or why integrated cross-disciplinary collaboration should start at educational level.

7 April 2020
TRIAXES Ens students 2019-2020
TRIAXES Ens students 2019-2020 © Alexandra Bertels

While in large companies it is often common practice for different departments and disciplines to collaborate to design and develop products, start-ups and SMEs often have neither the resources nor the expertise to do so. Our TRIAXES programme responds to this need by offering a team of 3 (or sometimes 4) experts to assist innovative and sustainable projects during their R&D phase. But why not start at an even earlier stage, and stimulate students towards that work methodology before they enter the professional field? This is the reason behind the Master`s programme TRIAXES Ens (from the French `Enseignement`, meaning education). 


4 institutions

8 teachers

27 projects since 2013

90 students guided since 2013

A multi-faceted collaboration  

Collaboration is key, in all the TRIAXES programmes. TRIAXES Ens was therefore created through a unique Brussels-based cross-institutional reflection and is aimed at cross-disciplinary project collaboration by students. It was notably La Cambre - École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels, Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, Faculté Droit & Criminologie - ULB and École polytechnique de Bruxelles - ULB) that joined forces in 2013 and have been providing this one-of-a-kind opportunity for their students ever since.

“The idea was to create an interfaculty master module for MA2 students combining the following features: multidisciplinarity, entrepreneurship, product development, teamwork and project-based learning.” Raoul Sommeillier, TRIAXES Ens coordinator and Ohme Academia director

Each course year, multiple groups of four students each (from Industrial Design, Business Management, Law and Civil Engineering) are matched and challenged to collaborate closely, get to know each other`s disciplines as much as possible, and  translate a product idea into an industrial prototype, including a solid business plan, an intellectual property strategy and detailed technical and design details. Throughout the course curriculum they are guided by professors and experts (often alumni of the programme), while the final result is presented to an external professional jury at MAD in March.

I particularly enjoyed working with students from other faculties because their ways of thinking, functioning, and organizing were very different from mine. Moreover, I was able to participate in the tasks of the other three disciplines such as, for example, doing prior art searches to determine the patentability of the product or participating in the design of cardboard models.” Elisa D'Alimonte, Business Management student

What really bonded us in our collaboration was the fact that we had a common goal and that for each of us it was the first time we were really led to do "group work" that we had intentionally chosen.” Yamen Midani, Law student


TRIAXES Ens jury 2020

Young entrepeneurs of tomorrow

All Master’s 2 students from the four faculties are invited to participate by applying to an open call. After that they take part in a kick-off day with different ice-breaking and speed-dating activities so that they can meet, exchange views and learn about each other. Finally, the teams are formed according to different methods and criteria, such as their motivation and experience.

Finding a common language and an effective work dynamic can be challenging, as Raoul (TRIAXES Ens coordinator) explains: “The students have to (re)learn how to mutually understand each other and to express their concerns, knowledge, thought patterns and points of view in an accessible way. Gradually, they build together their own working environment and tools to communicate better, understand their team members and make decisions together. In brief, they learn quickly and intensely… and it’s wonderful to observe.

As the students will likely have to work in multidisciplinary teams in their future jobs, knowing which aspects from other professions come into play and at what point during the development of a product is an enormous added value. So already having had this experience during their studies offers great advantages.

“I’m thinking about starting my own business in the near future. TRIAXES Ens, being an entrepreneurial project, has obviously contributed to developing my entrepreneurial skills.“ Elisa D'Alimonte, Business Management student


Innovative projects

The professors, and eventually the jury, require a professional attitude and considerable personal investment from the students. As they are aiming for quality, the expectations are high. And the student’s mindset plays a major role; it is remarkable that the quality and potential of their final product often reflects the quality and potential of their collaboration. The better the flow within the team, the stronger the end result.

For the student’s final product and prototypes, Thomas Vancraeynest (TRIAXES industrial design expert and jury member) claims to pay extra attention - along with presentation skills and group involvement - to the coherence of the object in relation to the identified problem. The solution has to bring real added value in terms of use and has to be a relevant reflection on the societal and environmental aspects.

“In general, I advise students to be observative and analytical, to have a positive and collaborative attitude and to have the ambition to specialize in a sector.” Thomas Vancraeynest, TRIAXES industrial design expert and jury member

The winning project of the last TRIAXES Ens jury in March met these requirements. Wheely is an ergonomic medicine box that addresses three main problems that semi-independent elderly people face when taking medication, thanks to the following features: a unique medication dispenser to avoid errors of taking medication at the wrong time, a visual and audible reminder system to prevent forgetfulness, and a cup to make it easier to take medicines. Moreover, the product had an appealing design and was very professionally presented by the winning team: Elisa D'Alimonte (Business Management), Thibault Baes (Industrial Design), Leonardo Casini (Civil Engineering) and Yamen Midani (Law). Congrats!

Advanced Masters Programme

When the initiators first started the educational programme in 2013, their intention was to test the methodology at educational level. Today, thanks to its proven record of excellence and success stories from alumni, the ambition is to take the collaboration to the next level.

With a new Advanced Masters Programme based on TRIAXES’ methodology, the same institutions will jointly deliver this intense programme aimed at professionals. Employees from the same organization are invited to participate, and will be guided by the professors that have built concrete knowledge through their experience with TRIAXES Ens.

“It’s quite challenging to set up this Masters because every institution has its own way of working. However, all involved parties have shown motivation and confidence in the new offer.” Sandra Coumans, TRIAXES Responsible for Partnerships

Sandra Coumans from MAD, who is currently setting up the Master together with Raoul Sommeillier (Ohme), explains its difference compared to the other TRIAXES accompaniment-strands (Pro and Mode): “This Master is specifically addressed at teams working better together and building better products and services within a single organisation. While within TRIAXES Pro and Mode different experts from different organisations collaborate to guide an entrepreneur, SME or start-up, here different people from one (larger) company or organisation will be trained to apply the TRIAXES methodology within the existing structure.”

More info on the Advanced Master`s programme soon!

Winning team TRIAXES Ens 2020: Leonardo Casini, Thibault Baes, Elisa  D'Alimonte and Yamen Midan  © Alexandra Bertels
TRIAXES Ens jury 2020   © Alexandra Bertels
TRIAXES Ens jury 2020   © Alexandra Bertels
TRIAXES Ens jury 2020   © Alexandra Bertels


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The program is funded by the ERDF, RBC and Innoviris.