Designing the Future of Knowledge Transfer

I’m proud to report that a project I have been leading at Prospect to deliver a vision for Unlocking Knowledge Transfer (KT) in the UK on behalf of the Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network (CI KTN) is now complete, and the Unlocking Knowledge Transfer Executive Summary can be downloaded. It summarises three robust reports illustrating a number of new services, spaces and tools that will help bring academia and the creative industries closer together.

The three reports can be found in my Projects section – I recommend starting with the third of the three Opportunities for Unlocking Knowledge Transfer and digging further if that whets your appetite.

Summary

CIKTN needed a robust vision of the future of knowledge transfer between the creative industries and academia in the UK. We engaged a wide audience through workshops, online surveys and an online platform to develop future scenarios which inspired a number of new opportunities for KT.
Over the course of five months, hundreds of people contributed to inform the three reports which map out the future of KT in the UK, with 16 opportunities (actionable initiatives, services, spaces and roles) for improving KT in the creative industries.

Problem

Now, more than ever, businesses are investing in the knowledge economy to catalyse innovation. The UK’s academic institutions are world leaders in creating knowledge and ideas. The Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network (CIKTN) invited Prospect to lead a strategic project exploring the future of creating, sharing and applying this wealth and better connecting academia and business.
Historically, the Creative Industries have not engaged with ‘knowledge transfer’ (KT) on the same scale as industries such as sciences and engineering, for example. Add to this a harsh economic climate and the increasing overlapping and competition between business and academia and you have a knotty problem; one that design is ideally suited to solve.

Solution

We used a holistic design approach and methodologies in a way that would engage a broad spectrum of people, and make sense of a diverse range of reactions, comments and ideas. This collaborative, co-creative process not only helped us gather information and insights from these stakeholders, but also encourage them to generate new solutions to possible developments in the future.

The project pivoted around the creation of four future scenarios, based on economic, social, cultural and environmental trends amongst other factors. These were designed to challenge and provoke participants and ask; ‘How would you thrive in this new world?’; ‘What do you fear?’; and ‘What needs to be done?’.

Impact

Online surveys, expert interviews, future scenarios and five workshops conducted around the UK informed the three reports delivered through the project. The first, Baselines, documents today’s landscape of knowledge sharing between the UK’s creative industries and academia. The second, Scenarios, illustrates possible futures and documents how our participants reacted to them. The third, Opportunities, presents a series of robust reccomendations for future services, spaces and initiatives, balancing a wealth of views with feasibility and sustainability, realised through a powerful strategic design process.