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SOLVERS Teaching & Learning Conference. Jane Nolan MBE Entrepreneur in Residence and Development Officer (Careers Service) Katie Wray Lecturer in Enterprise (SAgE Faculty). Entrepreneurial Students. Some statistics: 30 student/graduate businesses start each year

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Solvers teaching learning conference

SOLVERSTeaching & Learning Conference

Jane Nolan MBE

Entrepreneur in Residence and Development Officer (Careers Service)

Katie Wray

Lecturer in Enterprise (SAgE Faculty)

Entrepreneurial students
Entrepreneurial Students

  • Some statistics:

  • 30 student/graduate businesses start each year

    • 23 so far this academic year

    • 34 last financial year

  • Aug 2010 – April 2011:

    • 1332 students/graduates engaged


  • Short Ice-breaker activity

  • Introduction to SOLVERS model & Creative Thinking

  • Case Studies

  • Sharing our use of the model

  • Having a go at a World Cafe

  • Brief presentations of your findings

  • Conclusions and Q & A

Session objectives
Session Objectives:

  • have learnt a bit more about Rise Up activity

  • have explored the societal challenges

  • have thought about the grand challenges for teaching

  • and learning

  • have had a go at a world cafe

  • be equipped to run your own World Cafe on issues that are relevant to your team or students

Intensive solvers series
Intensive Solvers Series

  • Post Graduate Researcher Development workshops

  • Introducing knowledge and skills around commercialisation and business

  • Using real life problems and issues as provocations

  • Entrepreneurial academics – Will Dracup, Prof Max Robinson, Dr Gavin Clark

Intensive solvers series1
Intensive Solvers Series

  • Real life problem or issue

  • Creative thinking session

  • Problem solving and solution finding

  • Set up a hypothetical business – engaging with the terminology and concepts

  • Make an elevator pitch

  • Receive feedback and hear what actually happened

Intensive solvers series2
Intensive Solvers Series

  • 3.5 - 4 hours duration

  • Very interactive

  • Delivered in HASS and SAgE

  • Very good feedback from students

  • Hope to use a cross faculty approach in future

Intensive solvers series3
Intensive Solvers Series

  • Piloted the workshops with taught masters students

  • Also piloted with undergraduates, School of English

  • Using the university’s societal challenge themes as provocations

  • Created links with institutes and networks within the university- IaH, SiDE, Transport Newcastle

Intensive solvers series4
Intensive Solvers Series

  • School of English Undergraduates – Stages 1-3 – provocation provided by SiDE- digital kitchen and digital jewellery

  • Not simply advanced technologies - also engaging human stories and possibilities

  • Connecting students from HASS faculty to digital research – interesting product and service ideas were generated

Intensive solvers series5
Intensive Solvers Series

  • IAH – have highlighted huge opportunities being created by the baby boomer generation and the issues of an ageing population

  • A wealth of engaging stories and case studies which bring the research and the opportunities to life

  • Providing research informed teaching

The market opportunity
The Market Opportunity

  • Over 50s currently 20 million strong and growing fast – hold 80% of the nation’s wealth

  • As much as 40% (£260bn) of total UK annual consumer spending can be attributed to the UK over 50s

  • YET currently receive only in the region of 10%

    of marketing focus !

    “Just because I’m over 60 nobody

    wants to sell me anything any more”

    Germaine Greer

Intensive solvers series6
Intensive Solvers Series

  • Third pilot –working with a Research Group

  • Transport Newcastle network – Intelligent Transport theme, route mapping exercise with a multi disciplinary research group and key external stakeholders

  • Using Solvers approach and creative thinking techniques to map out research priorities for the next 5 years +

Intensive solvers series7
Intensive Solvers Series

  • An effective, flexible and highly interactive way to engage people with the societal challenge themes and spark entrepreneurial thinking

  • In context of an increased focus on research impact including through commercialisation

  • Building communities and connections between students, researchers, the societal challenge themes, institutes, stakeholders and highlighting opportunities

Creative thinking
Creative Thinking

  • Divergent

  • Convergent

Quantity of ideas

Finding the best idea

Divergent thinking
Divergent Thinking

  • Determine goals, explore possibilities

  • Generate ideas – lots of them!

  • Think as widely as possible

  • Don’t think about why you can’t do something

  • Include the obvious

  • Don’t judge the ideas

Solvers teaching learning conference


As many ideas as possible

No such thing as a silly idea

No criticism

No judgements


Coin Press

Wine Press

Printing Press

Power of end user
Power of End User


Convergent thinking
Convergent Thinking

Second phase:


Using criteria to focus on ideas with potential

Decision making, analysing options,

Creating plans and actions

The history of world cafe

The History of World Cafe

Juanita Brown & David Isaacs (1995)

“To discuss an issue”

Case studies
Case Studies

  • 1) Enterprisers

  • 2) New Food Product Development Module

  • 3) ACTION 2011 Sustainability Challenges

  • 4) Intelligent Transport Route Mapping

World caf
World Café

Divergent thinking phase – brainstorming in a World Café session

Provocations at each base

Write your ideas on the large sheet

Build on other people’s ideas

Can make notes, draw pictures etc

“I wish...” “If only.....”

World caf1

After 10 minutes change base

Work with new people

Review the brainstorm on the table,build on it with more ideas

Add completely new ideas

Visit each base only once

Every 10 minutes change bases -

More brainstorming – “I wish...”, “If only...”

World Café

World caf2

Final Base – 20 minutes

Convergent thinking

Review the ideas generated at your current base - “How might we....”

Combine ideas, refine, reject, select

Focus on the ideas with the most potential

Does the idea meet needs? Is there any scope for commercialisation around the idea?

World Café

Solvers teaching learning conference


Thank You Very Much