Weeks 4, 5 & 6

Week 4

Dawn Shand from the Scottish Institute for Enterprise was in to run a workshop. She talked to the students about identifying trends in the market, through looking at a series of signals from a variety of innovations currently developing around the world. After the presentation, everyone was tasked in groups with combining two or more of the example innovations, to form something completely new. Having personally taken part in this workshop before, way back when I was starting up my own enterprise, I was already appreciative of how these insights can influence your own ideas and thought process.

Following on from Dawn’s workshop, the students were then back into their teams, narrowing down their challenges to a single solution. By the end of Week 4 each solution had a name, a focus to their project and a rough idea of who they need to speak to.

Week 5
Week 5 was mostly all about the groups cracking on with their solutions, and identifying potential stakeholders. Groups also had to come up with the specific questions they’d ask in meetings with these stakeholders, and were given contact details by the CityLab team to get in touch with people in the upcoming weeks. They each presented their ideas to the other groups for the first time, giving constructive feedback one another. The first thing that became apparent to everyone was how the projects could potentially fit together if they get off the ground. At this point I observed that groups were quite nervous to question others, and most of the questions came from the CityLab team. That began to change going into Week 6.

Week 6
Students acted out how their product or service would be used, through role play. Each group had a different approach- some utilised all group members and had clearly put a bit of thought into it, others just winged it. After each performance, the floor was opened up to more questioning from the other groups, as to why certain things happened and how the scenario could play out differently depending on alternative circumstances. Utilising this peer to peer feedback, as has been the case throughout the past few weeks, is a way of analysing all the projects at once, including the student’s own group, as similar issues crop up such as where data is coming from with all the solutions.

Additionally, we had a visit from a representative of Opportunity North East, the private sector’s response to the challenge times currently facing the region’s economy. They will also be there at the final presentations, and is definitely and organisation the student groups will hope to impress with their ideas. The students definitely impressed with their role playing scenarios, which bodes well for the final presentations coming up.

The weeks have flown in, and the solutions are taking shape. The diversity I’ve mentioned before within the group of students making up this Cohort is reflected in the four projects, which will make for a very interesting final few weeks.

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