Workshop on Sustainability of iDEAlab took place at the University of Novi Sad from September 19th to 20th , 2016. Representatives from partner institutions were hosted by the University of Novi Sad. Along with the first day workshop about the sustainability, project management meeting brought together members of project management team to review work progress, assess financial flow and agree on further actions.
Minutes of Meeting:
Welcome Note and Opening Remarks (Uni Novi Sad)
Sustainability was the most important topic left, to focus on now that the project is coming to an end. We wanted to construct an event that also provides practical examples and exercises that help to establish individual road maps for the labs.
Introduction on iDEAlab sustainability (WUS Austria)
Between March-June 2016 WUS Austria as leader of WP 6 – quality control and monitoring visited the iDEAlab centres in all three countries and talked to people involved in the project and in the running of the centres on site. The visits inter alia created a motivation for the staff of the labs to evaluate the status quo of project imeplementation at their institution and catch up on items that were delayed. There was no strict agenda or schedule for the visits from the point of WUS Austria, in order to allow the labs to present themselves in the way they thought appropriate and useful. In the end WUS Austria wrote individual reports with recommendations for each iDEAlab. Furthermore, during the visit in March 2016 in Serbia, a meeting for all iDEAlabs was organised by the project coordinators at the University of Novi Sad, in order to discuss topics and challenges that are common to all/most iDEAlabs and thus provide support by sharing of experience. The matter of sustainability and strategic orientation was already in the focus of attention during the visits and the meeting in Novi Sad this year when we visited the labs in Serbia. To address this, Uni Novi Sad has developed a short template which we asked the iDEAlabs to fill in to reflect on with regards to securing sustainability for the iDEAlabs under their supervision.
Presentation: of sustainability plans (all iDEAlabs)
Uni Novi Sad: creative co-working space open for students from all faculties; will be set up as a university cente or integrated in the exiting Centre for Youth Entrepreneurship at the Faculty of Technical Sciences; what will be the regular team base (at least one permanent staff financed)?; target group > users, supporters and followers; concept of open innovation may not be recognised by local companies?; involvement of lab in teaching process > difficult to realise outside the Faculty of Technical Engineering.
Uni Donja Gorica: primarily used to be involved in study programme (e.g. Entrepreneurship and Innovation, obligatory course at all 13 faculties); established as laboratoy at Faculty of International Economic, Finance and Business, but open to students of all faculties; similar centres are cureently established in the country >will these be competitors in the future and how/not?; set -up of UDG incubator > cooperation and/or competetion?
Uni Zenica: four “satellite” laboratories with different foci; on micro level the labs should cooperate amongst themselves; what is the classic set of activities that are offered at similar centred at Western universities, that is aimed to be also offered at Uni Zenica?; due to specific internal rules staff working in the iDEAlab cannot be paid for their work in the lab > how will this affect their commitment?
Uni Banja Luka: driving force in fostering student entrepreneurship and start-up creation; is a central part of the University Entrepreneurship Centre of the university – as iDEAlab business incubator; focus on students as target group; establishing a marketplace for ideas> how will this be done?
School in Subotica: it is a established as a computer laboratory; no full-time staff; staff not interested in the laboratory because they already have already access to this kind of equipment; lab will organise project work and competitions; students do not develop ideas on their own.
School in Zrenjanin: provides space to students to implement their course work in practice (e.g. diploma work); legal status not yet identified; cooperation focuses at local level, e.g. cooperation with children’s projects; high costs of equipment operating supplies > how can this be tackled?
Working session: Funding of iDEAlabs in the future (USFD)
Be more specific about the (financial) plans of the labs, beyond delivering a project > think in terms of a business models using a logic model approach to ensure growth in the future. Shift in thinking and approach: from “we think what we do is important” to “ what problem/s are we going to solve in the short-term and the long-term”?
- Identify the assets and resources which provide input to enabling the delivery of activities.
- List te natrue and rank the importance of activities facilitated.
- What makes you superior and distinct to other organisations.
Working session: Mentorship and Training (UniStutt)
Understand the problem of your costumer/client – when applying “design thinking” you have to ask the costumers first abou the problem to offer a solution; mentoring comes from enterprises and uses an approach that emphasises learning by doing/on the job. Who is a (good) mentor in which context? What kind of mentorships do the iDEAlabs need? Discussion along examples (e.g. “inside/out”, reverse mentoring etc).
Working session: Opportunities for Industrial Involvement in iDEAlab (SFC)
Why collaborate with the industry? With whom and to what purpose? And how?; how to get accelerator money? > see project FIWARE Accelerate. Get a high visibility amongst industrial partners; get sponsoring – ambiguous?; get access to infrastructure (e.g. special machines); what are the benefits for industry in collaborating with the iDEAlabs? Opportunities for Industry/Involevement in iDEAlab?
Working session: Promotional Activities for Sustainable Development of iDEAlabs (UCEEM-NSZ)
A meeting place for education, research and economy; aimng towards obtaining applicative knowledge and competences; how to promote the labs: case studies and other interactive teaching methods; supportive environmen; networking; business plan competitions; when and where: during lectures/lessons, practical work, papers, student competitions, fairs, national/international projects, conferences; lots initiatives now focus on online promotion, but face-to-face contact can in many cases still be the best way to promote yourself.
The labs have different focus, but similar challenges. Most labs do not have permanent staff to run the lab and coordinate its activities; labs have been encouraged through the project to calculate their services and resources but there is no coherent business plan to back up short-term and long-term visions. However, the labs are awae of these challenges and in most cases have a plan on how to counteract the them.