SONA Workshop at ITA RWTH

On July 27, TransitionLab researchers from Heidelberg University met with representatives of BioBase, AlgaeTex, and BioCoat at the Institut für Textiltechnik of RWTH Aachen University (ITA) to discuss the SONA (Situational Organizational Network Analysis) work stream. The goal of the work stream is to analyse and enhance collaborative innovation and as such to assist the innovation space in implementing a sustained learning structure. The eponymous SONA methodology includes a combination of rigorous statistical and network analytical methods with a contextual, qualitative approach aimed at capturing project-specific opportunities and challenges. The workshop entailed an in-depth discussion of this methodology to develop a common understanding of its benefits and requirements. It also provided an opportunity to delve deeper into the formal and informal collaborative structure of the three projects and to investigate the extent and quality of cross-project interactions. Participants brought up a number of interesting issues regarding goal consensus, processes for their accomplishment, and the role of differences in project size and TRL in effective innovation collaboration. Last but not least, the workshop provided a most welcome opportunity to get to know each other in person after a critical year of social distancing during Covid-19. As such, the lively and fruitful exchange served as a friendly reminder of the critical role of face-to-face contact in building trust and enabling open discussion. Going forward, the Heidelberg team will collect additional in-depth perspectives through interviews with selected project participants and design an online network survey to be distributed among all project participants, the results and implications of which will then be offered for discussion in feedback workshops.

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