March 20, 2023, by aczjb1

International Ingenuity Online

Here at the Haydn Green Institute, our primary aim is to equip students, STEM researchers and technicians – as well as community leaders – to address real world-challenges in a sustainable and responsible manner. And while our focus is usually on the UK’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, we have always loved collaborating with international partners – from hosting Ingenuity events in Malaysia, to YES competitions in Singapore.

We have recently been developing a new piece of ideation software called Ingenuity Online, based on our flagship pedagogy, the Ingenuity Process. Ingenuity Online is an interactive piece of software, designed for use in workshops and idea generation sessions, to help people to think creatively to come up with solutions for real-world problems. The software will allow us to increase our capacity for problem solving on a truly international scale, and in December last year, we were able to collaborate with one of Mexico’s most prestigious public universities, the Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas (FCB), part of the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in Northern Mexico, on trialling a beta-version of the software.

Facilitated by HGI’s Ingenuity Learning Support and Development Officer, Dr José Francisco González – an alumnus of FCB – we were able to offer 36 young Life Sciences researchers a creative problem-solving workshop, by showcasing the efficacy of the Ingenuity Process, while deploying a beta-version of Ingenuity Online.

Academic research on creativity argues that common ideation techniques, such as brainstorming, have the potential of hindering creative and innovative thinking as, in reality, it fails to capture the voice of all the participants involved. Therefore, a more democratic approach is suggested in the form of ‘brainwriting’. Ingenuity Online facilitates brainwriting while allowing participants to engage in divergent thinking in a judgement-free environment for more inclusive and democratic idea generation sessions.

Kevin Banuelos, FCB undergraduate

“This workshop provided our students about the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, and essential skills for starting and running a successful business while enabling them to explore alternative career paths and become financially independent by turning their research into profitable ventures,” said Rodrigo Sepúlveda, International Affairs Officer for FCB. “Hopefully, after attending this workshop, our students can create a new generation of science-based enterprises that can drive economic growth and innovation in the biotech and life science sectors in Nuevo León, Mexico.”

Kevin Bañuelos, an undergraduate student of Clinical Microbiology, reflected on the workshop and stated that “prior to the workshop, my problem-solving skills were not tested to this extent, but after attending the workshop, I feel more confident in my ability to approach and tackle complex problems. One of the reasons for this newfound confidence was the role played by the Ingenuity Online platform in facilitating the development of ideas. This platform offered a collaborative space where participants could come together and brain write ideas, thereby enhancing our collective potential for problem-solving.”

Aida Alvarez

Additionally, Aída Álvarez, a Biotech and Genomics student argued that “deploying the Ingenuity Online platform enabled me to have a glimpse at the different thinking styles of the other students I was collaborating with. This in turn enhanced our potential for idea generation, as we were able to stimulate our divergent thinking by looking at each other’s ideas without judgement and a ‘yes and-‘ attitude. I would definitely deploy the Ingenuity Online platform in my future professional practice as it can allow individuals within teams to connect either in-person or remotely to generate solutions to complex problems in a creative and adaptive manner.”

The beta version of Ingenuity Online has also been deployed as part of several HGI-run modules to improve the learning experience for undergraduates, MSc, MBA and Executive Education students as well as other relevant organisations from Northern Mexico. After the successful testing of this platform, we expected to incorporate Ingenuity Online to the current offering of the Institute with the aim to further support the development of the new generation of socially conscious and responsible problem-solvers and entrepreneurs.

Professor Simon Mosey, Director of HGI, had very positive comments on what the future holds for Ingenuity Online: “Jose’s work across three continents shows that creativity is an innate human capability, and it is heartening to see that the latest version of the Ingenuity software helps to unleash that creativity, especially for those that did not think it was possible.”

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