Posts In Category Innovate at Digital Shoreditch
City University hosted a major session on day two of Digital Shoreditch, which went under the ‘Innovate’ theme and was aimed businesses who want to leverage talent and knowledge locked in local universities.
Sara Jones, Senior Lecturer on City’s MA courses in Human-Centred Systems and in Innovation, Creativity and Leadership and Stephen Clulow, a student on the latter course, who is a scientist and founder of Action for Innovation, posed the question “How can businesses and universities talk more effectively with each other to solve business problems?
The activity aimed to get people to generate, expand on and develop innovative and original concepts for universities and businesses whilst asking people to identify ways to break down the barriers to business and university collaborations.
Each table had 30 minutes to answer questions on the worksheets, which covered a range of areas, designed to get those present talking on what they believed businesses and universities should be doing to collaborate and create innovate working systems. Other questions asked attendee what they thought universities should be doing to get their bright students and employees participating, what services need to be put in place for success and how they can do all this while also being ‘green’.
The best ideas generated from each of the tables were presented to the room in two-minute slots by volunteers.
Table One highlighted that small businesses that have all the amazing ideas but don’t have any money need to be connected with the research institutes that have money designated for research in that area. They spoke on how they believed that academic talents and business talents need to be paired up, so that they can feed off of each other and generate creativity.
They also said that there needs to be a dynamic between creative industries and smaller communities. Although research areas like silicon roundabout are great there needs to be smaller areas set up in the provinces that harness creativity.
Table Two’s big idea centered on the conflict between academia and business, with one’s need to publish and meet targets and the other’s need to create and generate ideas.
For them, trust comes first and it is imperative that business and universities work with each other on equal terms with no one side dominating the other. Businesses need to learn the language that academia speaks and vice versa so everybody knows what they can expect from each other for better conversations to happen.
Table Three said that for businesses and universities to talk more effectively with each other each side needs to know that there will be a return on investment. The keywords they highlighted were trust, transparently and likability. There needs to not be a straight transfer of ideas from academia into the commercial world, there needs to be a joint effort feeding between the two and not one feeding off the other.
Table Four brought attention to the fact that universities are a safe environment to fail but businesses are not. Table four asked ‘can universities be there to provide safe environments for people and businesses to fail. Can we in the long term make universities a place where things are tried and tested, a safe environment for failure to ensure that the ideas being brought to market are worth it?’
Table Five were all about collaboration, communities, inspirations. They saw universities as a dating agency, a place in which businesses and the university could come together and match up the brightest, talented students with forward-thinking companies intent on pushing boundaries and thinking laterally.
Table Six’s big idea was the how a business’s relationship with a client in the long-term can be difficult to manage in today’s short-term world and how can universities be the place where a long-term community is set-up for business and education?
Table Seven said that a good organization comes from having a group of like-minded people who want to work towards some type of goal, but that there needs to be an effective reward system in order to keep the talent.
Table Nine said that in this digital age there is still a real need for people to meet others face-to-face, in order to build trust and solve problems. Why do ‘hack days’ or ‘jam sessions’ work so well for coders when it comes to solving problems and creating systems to deal with those problems? Universities and businesses need to think of what it is about the facilitation of conversation that aids in getting people to create and set up designated physical places that people can come to work and exchange ideas.
Table Ten brought attention to the fact that undergraduate students also want to be a part of these conversations and ideas too and that they don’t necessarily want to work on pretend ideas that their lecturers have created, they want to engage with businesses to come up with solutions even if they don’t get used.
For more on collaboration, see http://www.city.ac.uk/digitalshoreditch