Fontys ICT InnovationHub(s) are vibrant open environments where education and practice-oriented research connect. There is space for learning, presenting, experimenting and exhibiting. Students work on innovative ICT solutions in collaboration with lecturers, researchers and professionals from the work field.
The Innovation Hub(s) ambition team achieved results in relation to three pillars:
Theme team leader Ferry Wonders: “We have established the first hub at Strijp TQ over the past four years: Fontys Innovation Lab. The space is mostly open with various work and presentation areas and has a number of labs (CreateLab, DemoLab, MakeLab, UX-Lab) with a specific design and tooling. Accessible workshops familiarise them with the research possibilities offered by the labs.” Former theme team leader Sandra Verhoeven adds: “Users collaborate intensively in small groups on projects and prototypes and exchange ideas in the social meeting places. An important element in the design of the environment is that we always sought input from our colleagues and students. The insights we gained from discussions, surveys and participation sessions contributed to a substantiated vision of the accommodation for Fontys ICT.”
Ferry: “The Fontys Innovation Lab is geared towards interaction between students, lecturers and professionals from outside. However, that doesn’t happen automatically. People first need to get to know it and then start using it. It requires constant energy and attention. The building is equipped with recognisable branding and signage inside and out to increase visibility and promote use. In addition, we organised all kinds of activities to enable visitors and users to experience the environment for themselves. By collaborating with (inter)national events such as Dutch Design Week, STRP, GLOW and Night of the Nerds, we have really raised the profile of the hub amongst internal and external stakeholders. Besides, all these activities have generated good media exposure in regional and national media.”
Sandra: “Het Fontys Innovation Lab is intentionally located off-campus to promote connection with the surrounding businesses. We encourage this by organising lunch sessions, project fairs and knowledge events. Innovation Insights and Updates Available are striking examples of this. We are also involved in setting up and maintaining SPARC, activities with a fixed group of partners in the work field. SPARC partners are intensively involved in research projects as clients and assessors and regularly serve as guest speakers.”
Ferry: “We succeeded in creating a vibrant hybrid learning/ work/research environment that forms an important connection between Fontys ICT’s internal and external world. It is obviously important that the Fontys Innovation Hub(s) are maintained and developed further. That is why we are now transferring our lessons learned to various parts of the organisation and recommending the appointment of an Innovation Manager to support further development.”
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