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  • Author: Costas Mantzalos x
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A series of two-week international workshops was held in Joensuu, Finland during February 2010, in Glasgow, Scotland in February 2011 and again in Nicosia, Cyprus during February 2012. Entitled “Intercultural Innovation Insight Workshop” (3EYES), they were sponsored by the European Lifelong Learning programme. Students from Portugal, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland and the United Kingdom were placed in multi-cultural teams of five. Each team had two product designers, one graphic designer, one financial and one marketing student. They were set the task of devising new product ideas for a local company and they had two weeks within which to do it. These intensive workshops comprised lectures and practical tutorials as well as ideation sessions for the new product ideas and represent one way in which international issues may be appreciated and accommodated. During the first innovation camp the students examined product futures for a fairly large Finnish ceramics company, the Glasgow workshop liaised with a micro-company and during the third 3EYES workshop, the Municipality of Nicosia was helped in its bid to become the European City of Culture 2017. All three events dealt with a completely different clientele: the first was a medium sized company, the second a micro company and the third a Municipal authority. The output of the first two was expected to be a physical product or product idea whereas the third did not need to be a product of any sort. The previous paper, which was delivered in the South African conference last year, compared the first two events and discussed issues of social responsiveness, shared goals and identity. Now that the third (and last) event has taken place, it is time to take stock. We conclude that the students gain greatly from both cultural and functional interaction on a way that cannot be reproduced by means of local teaching. This experience is attitude forming and can transform motivation. It also has the desired effect of increasing the desire to go on Erasmus placements in subsequent years. The perceptions from staff who attended are compared with similar reflections from staff who worked on a different, video conference based, approach. The differences in the financial sustainability of such projects are discussed and the benefits of each model evaluated.