In December 2015 we asked from TSoTC practitioners, instructors, and other GESCI participants about their views on good collaborative project design, practices and experiences (you can see the questions here).
Here are the Top 5 most important insights from your project collaboration, innovation, and learning experiences:
- Leadership is the key. No matter how many brilliant experts from many fields take part in the project, without clear joint goals and strong, precise leadership to guide the road to the goals, collaboration will be difficult. Promises and timelines need to be met, by everyone, and this needs to be coordinated and managed. [Question: Should Living Lab -type learning environments include some leadership training for all?]
- Brainstorming is important — and it takes time. Innovation with other experts from different fields requires time to find common ground, vocabulary, and ways of working. Free exchange of ideas is clearly desirable and beneficial to innovative processes. Feedback and (peer) critique is also an essential part of learning — and project innovation. [Question: Should Living Lab -type learning environments include some structured scenario/brainstorming workshops, just to get everyone used to related working methods? Should there be special ‘idle time’ allocated to taking, exchanging experiences, informally creating wild ideas…]
- Networking builds team spirit, and extends the benefits of training. Related to point 2: A major advantage of a Living Lab -type of educational-innovation project is that it can teach not only skills but build alliances and partnerships beyond the training/project itself. Clearly, connecting learning with a real life projects and businesses is considered a great benefit. [Question: Should Living Lab -type learning environments include networking events such as a Demo Day / Showcase as a standard part of their curricula?]
- Everyone needs marketing skills. Related to point 3: Some participants of TSoTC highlight the reality that today’s innovation professionals need to understand business skills and be able to market their talent and projects. [Question: Should Living Lab -type learning environments include some marketing training for all? Should an LL environment also include end users as participants — to enhance product development and marketing strategies?]
- Collaboration honors the individual. Finally, an overall theme emerging from the questionnaire is that participants appreciate both individual guidance/projects/mentoring as well as the collaborative effort. The former should not be forgotten because of the latter. The combination of individual mentoring/attention and collaborative practices might be especially important for a Living Lab environment that aims to innovate, as well as to educate.
What would you add to the list?