Since September 2018, the Fontys ICT InnovationLab has been located at the innovative Strijp-T in Eindhoven. Here, FHICT has realised 4 Open ICT Labs (OILs), stemming from the educational concept based on High Impact Learning that Lasts. Various research units from the third and fourth study year are housed on 4,000 m2 in building TQ.
Strijp TQ is a unique location not only through its history, but also distinguishes itself by its physical location off campus, where the professional field forms a structural part of the learning environment. This hybrid concept is relatively new, more expensive than usual Fontys accommodation and requires a process of transformative learning.
Which spatial, financial and organisational conditions are needed to make the InnovationLab sustainable for the longer term? To this end, we identify a number of scenarios that are developed on the basis of the dimensions Time, Space, People and Resources. The data we collect in research line C gives input to the scenarios based on the four dimensions mentioned above.
In this part of the study, we initially looked at the financial and organisational conditions of the InnovationLab; occupancy and utilisation rates versus operating costs. What is the situation now and what is needed for the future to achieve a sustainable teaching venue? This was the starting point of line C. The influence of COVID-19 and a change in the research team created a desire to expand the focus and make more connections with the other research lines. This led to the formulation of new sub-questions in the area of physical proximity and physical identity.
In this research, the spatial context of the InnovationLab is classified at three scales: micro, meso and macro level. At micro level, we look at the spatial layout and appearance of the InnovationLab, at meso level at how it relates to the area around Strijp-T and macro level zooms out to the Lab's role in the wider Brainport settlement region.
Professional development and well-being
We explored how the InnovationLab is perceived by its users; how is the feeling of well-being of students and teachers? We paid attention to the energy sources and stressors they experience in the Lab.
Knowledge creation and knowledge sharing
How does the location inhibit or encourage the creation of innovation? We analysed the process of knowledge creation and if the location adds value to the process. The focus was on knowledge sharing between companies and education and among companies. We particularly looked at organised events with a main focus on knowledge sharing with the field.
Cooperation with the professional field
Does the location encourage spontaneous encounters? We looked at how our partners perceive the location; does it add value and how, or does it contain barriers?
Image and identity
How does the physical proximity at Strijp TQ affect the relationship with the neighbourhood and region? We explored both existing and potential collaborative relationships between the InnovationLab and the region. We also looked at the extent to which the InnovationLab is perceived as a place for open innovation.
Plan of approach
We used methodical triangulation: several methods were applied to form a picture as complete as possible. For this part of the study, we used desk research, conducted a benchmark study of similar hybrid learning environments in the Netherlands, interviewed site stakeholders, observed building use and change in terms of furnishing, and conducted a neighbourhood and market survey.
The target group for line C consisted, depending on scale level, of comparable HLO, companies, location stakeholders and partners, teachers and students. For the neighbourhood and market research, companies at Strijp-T and relevant companies from the Brainport Region were surveyed, respectively.