Goldsmiths Digital: harnessing the power of fusion
- Published: Monday, 18 May 2015 11:51
- Written by National Centre for Universities and Business
Case study by Goldsmiths University of London
The London Creative Digital Fusion project included the Fusion Collaboration Award scheme giving SMEs a voucher, worth £10,000, to purchase bespoke knowledge exchange services.
Goldsmiths, University of London secured a high proportion of these projects and in response Goldsmiths’ Research and Enterprise Office worked with the Creative Computing department to establish a new specialist consulting unit, ‘Goldsmiths Digital’. Since its inception, Goldsmiths Digital has raised over £322,000 towards supporting local businesses, student work placements and funding two PhD students whose theses focus on university-business partnerships.
Innovation sometimes means a business must step into unfamiliar territory with limited knowledge. We learnt that bridging this gap whilst managing expectations and realistic outcomes was the key to a successful project. We met this challenge by taking a collaborative approach, with co-creation at the heart of all our activities.
The mutual exchange of ideas between universities and research partners in commercial sectors brings new insights, perspectives and lasting collaborations. At Goldsmiths, this feeds back into teaching whilst ensuring our research makes a real difference to the world beyond academia. We believe in the benefits of interdisciplinary work and responded to a number of these projects by involving a range of disciplines, combining expertise in social sciences, design thinking and creative technologies.
The Performance and Wellbeing project is an example of one such collaboration. An interdisciplinary team from Goldsmiths Digital and i2 Media Research, a spinoff consultancy from the department of Psychology, used Performance and Wellbeing’s existing business coaching methodologies and paper-based tools to inform the design of a digital coaching tool. The team created a highly successful prototype of a cloud-based application, accessible via a smartphone, taking the non-digital company into the digital arena whilst improving their client services and promoting further growth.
“It has been invaluable to us working with the Goldsmiths team. We wouldn’t normally have access to this kind of expertise and were impressed with their professionalism and empathy with our client’s needs. We are looking into further funding and would love to continue working on this project with Goldsmiths,” says Paul John-Baptiste, Director of Operations and Client Services, Performance and Wellbeing.
In November 2014 Goldsmiths hosted the ‘Innovation Powerhouse’ conference, held to celebrate and highlight the impact delivered by all the partner HEIs in supporting London-based businesses in the creative and digital sectors through the London Fusion programme. The audience included start-ups and small companies, members of Lewisham Council’s Regeneration and Innovation team, representatives from the ERDF London Fusion and the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Creativeworks London initiatives, academic project teams and established businesses.
Goldsmiths plans to continue working with the London Fusion partners on a legacy of the initiative, which concluded in December 2014. This will include jointly seeking further funding and establishing an ‘alumni network’ of the start-up SMEs so that they can continue to engage with university partners to grow innovation.