Learning to create more a-ha! moments in learning

How do you learn? I learn through doing; a-ha..! Knowledge applied through reflection of a real life experience.

Those ‘A-ha!’ learning moments come for me, more often than not, when I’m doing or trying something out; experimenting for myself or more crucially doing it with others.

I spoke to a university graduate and a current postgraduate student recently and they expressed a similar view. They described learning as not knowledge being poured in but in the application of new knowledge; both expressed a desire for more opportunities for active learning in the classroom, for discussion and collaboration across disciplines to share ideas and perspectives. ‘I want to know what I can do with this knowledge; my knowledge out in the world.’

We see that magical ‘aha’ moment a lot when students bring a problem or an idea to work through together in the Ideas Labs we run weekly in the Learning Zone during term time.

Working on your own idea is a motivated process of being willing to challenge your dearest held assumptions, experimenting to apply knowledge you have or new knowledge you have found, joining the dots to make sense of what’s needed to move forward and validate an idea as an opportunity. It’s about the search for desirability, feasibility and viability of a solution users want, need and will pay for; even just paying with their time; whether it’s a project, a social enterprise or a business venture of some kind.

The Teaching and Learning Studio at Stanford University is a place where educators from all disciplines experiment with new ways of engaging students using design thinking and experiential learning to solve wicked problems. The studio supports educators to develop strategies that help students develop skills and mindsets for the 21st century and I was very fortunate to be an awardee of the EEUK Richard Beresford bursary, a personal development fund for educators, which part funded a trip to the studio for the learning trip of a lifetime.

Fresh from d.School inspiration, I’m grateful for a whole new network of international colleagues to exchange ideas on shaping learning using human centred design that puts the student at the centre of the experience.  So forward thinking are they at Stanford d.School, that it’s an annual thing for educators to pitch their major and minor courses to students on d.School’s ’Pitch Night’…

I want to learn to facilitate more of those ‘A-ha!’ learning moments for students who come to the Enterprise Team’s Ideas Labs sessions. It’s about creating the environment for students to ‘try on’ mindsets and behaviours; practice being curious, resourceful, imaginative, questioning norms and assumptions, observing, ideating, making connections and big leaps to confidently create new solutions; seeing failure along the way as as the stepping stone to the next experiment…and that’s a tough one for us all to ‘try on’ in our practice.

It’s about the quest to develop all students as creative problem solvers;  ‘innovators’  in every discipline. This skill, rooted in creativity is needed in every shape and size of organisation to remain competitive and for employees, leaders and entrepreneurs to continue to find ways to create new value.

So what is Design Thinking and how does it relate to designing learning and facilitating learning experiences and how an it be used as a pedagogical tool?

Design thinking is a mindset. It is optimistic, collaborative, human centred and creative and it’s experimental. It’s the confidence that everyone can be part of creating a more desirable future, and the design process empowers people to take action when faced with a difficult challenge. That kind of optimism is well needed in education and in students heading out into a challenged global environment.

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Design thinking is a team sport and through small design challenges we and our learners can learn the attitudes and mindsets to collaborate and create, experimenting by framing a learning through design challenge, unpacking assumptions about the challenge or problem, exploring the problem space with users, defining a point of view about the challenge.

Through optimistic and energised ideation a design team can  learn to ‘turn off’ the evaluator mindset and generate ideas through divergent thinking; brainstorming, building on one another’s ideas, generating lots of ideas to create great ideas, and learning that sometimes seemingly wild ideas are the spark to something better; out of the box possibilities; solutions to wicked problems. Ideas are selected for development through voting and the design team builds to learn through improv and role play to imagine possibilities before building simple, fail fast mockups and prototypes to share with users for feedback. What works, what doesn’t..? Return to prototype… return to test… iterate…until ‘Ahah! We did it! Our solution has cracked the problem; what a feeling… ‘like something inside me changed.’

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The Design Thinking Toolkit for Educators contains the process and methods of design. Developed by the global design company Ideo, (Founded by David Kelley who also founded Stanford’s d.School). The toolkit offers new ways to be intentional and collaborative when designing educational experiences, and empowers educators to create  impactful student centred learning solutions, but also to integrate design thinking into problem based learning as a creative problem solving process. The process empowers students to get creative, starting by solving simple human centred challenges to prepare them for tackling seemingly insoluble challenges.

‘Educators from across the world are facing design challenges every single day, from feedback systems to daily schedules. Wherever they fall on the spectrum of scale – the challenges educators are confronted with are real, complex, and varied. And as such, they require new perspectives, new tools, and new approaches. Design Thinking is one of them.’ Ideo.com

What was woefully missing in my education, and my daughter’s after me, were those serendipidous ‘A-ha’ moments in learning, and it’s this creative, human agency, I now believe that is at the heart of our work as educators. We have a short window of opportunity to intentionally develop learners as creative problem solvers, innovators and value creators beyond their discipline; skills for living and for lifelong learning.

‘Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.’

Benjamin Franklin

My thanks to Enterprise Educators UK for part funding this learning experience with the Richard Beresford Bursary. More details on how to apply here.

Resources:

Teaching innovators can download Design Thinking for Educators here.

A Canvas to design learning here

Sir Ken Robinson’s ‘Whats the point of creativity at University’ here.

Bright Sparks Award: Submit your pitches!

Submit a 90-second video pitch to win up to £1,000 to make your idea happen!

Do you have a bright idea which you think will capture the imagination and support of your peers? Then this may be just the opportunity for you…

As you will have probably heard by now, we are busy planning for the re-launch of the Lancaster University Enterprise Awards this December. The Bright Sparks, People’s Choice award is looking for individuals or teams of students, recent alumni (past 3 years) or staff with an idea for a new venture. The proposal may be for an idea that is still as concept stage, or it may already have been registered as a formal trading entity, as long as it is still in the survival stage and has not yet achieved financial sustainability.

The Bright Sparks Award is unique from the other award categories – as not only are we asking for video pitch nominations, but also because the actual winner of the award will be determined on the night of the awards through an audience poll! The winner will receive access to support and up to £1,000 funding from The Enterprise Team through Santander Funding to help make the idea happen.

Think you’ve got a great idea which fits the bill?

To nominate an idea, send a link to your 90 second video-pitch to enterpriseteam@lancaster.ac.uk. It is expected that your video pitch will cover the following:

  • A brief statement of opportunity (pain points for users)
  • A description of the solution you put forward
  • Is the solution desirable? (Consider competitors and alternative solutions)
  • Is the solution viable? (How will it be financially sustainable)
  • Is the solution feasible? (Do you have the skills and resources necessary, and if not what skills/resources would you need and how would you acquire them?)
  • How would the award help you kick-start your idea?

Deadline for submissions: Sunday the 19th of November. 

Please email The Enterprise Team if you have any questions.

Terms and conditions of the Bright Sparks Award:
Entrants will be judged and shortlisted by the Enterprise Team based on the following criteria: desirability, feasibility and viability of idea ; creativity and presentation. The shortlisted videos will be presented on the night of the awards event. Finalists will be invited to attend the awards event where a winner will be judged by the audience. To be eligible, nominations need to be submitted by Lancaster University students or staff, as well as alumni who have graduated up to three years ago. To claim the prize teams need to be able to engage with the offering of the enterprise team to develop their project, which would mean being able to attend regular meetings in Lancaster.

New student-run investment fund

Campus Capital to invest thousands in Lancashire startups

Lancaster University have signed a partnership with venture capital firm, Campus Capital, to bring investment to the region and further strengthen Lancashire’s startup ecosystem. The model is unique in the sense that the fund is part-run by teams to Student Venture Capitalists!

This partnership will see the investment of between £50k-200k in early stage, high-growth potential companies, on and off campus.  There is a particular focus on ‘making sure existing startups who are already doing great things get the investment they need to scale.’ It is hoped that the fund will help to increase opportunities for companies to collaborate with the University, stay and grow in the region.

Campus Capital will open to Lancashire-based startups in the New Year, although companies who are considering fundraising within the next six months are encouraged to get in touch sooner.

Fancy trying your hands at being an venture capitalist?

Students are given the opportunity to take part in an experiential learning opportunity where they will be trained as Student Venture Capitalists to run some of the early aspects of the fund pipeline. In addition to training, students will receive ongoing mentoring and experience of assessing and analysing a company’s investment-readiness. Application to take part in the scheme are now open, you can find out more here.

To find out more, visit the Campus Capital website.

Enterprise Awards – Call for nominations!

 We need your nominations!

We are currently busy planning for the relaunch of our annual Lancaster University Enterprise Awards. The awards aim to recognise and celebrate the diversity of ways in which students, researchers and alumni have applied their entrepreneurial mindsets, acted as creative-problem solvers and made a genuine impact on the world around them.

The awards seek not only to celebrate the successes but also recognise the journeys and distances travelled to reach those successes -every winner should have a story to tell, which hopefully will help to inspire others to engage in similar pursuits to realise their own dreams and ambitions.

The award ceremony itself is set to take place in December and will involve  a formal dinner attended by various VIPs, stakeholders and of course a number of students. The dinner will be followed by entertainment, and an opportunity to network and socialise.

But now we need your help!

We need your assistance in identifying nominees within the following categories:

  • Student Leader – Individuals/teams with a leadership role on behalf of a segment of the student body e.g. Society Execs, College JCRs, Departmental Reps, LUSU Offices and Student Ambassadors who have demonstrated the application of entrepreneurial behaviours to the realisation of an event, project, activity or other intervention.
  • KE Champion – Individuals/teams who have displayed entrepreneurial behaviours in the undertaking of a Knowledge Exchange Intervention with an external organisation. For example through a Student Consultancy Project, Placement or Internship, KTP or PG Rise project.
  • Impactful Researcher – Early Career Researchers who have translated, or taken active steps to translate their research into sustainable research impact, for example via a licensing agreement, spin-out or other business model.
  • Sustainable Venture – Individuals/teams who have successfully launched a venture that has a clearly identified ‘triple bottom line’ business model, and has demonstrated or begun to demonstrate its viability. Must be formally registered, and trading for a maximum of three years.
  • Organisational Innovator – Individual alumni (up to last three years) who have gone into employment in any role, industry or sector except self-employment, or as a founder member of a start-up

There will also be a ‘bright sparks’ category which will involve the submission of short video pitches for ideas – more details on this category to follow!

Further details on each of the categories and what we are looking for can be found within the nomination form. If you think there is either a team or individual (or maybe you are them!) that fits into one of the categories, please download and complete this nomination form and send it back to enterpristeam@lancaster.ac.uk no later than the 31st of October.

 

What’s new for 17-18?

If you’ve engaged in Enterprise & Innovation support through us previously, you are probably wondering what’s happened to the Wednesday IdeasLab and Thursday StartupLab sessions.

We found that so many people were bringing new ideas, having just a couple of fixed-time drop-in sessions per week wasn’t giving everyone enough time and space to get the attention they needed

So, this year we’re opening up more slots and letting you call the shots on when they should happen.  We’re still calling them Labs, but there are now lots of different Lab types to choose from.

How does it work?

The idea is simple – we’ll help you put together a personalised development programme and you work through it at your own pace. Whenever you’re ready to work on something new, you book a Lab session and we’ll supply the space, the know-how, the resources, and, where appropriate, bring in like-minded collaborators.

To make this work though, there are a couple of other things that have changed.

  • Firstly, before you start ‘dropping in’, we’ll ask you to register or re-register by completing a short Registration Form so we can get you into the system.
  • Secondly, we’ll book you in for a 1-2-1 chat (called an IntroLab) so we can find out more about you, what you are trying to achieve and what you are looking for right now.
  • Thirdly, we’ll get you underway so you can start putting together your bespoke development programme from our new menu of different Lab types. Regardless of what you are working on or where you are up to, there’ll be something for you.

To get started right away, please complete the Registration Form.

To find out more about Labs, please visit this page.

Global Entrepreneurial Leaders Summit

Live Stream of WildHearts Global Entrepreneurial Leaders Summit

To ‘celebrate the power of entrepreneurship as a force for social and economic change,’ the WildHearts Group host Global Entrepreneurial Leaders Summits, bringing together some of the world’s leading Corporate, Social and Founding Entrepreneurs.

The next summit is being held in London on the 5th of October. The Summit includes sessions on Women in Leadership, Business for Good (both local and global) and Impact-full education. The day includes many inspiring speakers including Elizabeth Nyamayaro, Head of UN’s #HeForShe campaign.

The great news is that you can watch the Summit live from the comfort of your own room on the WildHearts Group Facebook page. It will also be available for catch up following the event.

The Bootleg Benchmarks – Eight ideas for Careers and Enterprise through the Curriculum

Ready Unlimited is a small team that makes a big impact

Amanda Brooks, Enterprise Education Development Manager in The Lancaster University Enterprise Team reflects on learning from the recent International Educators Conference:

At the International Enterprise Educators Conference in Glasgow Caledonian University in September, I met Managing Director and principal consultant Catherine Brentnall of Ready Unlimited who was there to share and launch a draft of her guide for Secondary School teachers to support the development of careers and enterprise through the curriculum.

The guide – The Bootleg Benchmarks – ‘Eight ideas for Careers and Enterprise through the Curriculum’ – was developed through a project funded by Enterprise Educators UK, and delivered in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire.

The guide, and an accompanying pedagogy survey, helps identify pragmatic actions which subject teachers can utilise, adapt and experiment with in their own classroom.  Catherine shares the Lancaster University’s Enterprise Team’s vision that through education, young people develop the enterprising and entrepreneurial knowledge, mind set and behaviours relevant to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. To achieve this, her mission, like our own, is to work with a community of educators so they can incrementally create and strengthen enterprising and entrepreneurial teaching and learning for all young people, through the curriculum.

Catherine welcomes feedback on Bootleg Benchmarks, and although it was designed with secondary schools mind, it’s an excellent starting point for teaching staff in HE wanting to innovate their practice.

Catherine works with hundreds of teachers and Head Teachers every year across the UK and abroad.  Her unique combination of skills and expertise enable her to bridge the gap between academic entrepreneurial learning theory and practice by effecting real change in classrooms.  ‘“If you give teachers the time and tools to develop enterprise education for themselves, they can change the experience of every student that comes into their classroom.’ said Catherine. Teachers involved in developing enterprise and Entrepreneurship education in the curriculum say it has enabled students to:

  • Have a sense of belonging and purpose in their community
  • Develop a love for lifelong learning
  • Connect with the world of work and business that they will one day move into
  • Develop enterprise capability, financial capability and economic and business understanding
  • See and make opportunities

For teaching staff at Lancaster interested in learning how they might start to introduce Enterprise into their modules the Bootleg Benchmarks offers a helpful eight-point check list from which to benchmark current practice.

Further reading on Enterprise and Entrepreneurship in the Curriculum in the QAA’s Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Guidance:  http://www.qaa.ac.uk/en/Publications/Documents/enterprise-entrepreneurship-guidance.pdf

For the academic Year 2017/18, The Enterprise Team will be working with faculty teaching staff who offer curricular placements, consultancy projects and/or competitions, to design and promote co-curricular enterprise sessions to enable students to build a foundation for their commercial awareness and concepts of value creation in preparation for contact  with organisations. This offer is enhanced by the opportunity to join a community of enterprise learners in the weekly ‘Labs’ in the Learning Zone.

To get connected with other teaching innovators at Lancaster you can join LEEN (Lancaster Enterprise Educators Network) for updates on events and opportunities available to teaching staff at Lancaster by registering here

EEUK’s International Enterprise Educators Conference happens every year in Early September. Slides and themes from this year’s event can be seen here and here. Lancaster university is a member organisation of EEUK and staff can attend the EEUK best practice events throughout the year for free. Regular updates through LEEN.

Careers and Enterprise through the Curriculum – guide to accompany pedagogy bench marking tool. (PDF Download Available). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319872913_Careers_and_Enterprise_through_the_Curriculum_-_guide_to_accompany_pedagogy_bench_marking_tool [accessed Sep 17, 2017].

Amanda Brooks, Enterprise Education Development Manager
Lancaster University Enterprise Team

 

Electric cars will be soon charging while driving!

Wired-up roads are the future, mostly due to Tesla Motors, who triggered the interest in electric cars that this generation feels.

Nikola Tesla, a genius will be not only please but also excited as his enthusiasm towards electrical vehicles has triggerred the interest of many. The wireless transmission of power is the future and is now turning into a reality. From a electric cars mat when you were a child to wiring the most popular roads in Britain, electric cars are certainly on the uprise.

These electric cars are in more demand than ever due to their low local emissions, but they are also known for their expensive prices and not having a long enough driving range. So imagine if you could charge them without a plug in cable, or even while moving.

Technology is advancing at a faster rate than ever with electric tooth brushes and smart phones being charged by being placed on top of a pad. Thanks to this technology, some electric cars are able to be charged by parking on top of charging pads, so that advancement of wire-up roads are closer than ever before! Recent studies show these roads with wireless charging coils are not expensive as you think and that the biggest part of the cost is the construction work itself.

Read our official report here.

Mastering Value Propositions – a webinar with Strategyzer

Following tomorrow’s IdeasLab (21st June 2017) we will be tuning in to Strategyzer’s webinar, Mastering Value Propositons, celebrating the launch of their new online course.

The webinar, which starts at 4pm (BST), aims to teach participants:

  • how the Value Proposition Canvas can help you to create the value your customer wants.
  • key insights, advice and tips on using the Value Proposition Canvas in your strategy and business discussions or experiments.
  • how the Value Proposition Canvas pairs with the Business Model Canvas and its methodology.

If you’d like to know more about the Value Proposition Canvas, and are free between 4pm – 5pm tomorrow, drop us a line to let us know you’re coming, and meet us in Pod 4, Learning Zone. 

Building Sustainable Businesses

Insights into building a sustainable business with Tony Henshaw (CSO Aditya Birla Group)

In this interactive session, Tony Henshaw, a Senior Executive at Aditya Birla Group, will share:

  • His insights on building sustainable businesses.
  • The risks and opportunities companies face.
  • A new view of what sustainability means for business leaders.
  • A three-step business model.

The Aditya Birla Group is an Indian company leading the way on sustainable business models. A global conglomerate with revenues of $42 billion and 120,000 employees in 34 countries, it produces (amongst other items) aluminum, copper, cement, fertiliser and textiles.

Since Tony joined in 2013 he has helped to formalise and integrate the principles and standards required to develop and enhance the company’s sustainable business. To learn more and have the opportunity to question and challenge the Aditya Birla Gorup in this area, why not come along to this session – Tony is very keen to hear people’s views on the topic.

When? Friday 23rd June, 11am-12pm

Where? Management School Lecture Theatre 3

Places are limited, to secure your space email: a.stowell@lancaster.ac.uk for more information click here.