Imagination into Action: event at Chester University’s Innovation Centre


small section of a whole group visualisation, with 40 participants drawing on giant rolls of paper

Hosted by the University of Chester on May 21st. this was a most productive one day active workshop event that brought together a rich mix of 40 innovators in learning, business, academia and the public sector. It introduced cutting edge innovation methods from Finland: the University of Lappeenranta team led by Anne Passila from the Lahti Scool of Innovation, whose main education fields are industrial management and business studies.  I was representing Cass Business School. My specific contribution was  introducing the use of “story cubes” a tool used very successfully earlier this year with Cass Business and Management UG Students, and at the recent Cass hosted event exploring the links between Learning and Walking. At Chester I asked people to produce individual three dimensional cubes that represented six aspects of innovation that have personal significance for them, these included the main barrier to innovation, and an example of their favourite innovation. These provided prompts for further discussion through the day and  also proved a great way of getting people to talk with each other as they sat around a table sharing ideas and materials.
My main learnings from this event

Inspirational example of a long term ongoing international collaboration between  Higher Education Institutions. Allan Owens Professor of Drama Education at Chester has forged a deep collaborative relationship with Finnish colleagues over many years, building capacity, and developing research initiatives that include a strong focus on creative pedagogy.
The need to get out of our silos! The mix of participants from different disciplines led to an extraordinary linking of common challenges and innovative interventions. For example, the opportunity to try out Innovative methods of using research based theatre techniques to help organisations approach and manage cultural change and transformation. Cass Business School has a well established cross disciplinary collaboration with the University of Chester’s School of Education and Research.
A purpose designed collaborative space really powers up the level of sharing, deep thinking and interaction. Chester University  Innovation Centre  has a state of the art flexible design, including a variety of seating and table heights and two screens for presentations. This enabled the space to be reconfigured quickly and easily several times through the day.
A chance to touch base and learn from other colleagues, including Laura Mellanen LUT Lahti School of Innovation,  who like me uses visual expression as a means to facilitate problem solving, and a source for new knowledge.

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