TSHD Societal Challenge: interview with students | 19-04-2022

TSHD Societal Challenge: interview with students

Published: 19th April 2022 Last updated: 19th April 2022

On the 10th of March, around 100 students participated in the TSHD Societal Challenge. Students worked in multidisciplinary teams, on societal challenges formulated by participating organizations.

The TSHD Societal Challenge educates students to become critical professionals with societal impact. TSHD students gain experience in the professional field trough practical implementation of their academic knowledge and skills. We interviewed one of the student teams who won the societal challenge.

There were four different challenges, provided by different companies and organizations. Anita, Ethel and Ellefleur participated in the TSHD societal challenge for Elisabeth-Tweesteden Hospital (ETZ) and their team won in the category ‘ETZ – Shared decision-making between patient and doctor’. ETZ’s challenge was: "How can we make patients feel responsible for their own medical data?"

The ETZ provides an online portal which allows patients to add to or modify their core medical data.  However, very few patients actually use this functionality even though there is a lot to gain in terms of time efficiency and quality of healthcare.

Students Anita, Ellefleur and Ethel realized that there are many different types of people who are registered at the ETZ, with different levels of health awareness and tech proficiency. They wanted to approach the problem from different angles, specifically from the perspective of five fictional users. The winning team discovered that there are different solutions for the different types of people, and that some solutions need more time than other ones.

This challenge taught me how successful collaborative thinking can be.

Students participated in TSHD Societal Challenge

Why did you participate in the TSHD Societal Challenge?

Anita liked the idea of solving real-world problems by putting a bunch of humanities students in the same room. “I wanted to see just how much we could do in such a short time.” 

“The coming together of varying disciplines and knowledge across different fields added to my eagerness to join as I believe that tackling any problem requires a range of varying perspectives. - Ellefleur

I was interested in seeing how this would apply in a more informal environment that made me want to sign up,” Ellefleur says.

“As a student, I often feel like I live and work in a bit of a bubble, so I tend to feel uncertain about how much of my skills set is applicable and what I should focus on. I feel that these kinds of challenges are a good opportunity for me to get out of this bubble,” Ethel states.

What did you like most about the challenge?

That day, everyone in the room was focused on creating a solution for the same problem. My group members, other teams and also the ETZ representatives. I think I enjoyed the collaborative experience most of all,” Anita says.

Ellefleur says that she learned how to collaborate with team members without prior knowledge of how they approach a problem. “The group dynamic was so effective and united, that the day went by immensely quickly.” Ethel agrees and says that she found herself in a very enjoyable flow the entire day.

What did you learn from this challenge?

Ellefleur says that the TSHD Societal Challenge taught her how successful collaborative thinking can be.

“Having knowledge and resources across different fields and disciplines available to us has opened my eyes to the many different methods to approach a challenge.”

Anita agrees and says that she noticed the importance of understanding the work process the group. “I think our team had a good mix of going with the flow and being able to make decisions.” Ethel: “I think I also learned to be more open to new ideas and challenges during the work process.”

Would you advise other students to participate in this challenge as well? And why?

“Definitely! It may feel a little daunting to sign up for a group challenge where you do not know anyone, but there was a great team building workshop at the kick-off event,” Anita says. Ethel: “There is really nothing to lose. I was a bit anxious about what exactly I would have to do during the challenge and how I would manage with all the unknowns, but it all worked out and in the end I was very happy I decided to join.”

Ellefleur says it’s an experience that may require a leap out of your comfort zone, but ultimately becomes something you end up wanting to do over and over again. “I personally was initially reluctant to join but I’m so glad I pushed myself to do it.”

Societal Challenge 2022