Assistant Professor at DTU Skylab, Technical University of Denmark.
Dagny Valgeirsdottir is an assistant professor at DTU Skylab, the innovation hub of the Technical University of Denmark. Dagny conducts her work under the programme initiative “Technology Leaving No One Behind” where she challenges engineering students to develop sustainable solutions with an inclusive mindset. The ambitious principle goal of the work is to implement an inclusive mindset across study lines at DTU, in line with the strategy of the university “Technology for people”. In addition to contributing to diverse courses and programmes at the university, Dagny is responsible for teaching a course called “Staging co-creation and creativity” where she implements the inclusive mindset through case work and teaching methods, as co-creation is ultimately an inclusive practice. A substantial collection of methods supporting the work has furthermore been developed in collaboration with students and other colleagues to promote inclusion and creativity.
3 questions to Dagny Valgeirsdottir
What do you appreciate most about working at your university and/or your department?
The thing that motivates me the most in my work is the interaction with students and the impact we as an educational institution can have on the next generation of engineers. No matter whether it is through curricular activities such as my own “Staging co-creation and creativity” course, or the new course for all master students “Innovation in Engineering” – or through extracurricular activities in Skylab or across DTU such as Open Innovation or Diversity day – the fact that I get to interact with all of these bright minds just inspires me to no end.
Therefore, I am very thankful to be based in the innovation hub of DTU, which is such a vibrant environment, bursting with new start-ups, projects and events all year round.
What project or endeavour are you looking forward to?
I look forward to continuing the important work of advocating for social sustainability and equality through applying the principles of universal design to develop inclusive innovations. The student population is eager to broaden their perspectives and work on creating a change in society and it is incredible to be part of that work. Especially when we are able to establish collaborations between our students and users great things happen, as we really strive to develop solutions for people, with people – to design for real users instead of ideal users.
About which topic could you talk for hours?
At the beginning of my academic career, I spent three years in a “PhD bubble” where I was able to take a deep dive into the research field of creativity in innovation and design. The end result was my dissertation called “Enhancing Creativity” and a training programme for innovation practitioners to enhance their creative potential. This I could talk about forever, and in fact, it remains the core of all of my work. In co-creation, students apply their creative skills in a collaborative environment with users and other stakeholders, and universal design and inclusion add an extra layer around that to ensure that creativity is not inhibited or misguided by inherent biases we all possess.