With the Fontys ICT InnovationLab, Fontys University of Applied Sciences ICT (FHICT) aims to create an interactive meeting place where students, lecturer-researchers and companies, among others, can learn together. The development of students and society/the work field are central to this. FHICT focuses on practice-oriented, context-specific issues of work field partners. It is not only about knowledge development, also Lifelong Development for professionals is seen as a characteristic of a knowledge institution.
Goal of knowledge creation and knowledge sharing
In creating the InnovationLab, the ambition was to form an interactive meeting place in the middle of the business world, a place where spontaneous encounters and cross-pollinations take place. To promote sustainable cooperation, the opportunity for businesses to become Partners in Innovation was created. This enables them to come and collaborate and develop at this location. Partners in Innovation are united in SPARC; Sharing Platform for Applied Research Co-operation. Partners in Innovation provide research questions in the field of innovation in ICT or with ICT. They can actively participate in a research team of third- and fourth-year students, lecturer-researchers and professors, or fulfil the role of product owner towards the student group. They provide issues and expertise, but also make use of the InnovationLab's workspaces, facilities, knowledge and materials.
The key question of research line B is: How is the cooperation in the ecosystem shaped to achieve the desired knowledge creation/knowledge sharing between education, research and business, and what role is played by the Strijp TQ location?
Cooperation with the professional field
In this part of the research we examined the partners; how many Partners in Innovation are there, what are their characteristics, what is the intensity of the collaboration and what role do they assume? We examined the characteristics of the type of research issues being worked on and which disciplines are involved.
Knowledge creation and knowledge sharing
We also analysed what knowledge creation and knowledge sharing is intended and what is realised. How does knowledge sharing between education and companies come about and is knowledge being shared between companies?
We examined the impact of the research; is there knowledge development within partner organisations? Does innovation occur within these organisations as a result of the research?
Image and identity
Finally, we took a closer look at the recognition of Fontys as a knowledge institution. How does the InnovationLab and its educational concept contribute to this?
Plan of approach
In addition to research triangulation (multiple researchers trying to answer the same questions), methodical triangulation was also used: several methods were applied to form a picture as complete as possible. For this part of the study, a lot of desk research was done on the partner network, educational tools, knowledge events and expressions. We took surveys of Partners in Innovation and companies in the area. We enriched this with qualitative data in the form of (participatory) observations, in-depth interviews and focus groups with education coordinators, field partners and experts. Finally, a market survey was conducted by Markteffect. For line B, the target group consisted mainly of partners, companies in the region and internal experts, and to a slightly lesser extent lecturers and students.