Sandbox is a digital product innovation programme for master’s students. Within the programme, the students have a unique opportunity to engage in real-life challenges of companies, enhancing professional skills and delivering value at the same time. The students collaborate directly with partner companies to generate innovative ideas, as well as prototype and validate digital products. The programme was initiated in order to develop and improve design thinking and product management at the University of Tartu. With these skills enhanced within the programme, future specialists will lead successful product management projects in Estonian companies.
The development of the Sandbox programme was started in 2018 when a specialisation module was created in collaboration with product managers from several Estonian companies. They still contribute to the programme by teaching as visiting lecturers. HITSA supported the development of the programme within the framework of its project “Product Design and Management Specialisation Module Development in the Institute of Computer Science of University of Tartu”.
The Sandbox programme provides opportunities for:
The Digital Product Design Management Module (30 ECTS) consists of six courses of which two (Digital Product Design Introductory Project and Digital Product Management Industry Project) are carried out in the form of problem-based learning i.e. by finding and resolving real-life problems.
Course code: LTAT.05.011
Amount of credits: 3 ECTSThe focus of this course is to allow students to get first-hand experience of conducting a product management project, understanding the complexities of such projects and to prepare them for the remainder of the master module through a near real-life experience. Topics covered by the course include: problem analysis and market research; product ideation and vision; product strategy and metrics; sketching and prototyping; project presentation.
Course code: MTAT.03.325
Amount of credits: 6 ECTSThis course introduces a range of methods for managing software products. The course covers the entire life-cycle of software products, from identifying customer needs, the validation of initial ideas, the design of a financially viable business model, to the planning, release and ongoing management of software products. The course introduces techniques for business model generation, business case analysis, prioritisation, product "road-mapping" and software release planning.
Course code: LTAT.05.018
Amount of credits: 6 ECTSThis course focuses on practical experience and finding the right product vision and strategy by enhancing the knowledge acquired in the Digital Product Management course. The course also introduces different marketing strategies that cover topics such as product marketing, market and competition analysis, pricing and marketing channels.
Course code: LTAT.05.007
Amount of credits: 6 ECTSThis course will introduce students to the fundamentals of Human Computer Interaction with a focus on identifying and deploying methods for interface and experience design, development and evaluation. It will also provide them with an insight into topics beyond traditional desktop interfaces.
Course code: LTAT.05.012
Amount of credits: 3 ECTSThe aim of this course is to give students an overview of different ways and practical challenges of software product management based on examples from different types of software development companies.
Course code: LTAT.05.019
Amount of credits: 6 ECTSThis course allows students to apply the knowledge gained during the specialisation module in real-life projects provided by industry partners.
Digital Product Management Industry Project
Within the framework of the Industry Project, interdisciplinary teams of master’s students are formed and provided with an initial task by their partner companies in order to find solutions to some pressing or strategic challenges. The validation of a problem and possible prototyping of a solution allows students to implement the knowledge they have acquired within the Specialisation Module in a real-life project. Partner companies will participate actively in the project discussions resulting in innovative ideas that the students provide for resolving problematic issues, prototyping and testing.
The Digital Product Management Industry Project is characterised by:
At the beginning of 2020, a 300 square meter Sandbox space that offers diverse and creative study and work environment will be opened at the Delta Centre of the University of Tartu. Sandbox has been created to facilitate innovation by co-creation and a sense of community between students who participate in business collaboration projects. The aim of Sandbox space and innovation programme is to inspire students to generate and test their ideas in a supportive environment where making mistakes is not considered a failure but a step towards innovative solutions.
Partner companies who have participated in the Sandbox programme:
Design Factory Global Network
Since 2018, Sandbox is a member of Design Factory Global Network (DFGN). DFGN is a global network of innovation hubs in universities and research organisations, which aims to create change in the world of learning and research through passion-based culture and effective problem solving. All the members of the DFGN focus in their actions on the local community as well as international co-operation, which provides students with the opportunity to participate in global design and product development projects. DFGN as a community is first and foremost a shared understanding of how to spark and support innovation.