I was delighted to be asked by Heather Lambie to be a mentor on the exciting University of Glasgow co.lab project. I wasn’t sure what to expect but going along to the launch event filled in the gaps - co.lab is a space to “learn, play and create”.
Speakers from the University inspired us and explained what co.lab was all about – a creative opportunity lab containing specialist equipment such as a 3D printer and a laser cutter. Four challenges or themes would be set as a starting point for staff and students to begin ideating around to come up with innovative solutions for. Open to all in the University, co.lab is a maker space - a melting pot for a fusion of ideas in response to the challenges outlined.
Challenge 1 Smart Campus – Prof. Chris Pearce told us about the upcoming 1 billion pound campus development and set the challenge to “Create a world changing, healthy and vibrant University Campus.”
Challenge 2 Community Engagement – Prof. Kevin O’Dell urged us to “Build long term relationships with the wider community and raise aspirations.”
Challenge 3 Interdisciplinary Worlds - Prof. Jonathan Cooper stressed the importance of “Challenge led research” in todays academic world and how co.lab should be seen as a “research hub to bring people together from across disciplines.”
Challenge 4 World Changers – Prof. Miles Padgett highlighted that
“Creativity is research.” He asked, “What will Glasgow invent/discover next?”and set down the challenge to “Let your mind reconfigure the future!”
Other speakers shared inspiring stories including co.lab consultant Aziz Rasool from Artronix who shared his passion for maker education.
My own contribution comes from my experience in the world of interdisciplinary research and entrepreneurialism. Having started my own company, Vivomotion (www.vivomotion.co.uk), which creates animations for scientific communication, I have been a participant in numerous workshops on how to generate new ideas and innovate within your business. I have learned that the initial idea you come up with is rarely the one that endures, so being able to pivot is key.
Last nights workshop (Oct 30th, 2017), was the first in a series of exciting workshops planned for the duration of co.lab. We talked about various techniques for generating ideas such as divergent and convergent thinking, brainstorming, getting into a creative/enterprising mindset, sourcing help to progress your idea and finally the use of the business model canvas as a tool to help visualise the development of an idea, whether within or outwith a research setting.
Smart co.lab participants use divergent and convergent thinking to build a foil tower.
We had a mixture of students in attendance from various disciplines including mathematics, engineering, economics and product design. One of the brain storming exercises brought forth a very cool idea – no spoilers here, but it would require the expertise of the various disciplines within the group, so watch this maker space and get yourself along to take part in this creative opportunity 30th Oct – 10th Nov 2017 (https://colabuofg.wixsite.com/2017). Who knows where it will take you!