Research & Research Development

If you’re responsible for improving research at your University, you’ve probably noticed the trend: interdisciplinary collaboration and team science are becoming critical to scientific research. This involves engaging academics across disciplines and building communities of researchers with overlapping or complimentary expertise. But how do you get these people together? How do you build these teams? How do you keep these diverse teams functioning?

Or perhaps you run a lab; you’re PI on a project. It’d be really useful to have new ways to inspire your colleagues to collaborate, to solve problems more creatively, or just accelerate your lab’s process of producing novel ideas. But how?

There’s also this: the idea of a team building workshop makes you cringe, but wouldn’t it be nice if you all worked together more like a team? The right kind of content-focused workshop can do that, without the touchy-feely bits.

Maybe some of the articles below will help you think about what you want to do, and how Knowinnovation might help you.


Know Further:


The Language of Creativity

The Language of Creativity

This raised our attention to the fact of how much we rely on language to convey meaning, and that if we don’t have a shared understanding, it’s harder to work together and collaborate creatively. Even the creative collaboration has its own language. Just as the scientists arrive with their own lexicon, so do we facilitators. We’ve learned, over time, that the syntax of our métier has been crafted to aide innovation. By using our language deliberately, we can be induce more creative responses.

Speeding up Science

Speeding up Science

Online networks like these make it easier to connect with strangers. No longer are we confined to swimming into the small sea of connections in our own discipline. You can discover and tune into the conversations of strangers, and – if you are willing to invest time into building personal relationships online – you can turn strangers into friends and collaborators. And that is good for creativity, and good for science.

Size Matters

Size Matters

Except group work can be clunky and cumbersome. You have to spend longer clarifying the objectives, aligning resources and getting people on board. Sometimes, it can seem nearly impossible to achieve the consensus necessary to advance within a task. Groups are a powerful mechanism to produce innovative solutions, but getting to that product can be arduous, particularly if it’s not well facilitated.

Be Deliberate

Be Deliberate

Creative ideas sometimes come as a surprise, but they don’t have to be an accident. Instead of waiting for good ideas to arrive at random or by luck; we can hunt them down. When you use a creative process – whether it’s for a short meeting, a 2-day or week-long workshop or a 3-year project – you can deliberately to take up the challenge to generate from scratch, and on demand, a creative solution.

Female Factor

Female Factor

Science is a subject available to both genders and yet women, if not directly discouraged, haven’t been as encouraged to pursue it as a field of study. Girls are steered toward languages and the liberal arts, implying that maths and sciences are better left to the boys. It’s a stereotype that’s been torn down and yet the gender imbalance is still apparent in the field of scientific research and academics.

The Productive Dissident

The Productive Dissident

It takes a lot of energy to have an opinion, and in certain phases of an innovative process – or even just a discussion – strong opinions can also shut people down and thwart the process, killing wilder options too soon or without proper development. There’s good reason to ask for a more positive kind of evaluation. But it is possible to err on the side of too positive, too blue-sky, too willing to set feasibility aside in service to the goal of achieving wild ideas.

Right, then.

Right, then.

Still there you are in some meeting, ostensibly about cultivating novel solutions to a chronic problem and the standard assumptions are upheld – sometimes even defended – usually by the person who thinks they know better. The person who needs to be right, gets to be right – but often at the expense of novel ideas and potential innovation.

The Naïve Mind

The Naïve Mind

If your team is fairly expert, it might help to invite a non-expert who may be especially fluid or creative, but who’s in the dark about the subject at hand. Their questions often end up redefining the problem, and because they are unencumbered with the conventional wisdom, they are freer to think of wild and unusual ideas to solve a problem. Even if their ideas are too far out, they can at least provoke the thinking of the rest of the group an unlock them from their habitual thinking.