On the 29th of January 2020, the Hub for Innovation & Enterprise, part of Kent Innovation and Enterprise launched its first i-Teams session. i-Teams is supported by the business and innovation gateway team at the University of Kent and delivery partners the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. A programme funded by the EIRA (Enabling Innovation, Research to Application) project.
What is i-Teams? i-Teams links the most innovative and creative students with real world business challenges. Developed at MIT and brought over to the UK by the University of Cambridge in 2006, i-Teams has since been adopted by several UK Universities.
How does it work? Participating students are placed into teams spanning all academic disciplines. Each team is set a challenge by one of our challenge sponsors, and then given six weeks to provide innovative solutions to the challenge. At the end of the six sessions, each team presents their challenge to the company and an audience of business and academic experts.
‘i-Teams is a great opportunity to blend the line between academia and the corporate world’
James Valentino, Head of Innovation, Digital & Marketing at Lucas
The challenge sponsors:
Lucas: A Kent based Construction Company originally specialising in spray painting. They have worked on projects such as London City Airport, Canary Wharf, Brighton Station, Bluewater and many more prestigious buildings. In 2011 they were appointed as an official partner with McLaren. Their business model now adopts technology throughout the organisation and constantly push the boundaries to find innovative and creative solutions in and for the sector.
TMLEP: Improving Patient Safety and Healthcare Standards: A Medical Logistics Enterprise Practice who provide clinical services and healthcare analytics to assist in the improvement of patient safety and healthcare standards around the globe. TMLEP help to improve patient safety through independent investigation, healthcare analytics and clinical learning.
Southeastern: Southeastern have been running a rail service between London, Kent and parts of East Sussex since 2006. They operate one of the busiest networks in the country including the UK’s first domestic high speed service with Javelin trains. They manage 164 stations, aiding 640,000 passengers every weekday (2016).
We are very proud to be working with these three amazing companies and the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. We look forwarded to seeing what innovative solutions our students create to combat the company challenges.
‘We are really excited to be working with the University of Kent. We are looking forward to hearing about the inspiring ideas that could help improve the customer experience across our services.’
Graham Mollison, Southeastern
The Challenges: each company has been asked to set a challenge which could help their business and customer experience.
Southeastern Rail: ‘How can you enhance the passenger experience?’
TMLEP: ‘How can you generate profit from TMLEP’s portal?’
Lucas: ‘Investigate how we can exploit existing and emerging technologies to build upon existing relationships and communicate more effectively with customers to drive a better customer experience.’
What happens next: Over the next six sessions, students will meet and discuss possible solutions to their challenge. They will have access to their team mentor, Tudor Price, Deputy Chief Executive, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, and remotely from their challenge sponsors. At the final session on the 4th March, students will present their innovative ideas back to the company along with a guest audience.
‘Having been involved with the Employability Points Scheme for a number of years, when asked to join i-Teams as a challenge provider, we were more than happy to help.’
Alexander Acaster, UK Clinical Services Manager at TMLEP
If you want to know more about i-teams or even attend the grand finale, please contact the Hub team.
T: 01227 827376