The digital sprint

In early February Professor Steve Muylle organised a “digital sprint” course for the first time. Over the space of a week he created a digital ecosystem in which all the roles were flipped: not just for Masters in International Management & Strategy and Masters in General Management students and himself, but also for our partners BNP Paribas Fortis, Hello bank! and Accenture. Students became business strategists; partners gained new insight, into both their clients and themselves. Learning innovation, the Vlerick way.

Digital Sprint infographic“60 pairs of fresh eyes”

"Rather than teaching a course on digital strategy in a traditional classroom set-up and have the students work out some case studies or write up a paper, I reached out to our corporate partners BNP Paribas Fortis and Accenture to set up this digital sprint, which provided maximum win-win for everyone involved,” explains Steve Muylle, Professor of Marketing & Digital Strategy.

Two partners

“Michael Anseeuw, Head of Retail Banking at BNP Paribas Fortis, didn’t hesitate when I asked,” Steve recalls. “He talked to his two colleagues, Leen Teunen from the Easy Banking Centre and Maarten Verboven from Hello bank!, and they came up with two assignments each for our Masters students in International Management & Strategy and in General Management to work on. Sixty pairs of fresh eyes were divided into twelve groups of five, so every assignment was looked into by three groups of five.

“In the meantime I contacted Wim Decraene, Managing Director of Accenture Digital BeLux, who was keen on the idea of helping the students out with a team of four seasoned consultants specialising in financial services and digital. Each of them freed up three hours in their schedule to support the student teams working on one of the assignments.”

Actionable proposals

Steve himself was of course available during the whole week. “I had short sessions with each group to answer questions and see how the projects were progressing. The feedback and coaching from the partners and myself was intended to enhance the quality of the projects presented at the end of the week. The students are assessed not only on the way they present, take questions and support their analysis with facts and figures. The key question for the bank is: how actionable is this idea? Can we turn this at some point into a minimum viable product?

Strategic pillar

“This digital sprint is an experiment in learning innovation, one of the strategic pillars for which the School is freeing up the requisite resources: we have a Vlerick Learning Innovation Centre and, true to our entrepreneurial spirit, faculty members can rethink their courses digitally by making use of our studio on the Ghent campus.

“How can we replace traditional knowledge-sharing in the classroom with actionable cross-fertilisation within our ecosystem?”

“When we look at disruptive innovations in the learning ecosystem, we consider traditional competitors like Harvard and new players like Google and Coursera. But we also look at our own DNA. The crucial question for us is then: how can we embed these technologies to offer an enriched experience to both our students and our partners? How can we replace traditional knowledge-sharing in the classroom with actionable cross-fertilisation within our ecosystem? It certainly is reinventing our DNA to some extent.”


Digital Sprint magazine