Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and Talbot Hotel Stillorgan, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Between the 9th and the 11th September 2018, the Dŵr Uisce project was represented at the 19th CINet conference (“Continuous Innovation: Spinning out and spinning”) which took place in Dublin. Here we share an overview of the conference, insights on keynotes and the participation of the Dŵr Uisce at the event. Prof. Paul Coughlan and Prof. Vincent Hargaden (University College Dublin, Ireland) co-hosted and co-organised the event. The organising commit also included Dr. Ana de Almeida Kumlien (of Trinity Business School), Prof. María José Oltra Mestre (Universitat Jaume I, Spain), Prof. Harry Boer (Aalborg University, Denmark) and Prof. Mats Magnusson (KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden) and Ms. Jeannette Visser-Groeneveld (University of Twente, Netherlands). Kudos also to Conor Power and Deepak Domingos who helped with registration and logistics throughout.
A highlight for our team from this year’s event, was that Prof. Paul Coughlan and Professor Ross Chapman (CQUniversity, Australia) were recognized as an Honorary Members of the CINet (Continuous Innovation Network) for their contributions over many years for the community.
Sophie Glombik (PhD researcher in Innovations management and Entrepreneurship from Universität Potsdam, Germany) captured an overview of the event in a wonderful drawings (Figure 2). The full programme can be seen here.
The conference kicked-off on Saturday with a PhD workshop in University College Dublin (UCD). The day finished with a network dinner in Dublin City Centre. During that Saturday, in an engaging and challenging way, CINet provided and incentivised early PhD researcher to attend, present their research, gather and give feedback alongside experienced researchers. The workshop impacts not only the early design of their PhD thesis research, but also brings conference papers to the level needed to achieve publication in peer-reviewed journals.
On Sunday the 10th September, registration of the wider conference group took place at Trinity College Dublin. A visit to the Book of Kells and the Old Library as well as a tour around TCD campus was followed by a warm welcome and wine reception at the Dining Hall (Figure(3) below).
Figure(s) 3. The 19th CINet delegation tours the Trinity College Dublin campus and the old library.
On Monday the 11th September, a keynote panel presented on Spinning In and Spinning Out. The speakers, included entrepreneurs and leaders of technology transfer in Ireland who shared insights about entrepreneurship in academia. Below is a summary of the keynote.
Plenary panel speakers
Majella Murphy (Entrepreneur in Residence, UCD College of Business)
Majella addressed the role of universities in incentivising innovation. Her talk discussed how differences between commercial and research timelines may put pressure on intersectoral collaboration. Her talk discussed the need of third-part negotiators who link and facilitate collaboration between the two sectors. Majella highlighted a need to educate students to be entrepreneurs.
Researchers have a specific skill set which does not overlap with an entrepreneurial one which they could be taught. Furthermore, she challenged: how could universities be measured against their entrepreneurial impact?
Mary Cronin (Founder, UpThink Innovation Agency)
Mary discussed how researchers can and should learn how to navigate the ecosystem of opportunity existing in IP and research. A new mind-set is needed to help. Her 12-week acceleration programme with UpThink helps engineers and STEM students across Ireland to recognise opportunity and take a step further towards the market and away from the lab. Mary prompted questions about the need for more transparency and openness in the innovation processes coming from universities. Intriguingly, she discussed the hidden networks who hold the knowledge for entering market and how a change in mind-set is needed to access them. “Think about the customer and your niche market” was her message.
Stephen Donoghue (Technology Transfer, NovaUCD)
Stephen explained the role of tech transfer and how STEM researchers could benefit from training arts, psychology and social sciences. This training would broaden their entrepreneurial tool-kit. He explored how consultancy roles could help to build a more interdisciplinary mindset. He highlighted how Ireland could benefit from creating tech transfer roles between Arts/Humanities and STEM disciplines.
John McKeon (CEO, Allergy Standards Ltd.)
John’s talk focused on value creation and prompted the audience to think about what is important for clients, and not only for science and knowledge production. “Research gets money to produce ideas. Marketing gets ideas to produce money”. His phrase was “Get the why right. Then get the who: Who you are in the story? How are you making the world better? Spin in can help you handle innovation through clarifying and mapping knowledge and complementing IP assets, allowing for collaborations and knowledge transfer.
Dŵr Uisce talk
The Dŵr Uisce team presented one talk on Monday afternoon:
Ana and Paul presented (Figure 5) findings of the project through the paper: “Demonstrating Learning in Action in a water and energy smart specialisation cluster”, in which they discussed the role of Action Learning, collaborative prototyping and “learning mechanisms” in helping to plan and develop the installations of a demonstration site of micro-hydropower technology in rural Ireland.
Feedback received by Dŵr Uisce
Prof. Mats Magnusson noted it could add to the work to explore how collaborative prototyping would help to create a common language between researchers and practitioners, not only on the prototyping of the technology platform but also in a common way to interact and collaborate to innovate, focused on learning between sectors and disciplines.
Prof. Maria Carmela Annosi (Wageningen University and Research) stated that it would be valuable for the research to be shared in learning journals based on its interdisciplinary nature. Finally, Prof. Inna Goller (Benner Fachhochsule, Switzerland) noted the value of running workshops between researchers and practitioners, to gather insights and advance collaboration. This last feedback is valuable as it feeds into the work Dwr Uisce of delivering workshops for communities in Ireland and Wales. Prof. Goller also mentioned the need for a “common language” to be used to promote continuous innovation in the context of the Dwr Uisce project, and in its aftermath.
In summary, Dŵr Uisce is taking the learnings from the CINet conference, and we can’t wait to Spin Out!