TU Dublin Contributors: Niamh O’Hora, Mark Shiels, Dr. Kevin Dominic Delaney

Mark Fowler (Strategy Innovation and Transformation, ESB), Siobhan Coughlan (Customer Solutions, Electric Ireland), Mark Shiels (TU Dublin) and Creative Digital Media year 4 students.


The Enterprise Challenge is a 5 ECTS elective module where TU Dublin students work in multi-disciplinary teams to tackle a challenge or problem posed by an enterprise or civic partner.  Using a design thinking approach, teams follow an end-to-end innovation lifecycle over a 10-12 week period.

Creative Digital Media students from TU Dublin’s Blanchardstown campus successfully tackled an enterprise challenge sponsored by Ireland’s foremost energy provider, ESB. With expert guidance from mentors at ESB and employing a design thinking approach, they responded to complex, global energy consumption problems. Their mission was clear: to develop innovative solutions aligned with ESB’s Net Zero by 2040 strategy and the UN’s Affordable and Clean Energy sustainable development goal.

Enterprise Challenge Format

Week 1: Introduction to the Challenge

ESB project sponsors presented the sustainable challenge and provided context to student teams.

Weeks 2-5: Customer-focused Research

Student teams conducted research with energy consumers, exploring their energy habits and digital engagement preferences.

Week 6: Presentation of Research Insights

Student teams present key research findings and most significant consumer problems with ESB mentors.

Weeks 7-8: Problem Definition and Ideation

Student teams prioritised problems and employed ideation techniques to generate and evaluate multiple potential solutions.

Weeks 9-10: Prioritisation and Prototyping

Student teams narrowed focus attention on one solution and developed further in a prototype solution.

Weeks 10-11: Evaluation and Iteration

Solutions were evaluated with energy consumers, with continuous improvement based on feedback received.

Week 12: Pitching Completed Solutions

Student teams pitch their completed solutions to the ESB team, showcasing their innovation, problem-solving abilities and creativity.

Mark Fowler
Strategy Innovation and Transformation, ESB

Project Sponsor Perspective

“ESB’s ongoing engagement in enterprise challenges with universities benefits both students and sponsors. Students bring fresh ideas and perspectives to tackle complex organisational issues, fostering valuable partnerships between academia and industry. The use of design thinking encourages creativity and collaboration, with a focus on human-centered research and diverse ideation and problem-solving approaches.

By tackling broader challenges, we reduce the need for internal specialised data, simplifying student engagement within short innovation cycles. ESB gains access to valuable customer insights and innovative ideas, complementing its ongoing approach to problem-solving and innovation.”

Student Experience & Outputs

By partnering with an enterprise sponsor, student teams received guidance and feedback, with the potential for solutions to impact global sustainability problems. Feedback surveys indicated that students enjoyed the creative freedom, collaborating with a real client, and contributing to a meaningful cause. Many communicated confidence boost, feeling heard and respected by ESB – a sentiment crucial as they transition into their professional careers.

I liked working with a real client, and felt like I was being listened to by ESB

I like the freedom we had for creative ideas

It gives people the chance to choose what route they wanted to take their project

Enterprise Challenge Pillar Elective Module

In conjunction with the Enterprise Academy, the Global School of Business and the School of Media, the multi-disciplinary 5 ECTS Enterprise Challenge elective module is open to second to fourth-year undergraduate, international, Erasmus, and postgraduate students at TU Dublin.

For more information, visit TU Dublin Enterprise Challenge, contact Niamh O’Hora niamh.ohora(@)tudublin.ie or Kevin Delaney at Kevin.delaney(@)tudublin.ie, or register your interest as a project sponsor: