Friday, September 25, 2015

Teaching and Researching Innovation at UTS in Sydney

Building 15 is a centre for innovation and entrepreneurship, known informally as UTS's 'knowledge hub' at 632 Harris St, Ultimo, NSW 2007.
Greetings from the UTS Innovation Building (UTS's 'knowledge hub', Building 15,  632 Harris St, Ultimo, NSW 2007) in Sydney, where I am attending a seminar on innovation in vocational education.

Earlier I sat in on a UTS Hatchery Pre-Incubator session (which is similar to Canberra's Innovation ACT program, without the competitive element). Students undertake a semester long extra-curricular activity to learn about design thinking and preparing business plans for a new start-up.

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) also offer a Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation (BCII) as part of a double degree program.

The UTS Innovation Building also has the Designing Out Crime research centre and the UTS Design Innovation research centre.

The question which the UTS innovation initiatives, and the similar ones I have seen in Canberra, Perth, Vancouver, Colombo and Cambridge raises is how can we make this mainstream? These innovation programs fight for recognition in their conventional university, government and corporate environments.

ps: The UTS Innovation Building is adjacent to the new Frank Gehry designed Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, with the UTS Business school. The architecture of the two reflects opposite approaches to success in business. The Gehry building has a flamboyant exterior, with curved brick walls, an extravagant foyer with mirrored staircase, but relatively conventional classrooms. The Innovation building looks like the old nondescript factory/office building it was. Inside the industrial aesthetic of a New York loft apartment has been applied, with polished concrete floors, exposed pipework on the ceiling pained white and cardboard flexible dividers. The Hatchery itself in the basement has white desks on wheels, white-board paint walls and an open plan kitchen.The rooms upstairs have open plan co-working space style offices combined with a seminar room. Unlike a conventional university building, the "offices" are not divided off from the teaching area.

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