AAU SEA

Project Description:

Background

Entrepreneurship and founding new companies by student entrepreneurs at Aalborg University, is characterized by being few in numbers although very successful. During the last 10 years, different approaches to strengthening this part of AAU have been tested, and some elements implemented, through curricular courses and startup support services. A few attempts have been made at creating a dedicated physical space for entrepreneurs, but no attempts have so far been implemented.

Case:

To further strengthen entrepreneurship at AAU, funding has been secured to build AAU Science and Innovation Hub, which we will be a building with the objective of facilitating collaboration with industry, developing innovative solutions and acting as a hub for university based startups. The incubator should be able to embrace entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs  ranging from students who are curious about entrepreneurship but with no experience, to dedicated graduates working professionally in building their startups.

Immediate Challenges:

There are many stakeholders around entrepreneurship in the region, and internally at AAU, there are numerous stakeholders who have an opinion on i.e. how to build, manage and develop a startup hub, which KPI an incubator should strive to reach etc.

But how do we secure that we have a valuable solution for students and graduates interested in entrepreneurship until the new building is ready?

And how do we make sure that the experience of this work is gathered and used in building AAU Science and Innovation Hub.

And How do we manage to build a central startup hub whilst ensuring that AAU’s different academic environments take responsibility in building this part of of AAU.

Goal:

Secure that innovation and entrepreneurship become a natural part of the culture at AAU, and that Aalborg University is considered one of the top performing universities in the world when it comes to creating startup companies through a unique incubator, which is aligned with the overall purposes of a university and which has a business model that is sustainable.

Team:

Busola Adebusuyi – Industrial Design

Luke Kelly – Entrepreneurial Engineering

Lucian Lungu – Entrepreneurial Engineering

Henrik Brogaard – Industrial Design

Demo 1: A simple kitchen analogy


Demo 2: A traffic light analogy


Concept 1: The transparent separator


Concept 2: The interactive board


Concept 3: The incubator floorplan

The process behind the ideas

The first days of U-CrAc were most probably the same for everyone: "There are lots of people surrounding us, most if which we don't know. At the same time, a handful of presenters seemed eager to see the results of this year's three-week Creative Academy workshop. The eight cases were prepared and students ready for briefing: let's get 2016's U-CrAc on the road!


intropeople
We started off with a meeting together with our case-partner - SEA AAU - and the two other teams working on the same case. With the help of our contact at SEA, Morten Dahlgaard, we understood a bit more what the aim of our case was and went on to brainstorm towards new ideas on how to improve incubators, but more important, what an incubator was!
Thursday the 8th of September was our first fieldwork day, where we visited the Start-up Cafe in Aalborg, in our attempt to obtain some user feedback, see what the idea behind the cafe was and find out about how they feel about being there, what was it they did in the cafe and what improvements they could maybe think of bringing.
startupcafe
We filmed, found out the most important aspects of the Start-up cafe were the physical location, which was hyggeligt, and the fact that they could expand by network by meeting new and interesting people out there.
Friday was fieldwork day two, where we visited the AAU's incubator on Fibigerstræde 11. We were fortunate to find several start-ups there and have three interviews with the young entrepreneurs working on their projects there. More insight was in our hands!
fibigerstraede
After lunch we headed to another incubator, this time at UCN - University College Nordjylland. It was called NextStep and our contact person was Thomas Fisker whom from we gained even more information as to what a incubator's role is. It was pleasing to see one start-up had in fact a Business Model Canvas up on the wall for us to have a direct view over some of their progress.
canvas
Back to Nordkraft next Monday, we had a synthesis over what happened and how we could synthesize our results so far. Until next Tuesday (week 2), we worked on a short presentation for the upcoming meeting with our contact at SEA AAU, which helped us adjust our course
synthesisboard
Meanwhile, in order to further develop our team creativity and expressiveness we attended a workshop, and also put into practice, the "Sand Box" technique, where we chose random figures which attracted us (every team member) and placed them in a sand box in a way which would make sense to every individual. After all the figures were set and no further modifications were needed, the team interpreted the scenery from different angles. This gave us a fresh new view about the incubators, from several other perspectives.
Sandbox
Week three started off with a new meeting with our case-partner where we presented our five initial concepts. The one-hour talk with Morten Dahlgaard yielded valuable feedback, as we understood which were Aalborg University's expectations from us. The five concepts would be combined into *in the perfect situation* a final solution which could be implemented by AAU in order to develop an entrepreneurial culture and at the same time use our current resources in order to attract and motivate future entrepreneurs.
For idea generation we used the post-it, combined with the "15-minute-no-talk" technique, in order to promote creativity.
redpostit
Following our morning meeting, we attended a workshop about how to concentrate our ideas into one concept, which was held by Peter Vistissen and Claus Rosenstand at Nordkraft. Our team decided to use one of the models presented in the workshop, in order to guide our way through what was most important in our concepts: design-wise and quality-wise.
designcriteria
The last days of week 38 were all about putting together the final concept, an intuitive video presenting it and working after-hours to get everything looking "good enough". As always, we had to tune down our expectations, as time was not on our side.
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