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This is a quick report on the meeting of the “Open Innovation” and “Access to Resources” projects that are part of the Business and Community Engagement programme. The meeting (held at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Bristol) on the 23 November, 2010, was the first time that all of the projects had met in person.

The projects in attendance, included:

  • MyMobileBristol, University of Bristol (Open Innovation)
  • O2I, University of Cornwall (Open Innovation)
  • REALISE, University of Southampton (Open Innovation)
  • Bracken, Swansea Metropolitan University (Access to Resources)
  • Open Biz, University of Edinburgh (Access to Resources)
  • RES-KN, University of Plymouth (Access to Resources) [5]

The meeting had a number of objectives:

  • Project introductions and getting a clearer understanding of the objectives of the programme.
  • Exploring the creation of a supportive environment.
  • Looking at the strengths and expertise that exists between the projects that might be shared and to identify gaps.
  • Possible collaborations.
  • Identifying stakeholders.
  • What would be considered a successful outcome for the project.

Simon Whittemore, the programme manger, identified the common strands between the projects:

  • All are pilots and demonstrators, and so have an innovation role.
  • All are expected to generate and facilitate innovation in a BIS sense, i.e. actual creation of products and services.
  • All should be exploring online marketplaces and services.
  • All are at the leading edge of their sector – they are exploratory.
  • All are focussing on partnerships.

The work of the projects will be helped by a Support and Synthesis team. They will try and gather key topics and issues across the projects and will try and make use of them. This might include organising sessions based around common topics and themes identified today include Intellectual Property models, especially in relation to Open Source software; Web 2.0 tools; data usage and ownerships; the tension between collaboration and competition.

We were also introduced to the different services that could be provided by JISC Advance in supporting the aims of the project.

From a collaboration point of view I think the REALISE project will be in touch, since they are focussed on accessibility of online tools. A number of projects were also interested in mobile technologies, although not necessarily MyMobileBristol. I pointed out that the project team and ILRT had expertise in project management, technical management, a strong record in successful bid submissions and technical expertise in web and mobile technologies. I also pointed out the project team was employing experts in usability, user experience and design.

Punam Khosla from the Acumen project will be contacting us to help refine stakeholder analysis; including both internal and external stakeholders. They are going to take a “holistic view” of all the projects and will create a stakeholder map. They will look for both synergies and gaps and will help publicise project successes.

In identifying success, I suggested that the University adopting MyMobileBristol as a service beyond the end of the project could be seen as a success. In hindsight, I should have pointed out, even if a different product was used, the adoption of case studies, relationships with third parties, lessons learnt would also be successes.

We were told to gather any evidence of impact, such as feedback from events (including video clips). So, the outputs from our recent Developing for the Mobile Web workshop should be useful in this regard. When we work on stake holder analysis and user engagement, it might be useful to record the interviews at the end of the project to see if we have met expectations.

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