We designed the final morning session of the Creative Exchange Conference to turn the exciting and highly stimulating discussions of the first day of the conference into something more tangible, something that could really help to set the direction for further development of innovative knowledge exchange in the future.
The PROUD event we ran had 2 key dimensions. Firstly we analysed and summarised the activities of the first day of activity. We achieved this overnight with the assistance of 6 leading experts in the field of knowledge exchange, each of theses people lead a centre for knowledge exchange in the UK with research funding of over €8million. From these sometimes heated and always stimulation discussions an analysis we derived 8 key principles for knowledge exchange. The first act of the PROUD event was to introduce this to the 100 or so participants and invite them to challenge, modify and develop their own alternatives. The final result was the co-design of the 8 manifesto points listed below.
1. Develop a robust body of research on KE with a critical distance
2. Business and University to work as one; unified around a common vision and set of values.
3. Developing KPIs you can believe in
4. Construct spaces that energise passions
5. Actively develop new hybrids professionals
6. Be confident in what you mean by Knowledge Exchange
7. Develop multiple eco systems – business, academic, social
8. Develop a robust body of research on Knowledge Exchange with a critical distance
We did not want to regard these as ‘commandments’ that had to be followed in a mechanistic manner, that would be alien to the essence of knowledge exchange. Rather we wanted the participants in the conference to explore the issues, nuances, the dimensions of each of these to develop a more sophisticated understanding of each of them. To facilitate this we created 8 very different types of canvas or problem space to aid the exploration of the dimensions of each of these issues. Each of these ‘canvases’ had one thing in common, they had a dramatic physical presence that allowed a group of 10 people to all directly engage with their physical nature and use them to map out the key components of each manifesto point. Canvases included a 2.5meter cubed wooden shape covered in blackboard paint, a 2 meter diameter beach ball and 500 white cardboard boxes of many different sizes.
The groups explored the dimensions of their manifesto points by marking them on the tools provided and then giving illustrations of the examples that fit within these spaces. For example the group exploring the issue of hybrid professionals looked at dimensions of business, academic and NGO/Government/Policy dimensions and were particularly interested in the valuing of cross disciplinary and cross sector working. They created a flock of birds, each one with an example of great (and some not so great) experiences of working in this hybrid Manner. The design and exploration of the PROUD KE manifesto is currently the subject of a research project that will result in publications and further insights in the coming months.