Ideation Week OWL 2020

Skilled crafts and university jointly shape the future of regional companies

A packing station for baked goods, a bicycle for bread rolls as a new distribution channel and participation in the virtual "home box" as a bakery: These are the practical results of Ideation Week 2020. Ideation Week OWL is an educational program that was developed jointly by the Institute for Science Dialog (IWD) of the Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Ap-plied Sciences and Arts and the Paderborn-Lippe District Association of Skilled Crafts. The aim of the event is to reflect a globally relevant topic, such as the megatrend of digitaliza-tion, in the entrepreneurial reality of life in craft enterprises in such a way that, after five days, tangible solutions and recommendations for action emerge for the participating com-panies. During the event, the students of the Technical University and interested high school students will have the opportunity to put the knowledge they have acquired in theory into practice.

In 2020, the Ideation Week OWL dealt with the future competitiveness of bakeries in the interplay of new business models and digitalized work processes. For one week, the stu-dents intensively explored the future challenges of the bakery trade, gained insights into the working world of a master baker and the associated tasks, were able to ask their questions and in this way approached the various problems. Not only in the field of digital technology, but also in the area of marketing and sales, the corresponding bakery businesses are faced with great challenges, and the sometimes strongly changing customer behavior and the as-sociated customer wishes are playing an increasingly important role. There are no limits to the creativity of the participants in working through the individual topics.

The Paderborn-Lippe District Association of Skilled Crafts sets the theme for the annual Ide-ation Week OWL in close exchange with its member companies from the various trades. Due to Corona, this year's event was more digitalized as a hybrid format - in terms of content, the focus was on the future of the bakery trade. It is precisely the challenges of the future that are close to the heart of Michael H. Lutter, who will take over the office of General Manager of the Paderborn-Lippe District Association of Skilled Crafts at the beginning of 2021: "New technologies are changing our world, and this poses major challenges for small businesses in particular. Ideation Week OWL combines the technological and innovative possibilities of science with the traditional value-added expertise of craft enterprises. In do-ing so, it makes use of the unbiased view of the participants, who enable the companies to look beyond the horizon of their day-to-day business. They also gain a deeper insight into companies that may be looking for a successor. For the companies, this provides an excel-lent opportunity to find solution scenarios for specific challenges and ultimately to increase their innovation potential in this way."

Ideation Week OWL is a teaching format of the future: socially relevant topics are addressed in an interdisciplinary, practical and project-specific manner. "The input of regional craft enterprises serves as a framework for approaching the regional impact of a global topic in a very hands-on way," Prof. Dr. Josef Löffl, head of the Institute for Science Dialogue, which is responsible for the conception and organization of the event week, reports.

"Ideation Week OWL is a modern teaching format. What is needed in practice and what is imparted in teaching flow together. Students work together with the skilled trades in inter-disciplinary teams and thus we not only empower our students, we also empower the skilled trades to address the challenges of the future and not only to see problems, but to create solutions," says university president Prof. Dr. Jürgen Krahl when asked what makes Ideation Week OWL special and what characterizes it.

Text: Prof. Dr. Josef Löffl & Miriam Hanke Photos: Tina Antonia Rotermund

 

Research survey: How are you working today?
Institute for Dialogue on Science (IWD) of TH OWL publishes survey on COVID-19

October 2020

New Work: How Corona has digitalized our work.

With the Covid 19 pandemic, many people have moved their office home. Never before so many employees have done most of their work digitally. The Institute for Dialogue on Science at the TH OWL conducted a survey to find out how this has changed the way we work and communicate.

Theresa Kellner and Tosca Albrecht, in their capacity as academic employees of the Institute for Dialogue on Science at the TH OWL and accompanied by Prof. Dr. Josef Löffl, asked nearly 260 employees what experiences they had gained in their home office in the months from April to June of this year and what influence this had on their way of working. "We dealt with the transformation of work in our team. And our survey has shown that the Corona experiences will massively change our working environment," says researcher Theresa Kellner. The study "How do you work today" is embedded in the the regional 2022project InnovationSPIN.

"A very important benefit of working within one's own four walls was the greater flexibility for most of those surveyed," says Theresa Kellner. The time spent in the home office made it possible to do sports during the lunch break instead of the canteen or to play with the children for an hour in the afternoon and then return to the desk after 8 pm. "The flip side is for most of the interviewees the mixture between work and private life", explains colleague Tosca Albrecht. Those who work in a home office need to structure themselves more. "Some of the interviewees have even set themselves a timer in order to take regular breaks and not be in constant stress".

The time spent in the home office has led to a strong shift in communication to digital. Presence meetings and corridor discussions were replaced by video conferences and e-mails. Almost 70 percent of the respondents took part in a video conference at least once a day during the period of the survey.

Around 46 percent of those surveyed say that the Corona period has significantly increased the use of digital tools. At the same time, many employees complain that information is lost as a result of digital communication. "Facial expressions and body language are an important part of communication and this is only transmitted to a limited extent in video conferences," explains Tosca Albrecht this perception. According to the employees surveyed in the study, this has also led to more misunderstandings. For example, when it came to how urgent something needs to be done. Almost all respondents complained about the lack of exchange and informal discussions in which knowledge and ideas can be swapped spontaneously.

Those who work exclusively in their home office for a longer period of time tend to identify less with their own company, according to the results of the survey. "Some test persons report that they no longer feel perceived as part of the team," says Tosca Albrecht. The respondents report that feedback and appreciation are more thrifty in the digital world than in normal office life. Companies that organize work in the home office must develop routines for this social aspect.

"After the experiences of the past few months, a majority of those surveyed would like to see a mixture of home office and office work," says Theresa Kellner, summarizing the results. "Home offices have gained a much better image in companies through the Corona period and are no longer considered unproductive or special arrangements for working mothers. At the same time, employees also see the advantages of the office as a social meeting place, where spontaneous discussions and thus innovations are generated".

Tosca Albrecht and Theresa Kellner conducted a survey to determine how the Covid 19 pandemic has changed the way we work

 

Responsible | Initiators
The survey by the Institute for Dialogue on Science, carried out by Prof. Dr. Josef Löffl, together with the staff members Tosca Albrecht and Theresa Kellner, was conceived within the framework of the ERDF research project "InnovationSPIN - New forms of work and learning". A project funded by ERDF, the federal state of NRW and the European Union.

Contact
Feel free to contact the research team with any questions or suggestions regarding the survey:
Tosca Albrecht      tosca.albrecht@th-owl.de
Theresa Kellner     theresa.kellner@th-owl.de