You don’t have to be a genius to spark ideas, turn concepts on their heads or inspire groups to work in the same direction – you just need tools! A collection of such tools was newly published in English by the Unit for Bioentrepreneurship, UBE, at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.
The Unit for Bioentrepreneurship conducts research on and education in innovation and entrepreneurship. The toolbox—which is in the form of a booklet—contains tools to ”awaken and stimulate your own and other’s creativity, find new perspectives and collaborate with others”. The content represents years of experience of studying, learning and promoting entrepreneurship at the UBE. The toolbox was compiled within the framework of two projects, KI 2.0 and KI 2.1, supported by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket).
Crastina got in touch with Linda Johansson, Project Manager at UBE.
Hi Linda! Tell us a little about the Toolbox, how it took form and in which contextexts the tools have been used so far!
Hi! The toolbox has been growing and taking form for many years, through our work with entrepreneurship at UBE, most recently through two specific projects focusing on how to implement entrepreneurship in higher education. By discussing the meaning of the word entrepreneurship with teachers, students, researchers, professionals and pretty much anyone who was willing to talk to us, we realized that what we actually need in order to become more entrepreneurial at our university, is to start spending more time on generic skills and focus on what creates value for students, teachers and society. And room for creativity in higher education. The format that we decided on (a book – the printed version is still only available in Swedish) was actually a decision we made very late in the process (the summer of 2015). Most toolboxes are online today so we wanted something tangible, something concrete, that you can touch, feel, bring to your meeting, write in and give away. There is a lot of power in a book. We also wanted to leave something behind, after the completion of our projects. Something symbolic. This is the short version of the story behind the toolbox.
The tools presented in the toolbox are a mix of tools that already exist (we obviously can’t claim to be the people who invented brainstorming or SWOT analysis) and tools that we have invented ourselves. We have used them in projects, workshops, teaching, development of our own unit at KI and also at parties. Some of the tools make great conversation starters.
Why should the Toolbox matter to the young science or tech person?
To help anyone, young or old, to continue to be creative, curious and find inspiration for new ideas. Depending on your experience (you don’t have to be ”old” to be experienced), you might want hints and ideas on how to build a team and collaborate. Also, since we have decided to use the Design Thinking method as a foundation and orientation for the tools, it can be interesting for young science or tech people who are interested in or are already using this method to create and learn.
Also, the Creative Commonons license gives you the opportunity to play around with the tools, develop them and create new and fun ways of dealing with tasks.
Give three pieces of advice to someone who wants to spawn fresh ideas, find inspiration and get new contacts for a science or tech related project!
Well, first of all a small piece of advice for someone who feels stuck in their process: Step away from your problem or challenge for a minute. Then ask yourself: What makes me creative? And start there. Experiencing a problem with your 3D-printer? You love cooking? Great! Step away from the printer and spend the evening cooking instead. When you let your brain do something else that it loves, you ususally gets new and fresh ideas. Let your passion inspire you. The same thing goes for spaces and different environments. Spend your day working or studying in a new place and meet new people. Share your ideas with them and ask for input. I guess that counts as two pieces of advice.
Last but not least, I would say get to know the people closest to you better. Sometimes we are so busy thinking and looking outside our boxes, that we forget to look inside them. Find a ball of yarn. Gather a group of people that you work with and use the first tool in the toolbox. Start with a question that will make people share things that you didn’t know or that will be of use for your task. Incredibly interesting experiences and magic skills might be revealed. This tool also works really well with people you don’t know yet.
So to find out how to use the first tool, you will have to read the book J.
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