The first lab of the 2019 Crucible took place at Bailbrook House in Bath on the 6th and 7th February. On day one – inspired by Simon Sinek’s ‘Start With Why’ – we were encouraged to start by thinking about why we do the research we do and following on from that, why digital innovation matters and why it is an issue we align ourselves with. Leaving aside inducing the fear of having to make eye contact with strangers, the exercise quickly proved useful for identifying shared interests and expertise.
Building on this, we then embarked on an exercise to map influences and relationships in our ‘research landscape’. The result was an unexpected outpouring of artistic talent and imaginative renderings (think metaphorical desert islands) of those things that impact upon us: policy and research priorities, organisational and social factors, funding opportunities, and engagement with other researchers and the public.
Day two of the lab focused on communicating research and identifying stakeholders who can influence, or be influenced by, our research. A large part of the day was taken up in conversation about how we can seek to publicise our research to various audiences. It was clear that many valuable opportunities exist – news media, radio, blogging, social media to name a few – but ultimately the conclusion was reached that any engagement strategy has to be what works for us and our research.
The next lab takes place on the 20th and 21st March at Padbrook House in Cullompton and promises to be another engaging, entertaining, optimistic – and tiring – couple of days.