And there ends my first week at the Innovation Academy. I’ll be honest and say that before joining the course, I was a bit sceptical about its motivations and agenda. Academic engagement with industry and society more generally is very much the focus of every modern funding institution and as such you hear about and see a lot of initiatives coming out of the academy that are to my cynical mind somewhat superficially structured to address this new requirement; in other words, the universities are doing this because they are being told to by their paymasters and not because of any natural inclination towards greater inclusiveness.
I have to say though that after 5 days of working intensively with the IA, that this group at least is not a member of the lip service brigade. A lot of the methods that we have been encouraged to follow are logical and perhaps even obvious in some cases but that doesn’t mean to say that they are not incredibly useful when used within the creative process and personally speaking I’ll consciously try to employ them as often as I can in the future.
After a number of days of working within lots of different group permutations on problems of various shapes and sizes, we have now been allocated our final teams, our industry partners and we have been given a general overview of our challenge and we’ll be working within this framework for the remaining two weeks of the programme. And I have to say that I’m looking forward to it.
Here’s a link to a website for the StolenBikeMap project, which came out of our day working with the LeCool Dublin team) and the people at Broadsheet.ie (with thanks to the people at The Stag’s Head (http://www.stagshead.ie/) in Dublin for allowing us to take over their first floor for the afternoon). It addresses the bike theft problem in Dublin by allowing users to log details about any bike thefts that they have suffered and this data is then used to compile a map showing the areas of greatest bike theft activity in the capitol and you can check out a prototype of the site here.