Research Papers

Document Type

Conference Paper


The rapid and exponential changes in our world require the education of engineers who can develop solutions to future and long-term challenges such as climate change. Exploration and innovation methodologies such as Futures Thinking and Moonshot Thinking have the potential to equip engineering students with useful tools and skills to build sustainable futures. To this end, the InnoEnergy MSc Energy for Smart Cities programme at BarcelonaTech (UPC) has developed a challenge-based learning (CBL) course that applies moonshot thinking to tackle major energy problems. This paper presents the methodology refined over three years of implementing the CBL course with second-year Masters's students in Energy Engineering. The course begins by constructing a narrative working future using exploratory tools from the Futures Thinking methodology. Breakthrough technologies are introduced, and their disruptive potential is analysed. Students then define a long-term sustainability and energy problem and use various ideation methodologies to develop a solution. Using technologies such as 3D printing, artificial intelligence and open-source electronic prototyping platforms such as Arduino, they build a minimum viable product (MVP) and develop a business model. Finally, using an agile approach, students must design future iterations and analyse the potential exploitation of their solution. This subject equips students with the necessary skills to address complex energy and sustainability challenges, and the course has proven effective in preparing students to apply their knowledge in practical, real-world settings.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.