Building on the Creative IDEAS project, we propose a new strategy for knowledge exchange in Lancaster University, which includes the creation of mechanisms to share our innovative knowledge exchange tools, the development of new approaches and tailoring of some of our 30 or so techniques specifically for dissemination across academic, local business and social-community groups. These stakeholders were selected for two key reasons;
- The intersection of academics, local businesses and local social groups is an area often neglected within Lancaster and FASS, this represents a ‘greater community’ that we should be looking to energise for mutual benefits.
- FASS has been successful in attracting 3 funded projects in the KE space, Catalyst, PROUD and The Creative Exchange, which look at citizen-led innovation, co-design in communities and mass-customisation respectively. New IDEAS offers the opportunity to link to, but also go beyond these projects. Focusing on the dissemination of KE mechanisms and approaches with the aim of seeding new KE activity that grows freely and independently of currently funded initiatives, increasing the amount and effectiveness of KE within and between the City and University. There is an especially strong opportunity to promote increased KE engagement within FASS as part of this process.
This project will have two stages
- Understanding the KE landscape and the fundamental requirements of effective exchange in and between the stakeholder groups. This will draw on our previous experience of KE design but will be tested and extended through the creation of new bespoke mechanisms for each of the 3 groups. The aim of this beyond the short-term (but still potentially profound) benefits of the KE interventions will be to map the particular dynamics of KE in each of the groups. This understanding will be used to define the fundamental KE activities relevant to stakeholder groups.
- Using this experience we will design a series of tools and dissemination activities that allow stakeholders to undertake their own innovative KE activity independently of Imagination. These toolkits will respond to the needs that emerge in stage one but examples could include a workshop and toolkit specially aimed at helping FASS academics working with SMEs for the first time, or could be an idea generating approach specifically for engaging with skateboarders.
To fully achieve these aims New IDEAS is conceived of as a 2-year project. As such the following structure works as both a one-year activity and as a launch pad to more innovative, transferable and commercially attractive KE approaches.
Digital / Physical
The majority of the KE design we have completed has been physical in nature, this has advantages (it can’t crash, is portable, less intimidating, more accessible to a wide range of people and so on), having said this we are increasingly exploiting the possibilities of digital technology, this also has advantages (real time visualisation of information, rapid dissemination, combining small working groups’ activities and so on).
Building on this developing expertise we will lead the development of stand alone toolkits in physical form, while we develop a robust digital framework through the delivery of bespoke digital-led KE events. Our aim would then be in the second year to deliver stand alone digital toolkits using accessible technology such as tablet PCs and projectors that any social group, academic project or business could use for KE.