The importance of conjugating academic insights with industry engagement in management field
From the 4th to the 8th of July, my institute, RMIT Europe, hosted the first EINST4INE Summer School. Over the course of the week, numerous activities took place, enabling us, ESRs, to expand our academic knowledge, from one side, and understand the new horizons and frontiers in innovation and digital transformation, from the other.
On Tuesday, the 5th of July, we got the opportunity to participate in an industrial challenge involving two of our consortium partners: Innoget and Enel.
I took part in the challenge proposed by Innoget, which expected us to draw an applied technology roadmap for a clear understanding of potentially available digital solutions to improve the interactions among the different stakeholders.
Roadmaps are practical tools that help to clearly visualize plans for long-term objectives. During the summer school we attended a lecture by Dr. Rob Phaal who gave us a theoretical understanding of “roadmapping” and its potential applications in numerous fields, including our PhD journey.
During the Innoget challenge, people from my team and I firstly set a horizontal timeline on the top and a vertical column on the left, including the “why” (i.e., the objectives), the “what” (i.e., the elements we need to get the objectives) and the “how” (i.e., elements to build the “what”, in other words, the foundation of the plan).
Afterwards, we started to think about the goals, in particular those in the long-run, and then we progressively built the whole map accordingly. Building roadmaps is an iterative process, where many trials and errors take place. A first brainstorming session was essential for us to think outside the box and imagine big long-term goals for Innoget; we used sticky notes to collect and share ideas.
This challenge was particularly useful because we got the chance to apply something theoretical from the management field to a practical industrial case, building a roadmap according to the expectations and the needs of an industrial partner.
Understanding the new horizons, needs, and frontiers in innovation and digital transformation is particularly important to identify hot topics and outline research projects that can practically solve specific issues or produce impactful results for companies operating in the market.
During the summer school we also got the chance to visit DFactory, a hub for the creation of an ecosystem to encourage the promotion and development of 4.0 industry. We saw robots, 3D printing, and other advanced Industry 4.0 technologies in action, understanding their functioning and their practical applications.
All these inputs were extremely valuable starting points to expand my practical knowledge about Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0, and innovation, and gave me new lenses for the exploration of the topics I am now addressing in my research projects.