


Open to all disciplines within TU/e.


Challenges are from different challenge owners, so every challenge has its own resources.

What makes innovation Space Project: innovation and entrepreneurship processes a great example of CBL? Find out in the sections below. Learn more about this course on the official page.


After this course, students should be able to deliver a crucial contribution to: 


  • Select and apply appropriate design, engineering and business approaches and tools to create an innovative and science-based solution to a real-life challenge. 


  • Develop a profound interpretation of a highly complex, real-life problem and the systems around it; 
  • Consider the societal impact, customer desirability, technical feasibility, business viability, and legal feasibility perspective. 


  • Develop a problem-driven, creative and integrative design, resulting in an original and validated prototype that balances desirability, feasibility and viability. 


  • Identify, envision and promote the role and contributions of engineering disciplines in solving problems in business, industrial and societal environments; 
  • Integrate those diverse contributions in the form of a validated prototype. 

Skills and behavior: 

  • Develop leadership and project management skills to organize and perform an interdisciplinary, hands on, and team-based engineering design and/or business development project; 
  • Communicate a message at different levels of elaboration to all kinds of relevant parties, orally and in writing; 
  • Work independently, be pro-active, develop entrepreneurial mindset. 

Personal and team development: 

  • Define and regularly reflect on personal and team development goals. 


The setup of this course consists of two quartiles that students have to complete in sequence and that are both mandatory. 

This course aims to develop competencies (i.e., teamwork, leadership, problem solving, decision making, responsibility, etc.) of future engineers by identifying solutions thanks to challenge-based entrepreneurship applied in a set of interdisciplinary student teams, working on open-ended assignments in close interaction with high-tech companies and societal organizations. It combines the design and engineering of a product/service/system and new business development. 

The course involves no lectures, but studio style group work, self-study and personal and team development. Several workshops are offered, either online or offline. Students are in the lead of their own learning processes.

The course consists of a large integrative project in which in-depth engineering design skills are developed and previously acquired knowledge and expertise are actively shared with students from different backgrounds. A systems approach, observing the complete system rather than a specific component, is stimulated. The students are encouraged to acquire new knowledge and skills in a hands-on approach during the process of identifying a multi-dimension solution to the challenge.

The challenges are business and societal challenges that are sufficiently open, complex, and innovative to demand interdisciplinary collaboration among students. Challenges are offered in collaboration with TU/e innovation Space. Companies, governments, institutes and society are involved as much as possible. An overview of the current challenges can be found in the education guide.

During the interactive Kickoff workshop, the students will meet the challenge-owners and listen to their pitches. Based on their challenge preferences, interdisciplinary teams are formed in close collaboration with the course coordinator and the coach. During the project, students will interact with the relevant stakeholders to present them with real life problems and creatively develop solutions. Interaction with business and societal organizations will be an important element of this course, in addition to involving real users. 

The project includes defining and refining (i.e. co-evolution of) a problem and ideas for a solution simultaneously and iteratively through analysis, synthesis and reflection processes. Great attention is given to iterative experimentation of ideas through visualization, validation, prototyping, and testing until a feasible problem-solution fit emerges. This means that students go out of the classroom and talk to experts, potential clients and end users as part of the validation. 

Students reflect weekly on their developments in a leaderboard approach including a content-wise (progress on the project) and social-wise (team/cohort building) perspective. The teams present and discuss their weekly results (progress pitch) and get feedback from peers and the coaches. In coaching sessions, teams get also individual feedback to help students steering and structuring their own development and achievements.


  • Students participate in an introduction Kick-off; 
  • students present their work in the midterm and final presentations; 
  • students participate in workshops;
  • students participate in feedback sessions with peers and coaches; 
  • students interview external parties. 



Students are assessed on individual reflections on two different parts: Team assessment, and Individual reflection on learning objectives. Team assessment includes a report, prototype, pitch, stakeholder management, and exit strategy on the challenge the team evaluation (by lecturer and peers). Each of these parts has an interim review. Team deliverables are 70%, while Individual reflection is 30% of the final grade. 

Students also get continuous feedback while being coached both individually and on a group level during the course. This does not contribute to their final grade but helps them improve and prepare for the Team assessment and Individual reflection on learning objectives. 


There are teacher meetings at which they evaluate, and questionnaires for students to fill out. 

Hey, this Chiara, Education Designer at TU/e innovation Space. How can I help you?

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