I was recently involved in videoing the European Global Product Realisation (EGPR) final workshop with Stef Smith. The project is an excellent example of collaboration. This year it involved five international universities who joined forces to design a fuselage for an aircraft to be flown by disabled people.
From our perspective the main challenge was to get the planning done on the day of the workshop, the request having come through late. In the morning we met with Professor Ahmed Kovacevic, who was leading the project, to gain some idea of the schedule. We were were filming by early afternoon! In some ways not knowing much about the project helped us do the interviews. We were asking questions to which we genuinely needed the answers.
The fuselage itself had been fabricated by Condor Projects, the industrial partner, and had been driven down overnight. Luckily for us it was too wide to fit through the doors of the Drysdale Garden and had to be left outside. This meant we could take advantage of the sunshine and do the interviews and other filming in ideal conditions.
The fuselage was impressive. It had been designed in a matter of months by students collaborating across Europe in Hungary, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia and of course from City University. The design included a special wheelchair that could be motored up a ramp into the back of the aircraft. A locking mechanism ensured the wheelchair stayed put.
From talking to students it was clear that the biggest hurdle they faced was communication. The EGPR course emphasises soft skills such as negotiation. Given the different languages at play it was remarkable how well the students had exchanged ideas. Martyn Wiseman of Condor Projects was impressed, acknowledging that his company had driven them hard. The realities of working on a real project were also recognised by the students, several confiding that it had been a difficult process but worthwhile in the end.
We also interviewed Gautam Lewis who set up Freedom in the Air, a flying school for disabled people. Gautam was happy to recommend the project in terms of the benefits it could bring to people like himself, who would receive a unique opportunity to experience the freedom that flying can bring.
As an ex aircraft engineer I was amazed at how the students had collaborated to solve such a difficult problem. The video was subsequently edited by myself and can be view at http://city.mediaspace.kaltura.com/media/European+Global+Product+Realisation/1_slolw1sk.