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Tech Challenge

Module WI001180

This Module is offered by Chair of Entrepreneurship (Prof. Patzelt).

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Basic Information

WI001180 is a semester module in English language at Master’s level which is offered irregularly.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Catalogue of soft-skill courses
Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
180 h 60 h 6 CP

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


- Kick-off: Introduction to challenges, resources, objectives. “Challenge fair” at the end. Students are sensitized, inspired and stimulated to develop feasible, viable and holistic solutions to address current industrial topics as smart city, mobility, digital healthcare, Industry 4.0 and smart grid by utilizing cutting-edge technologies as cloud, IoT, AI, AR/VR.
- Challenge workshops: 1 day is reserved for each corporate to hold an interactive workshop with the batch of students interested to know more about the respective challenge (known needs, available technologies, boundary conditions, etc.).
- Interdisciplinary teams and ideas registration as pertaining to a specific challenge (choice made by teams): Team, Vision, Project Plan
- Ideation workshop: Design thinking, empathic exploration, needfinding, concept generation, evaluation, and selection
- Work-in-progress: Prototyping, testing, generating feedback, iterating, creating new insights and elaborating use cases. On demand office hours and consulting sessions with experts for ideation, technology development, product design, and team development.
- Customer Value Proposition, Market and Positioning with respect to competition, Unique Selling Proposition, Business Model, Value Chain, Market Entry
- Business Plan, pitch training
- Pre-Demo Day Meetup: User Acceptance Testing with respective challenge owners. Teams present, respective corporate provides feedback.
- Feedback integration to finalize project results
- Demo Day: Teams showcase their final concepts by means of their prototypes, videos, posters, and short business plans

Learning Outcome

Upon successful completion of this module, students are able to:

- identify latest technology trends related to topics such as smart city, mobility, digital healthcare, Industry 4.0 and smart grid
- understand opportunities and challenges in applying cutting-edge technology (e.g., cloud, IoT, AI, AR/VR) to address a specific industrial challenge
- conduct project-based interdisciplinary teamwork
- carry out an individualized learning process by utilizing referenced online resources as well as on demand expert coaching regarding team development, technology development and product design
- evaluate own ideas, prototypes and project findings with experts, users, and customers, and work closely with their feedback
- recognize and utilize contemporary web platforms for digital project creation and sharing
- operate in a high-tech prototyping workshop equipped with latest technology and devices
- create functional prototypes to demonstrate own proposed solution to a specific industrial challenge
- devise a showcase of own project results to a broad audience of peers, academics and practitioners
- create short business plans to effectively communicate business value of own project results

Thus, students get familiarized with the many facets of entrepreneurship. In doing that, they are enabled to see, realize, and experience the multiplicity in the everyday life of an entrepreneur, entrepreneurial personalities, as well as entrepreneurial skills and motivations.


Knowledge: Willingness to participate; affinity with tech and entrepreneurship trends preferred
Abilities: Identifying opportunities; proactiveness; communication; teamwork; commitment
Skills: openness; analytical thinking; design thinking; self-motivation; networking

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

Innovatively addressing complex themes as smart city and Industry 4.0 often requires the use of cutting-edge technologies within an entrepreneurial process. Based on this premise and to get the students understand and apply such a process, the module deploys hands-on project-based learning and interdisciplinary teamwork.

Each semester several industrial challenges are spotlighted as proposed by the participating corporates, who provide access to their proprietary technologies, resources, experts and coaches specific to their respective challenge. An industrial challenge is formulated to be broad, with the potential of breeding many specific projects in return. Students are encouraged to propose which challenge to address in which way (i.e., project idea) and within which team.

Through interactive team exercises and a semester-long project, the students experience peer-learning while gaining practice in assessing and optimizing usage of their team resources. They are also provided with team coaching sessions, individual mentoring, tutorials as necessary (challenge-dependent), and hands-on courses to operate machines and devices (3D printer, laser cutter, waterjet cutter, sensors etc.) at the high-tech prototyping workshop (team- and challenge-dependent).


- Online access to slides, hand-outs, materials through dedicated e-Learning account
- Online discussion forum connecting students and involved experts
- Accounts on contemporary web platforms for digital project creation and sharing (e.g., hackster, kaggle, datacamp)


A maintained list of references to relevant online course materials (e.g., UnternehmerTUM MOOC videos, Coursera, Udacity, edX, Udemy) to support an individualized learning process suited to students’ various levels of expertise

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

Overview of Final Deliverables

1. Functional Prototype (in hard- and/or software): 40% of grade
2. Final Demo (7 minutes incl. video): 30% of grade
3. Technical Project Description: 15% of grade
4. Read Deck (up to 10 slides max.): 15% of grade

Details of final deliverables below.

Final Deliverable 1: Functional Prototype

- Functional prototype in hard- and/or software
- Not a final product, but should showcase at least one key aspect of your product/service
- For software, use any framework, IDE, language etc. that works
- For hardware, use MakerSpace & prototype budget (up to 250€ per team, only redeemable with invoice!)

Final Deliverable 2a: Final Demo…

- You will have exactly 7 minutes, incl. your video of up to 2 minutes; and Q&A thereafter
- Your demo (incl. video) should include: Team, Customer Need, Value Proposition, Prototype, Competition, Differentiation, Future Roadmap (Note: content is same as the read deck)
- All team members must present
- Slides should not distract from the presenter (e.g. too much text, low contrast, …)

Final Deliverable 2b: …and Video

- Cannot be longer than 2 minutes max. (and should be at least 1 minute long)
- Can be real-life video, powerpoint slides, animations, cartoons or any other video format
- Should not be silent - audio can be spoken text, real world sound, music, …
- Should cover: Customer Need, Value Proposition (Prototype optional), Differentiation
- Think of it as a marketing or sales tool

Final Deliverable 3: Technical Project Description

- Description of all hardware components and software modules/frameworks used, as well as step-by-step instructions to re-create your prototype (e.g. see project descriptions at
- Link to an online code repository (e.g. GitHub, GitLab, BitBucket) is mandatory

Final Deliverable 4: Read Deck

- Needs to be understandable as stand-alone with no further explanation (assume reader has not seen demo or video!)
- Use presentation format (i.e. slides); different than the presentation used in demo!
- Cannot be more than 10 slides max. (excl. appendix)
- Your read deck should include: Team, Customer Need, Value Proposition, Prototype, Competition, Differentiation, Future Roadmap (note: content is same as final pitch)

Exam Repetition

There is a possibility to take the exam in the following semester.

Current exam dates

Currently TUMonline lists the following exam dates. In addition to the general information above please refer to the current information given during the course.

Tech Challenge
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