How can design-thinking connect European research to business?

On 25 January 2018, Bax & Company welcomed guests, from across Europe, to take part in the workshop Future of Online Knowledge Marketplace to improve University and Industry interaction in very tangible ways.

To address the ‘pains and gains’ faced by online tech-transfer and brokerage platforms such as Innoget – an online platform, designed to connect industry challenges to researchers and innovators – participants of the workshop used empathy maps, User Journeys and societal Megatrends to explore ways to make such platforms work better, faster and be more user friendly.

Creating Technology Transfer Mechanisms

The workshop, hosted, organised and facilitated by Bax & Company, was a part of the Science2Society project; an EU Horizon 2020 funded project that is exploring how European innovation can be bolstered through seven unique but complementary mechanisms:
· Co-creation
· Co-location
· Intersectoral Staff Mobility
· Collaborative Research & Development Projects
· Open Innovation Marketplace
· University Knowledge Transfer
· Big Research Data Transfer

The mechanisms’ purpose is to create and foster greater interaction between researchers and knowledge institutes, and industry and business, to facilitate greater knowledge transfer from universities; the sort of work that Bax & Company have been doing for almost thirty years. For the workshop, we wanted to use a design-thinking approach to ensure that the direct users and stakeholders were at the core of our thinking and solution development.

A collaborative, user-centric, design-thinking approach

Within the Science2Society project, Innoget are working together with TU Darmstadt to pilot the Using the Open Innovation Marketplace mechanism, implementing their platform so that companies, such as Centro Ricerche Fiat and Electrolux, are able to share their problems whilst the universities shares their innovative solutions. During the pilot period, stakeholders identified various bottlenecks and obstacles, which Bax & Company shaped into visual and engaging user journeys. Participants of the workshop used these user journeys to identify key problems and how to overcome them.

In the workshop, participants, in small groups, drew on their own knowledge and experiences to add their own problems and opportunities, which they elaborated and shared, so the group could find ways to overcome the obstacles and further exploit the opportunities. Participants then used Megatrends to explore ideas of where the platform should be going, including trends like “Going Mobile” and “Rating and Recommendation Schemes” and “Globalisation”. A plenary and conclusion saw participants rating their ideas, based on ease of implementation and potential impact.

Such a design-thinking approach – utilising User Journeys and Megatrends – is a great way to optimise processes and products, and better innovations, both in terms of uptake and impact. This ambition is the foundation of everything we, at Bax & Company do; creating value from Science and Technology.

Bax & Company will facilitate seven workshops, covering each of the mechanisms of the Science2Society project, during 2018. If you’d like to use a design-thinking approach to overcome specific problems or optimise current services, or if you’d like to find out more about Open Innovation platforms or Science2Society, get in touch.

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