12 June 2024

Future digital cities and municipalities face several challenges. How can they deliver socially beneficial information when digital development is faster than ever, and the audience is overrun with a continuous, constant flow of information?

ECIU University Creathon 2024
ECIU University Creathon 2024. Photo: David Brohede
Additionally, younger people consume information through various digital platforms/social media, have shorter attention spans, and prefer information presented in ways they can listen to and watch.
This was the focus of the ECIU University Creathon over three days in mid-May 2024.

ECIU University Creathon 2024.
ECIU University Creathon 2024. Photo: David Brohede
About 45 eager Swedish and European students from the 13 member universities within the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU), of which Linköping University (LiU) is a member, participated in the event. The municipalities of Linköping and Enschede in the Netherlands had jointly identified two different challenges for the students to focus on, offering suggestions on how they could be resolved or improved. Both challenges revolved around how municipalities can effectively communicate community and crisis information to their residents, a growing problem observed by both Linköping and Enschede.

Collaborating to develop solutions

Students formed various working groups of about five people, with many coming from different backgrounds and studying different higher education programs. They chose which challenge to concentrate on and over three days developed a proposal they presented to a jury. They also had the opportunity to attend various lectures on topics such as pitch training, starting a business, a solution-oriented model called NABC, and participated in several social activities in the evenings.
ECIU University Creathon 2024.
ECIU University Creathon 2024. Photo: David Brohede

Paul Khalifeh, a student from the University of Trento in Italy, shared that what he appreciated about this Creathon was tackling a challenge without knowing too much beforehand.
- It was challenging to work with people from different backgrounds, but when you start to develop a solution, it’s like a reward.

Susanne Fuentes Bongenaar, a student from the University of Twente in the Netherlands, said it was educational to experience a new university that offers ideas on how to develop your city and use innovations that currently don't exist.
- You compare a lot when you come to another university, and the innovations in Linköping are original and interesting. There's a lot of inspiration I can use now when I return to my university and the projects I'm involved in.

LiU students can participate during their studies

ECIU University offers LiU students the opportunity to experience a new way of thinking and learning through challenge-based learning. Students can choose from various challenges or shorter courses, which take place either digitally, on-site, or a combination of both. Many of the challenges or shorter courses last fewer than five days, making them easy to participate in, with the advantage that they can be completed at any time during their studies at LiU.
Students can also receive a scholarship if they need to travel through the European Erasmus+ program.

This was the first time Linköping University hosted an event like this within ECIU University, but it has sparked further interest and is an innovative way to develop solutions to common problems.

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