Author Archives: lee

Virtual Reality Internships

Irena-Areti Damianou Newcastle

internshipsAlthough the business school made a good effort to provide common study areas and a common space with plenty of computers, as well as billboards free for anyone to post things on, it is still lacking creativity as well as many other universities nowadays. Times change fast, competition for nearly everything rises and the need for creativity and innovation is the only way to thrive. The importance of creativity and innovation in universities is often underestimated and that is the main barrier and reason behind this lack of innovation in schools nowadays. Ideally, a university business school should be turned into an Innovation lab, which will tackle the various problems and translate the following features.

Firstly, the quality of the relationship between the students and the business community is crucial. As it is now, the relationship is minimal to non-existent and that is where the university has to start from: trying to build a common platform of communication between the students and the business community. Motivation and passion is what drives people. Just like the notion of the “third place” by Ray Oldenburg (1991), the business school should be that special place for the students where they can be in and get value in their every-day experiences and routines. This new innovation space should not restrict students to just dealing with their assignments and projects but to anything possible. The barriers of communication between staff and students should not exist, nor should this uncomforting feeling on the student’s behalf. Great ideas do not come easy, and most certainly do not come by students with restricted mindsets. Passion should not be an add-on but a way of life for students. They should feel motivated to want to head to this idea factory; they should feel like they are getting something out of it and it has things to offer them. It is all about Networking and adapting a networking idea! It should resemble a phygital community, which by the use of both physical and digital media provides an ideal environment translating innovation and inspiration.

Secondly, the technology and resources should not just be adequate, but plentiful: More computers, more innovative software and many more should be the start of this innovation center. And this Is where the proposed virtual environment should step in and make a change.

Virtual worlds make it easier to reach this “third place” mentioned earlier, and they provide a profound feeling of losing yourself in it and forgetting everything. They provide an experience very unique to each person either if it has to do with playing a virtual game like flying a plane or being part of a virtual workplace like this internship. Once the new technology is up and running, the process will automatically change. The more students will make use of this, the more things they will get out of it. This will hence act as a multiplier and the more students are motivated, the better grades they will get. The better grades they get, the better their performance will be and then the higher the university’s reputation will be. They key to this is using a phygital space. This innovation Centre should be open, not just to students but also staff of the university. Networking, socializing always brings new ideas and the more blends of people there are, the better. Different ages, professions, mindsets should be put together and this should be encouraged, translated by the new idea factory.

Therefore, out of all the topics covered in class, which are process-centric systems, social networks, mobility and digital transformation it is believed that the most appropriate approach to be followed for this innovation lab is the digital transformation. Digital Transformation is all about the Experience Economy and finding a good balance between the three main aspects of ISM: Technology, process and people. The latter is crucial as one affects the other and with a good collaboration between the three, it will be easier and faster to help the school transform into an idea factory. Although schools used to want students and externals out of their intranets, now things are changing; there is a need for new ideas to come in from the outside, to break boundaries and allow all these people in, the need for integration. It is proven that involving external partners and customers in the process is a step to a more successful transformation to the digital economy. Consequently, the same can be said for the business school. By having the right technology and resources and an innovative and flexible process, people (in this case students) will feel freer to innovate and develop their ideas with their interactions with people in this space.

Proposal and description

The virtual-reality internship (or training program) ideally will consist of a combination of user-generated content within an e-learning, virtual platform. Companies will be able to work within the program to create internship programs and real-job tasks and challenges that students will be required to tackle. Users (in this case students) will then be able to practice different types of professions, placements, and trainings through this “virtual internship” to gain job experience in place of participating in an actual graduate placement or training program, which might be harder to get.

The platform should be useful for both university students and new staff in companies. As it will be situated at the Newcastle university campus, and provided that students will find it useful and enjoyable, it will encourage students to visit this new idea factory more often.

What’s more, it could be integrated with the students’ studies: lecturers can promote this platform as a helping hand to students with related assignments or projects. The above will prove very easy, as this virtual software will be available to everyone, provided that they are students of the university and they can easily access simply with their university login and password.

Making it happen

A solution like that would require a lot of resources and hence relatively high costs to put into implementation. This section will address the challenges, i.e the knowledge and resources required for its implementation.

Dedicating a room in the library for Virtual Internships to take place would be ideal and not too costly. This modular new space would include a number of computers which will have the software and would be accessible to all students simply through their university login details. Each student would have to create his or her avatar, which would represent him or her in the virtual world. In this way they can see what a real job environment looks like. The software can even be installed on existing online virtual worlds like Second Life, to cut down the costs of creating is from scratch.

As the creation of such a software can cost up to 15.000 pounds, and if the university cannot afford this, could assign the task to a student in the software development department and provide a reward in return, or even assign it as a job.

The idea is a virtual-reality internship that consists of a combination of user-generated content within an e-learning, virtual platform or a virtual space. Companies will work within the program to create internship programs that university and university students will have access to. The initial idea is to help students and unemployed graduates, who find it hard to get a job – considering the bad economic situation and unemployment rates in the UK – gain work experience through this program. By taking part in it, users can get valuable, similar to real-life, work experience which will help them in the future, not to mention making their CV’s more appealing to future employers and then get a job. Users will then be able to practice different types of professions, placements, and trainings through this “virtual internship” to gain job experience in place of participating in an actual graduate placement or training program. At the beginning stage and until most students get familiar with the software, the main focus will be on companies, which should be able to provide actual work tasks or projects that need to be completed with real documents and processes.

Benefits for companies and students:

On the companies’ perspective, this software will be giving companies opportunities to test new job or task ideas and see how students (which could be future employees) could tackle them. Companies will want to work with it in order to gain innovative ideas from users that they don’t have access to without Virtuoso. They will also be motivated to participate in the program because then they will be able to recruit from a larger pool of applicants, and don’t need to train these people for their roles for which they are hired, as they’ve already learned how to do the job inside the virtual environment.

When it comes to students, it will address the problem of unemployment and the fact that students lack work experience, which jobs require. And hence find it hard to get a job considering the bad economic situation and unemployment rates in the UK. By taking part in it, users can get valuable similar to real-life work experience which will help them in the future, also making their CV’s more appealing to future employers and then get a job.

Also important is the fact that it allows students work in any field, for those students who are unsure of what they want to work in the future. This allows users to make better-informed decisions about careers to enter into in the future, and may provide them with a job after graduation: recruiters expect that over a third of entry-level positions will be filled by graduates who have already worked for their organizations, with demonstrates that virtual interns have a better opportunity at finding a job eventually.

Finally, a student’s participation in the completion of a task or a project as such can be recorded and presented as a video or case study and therefore the student can then add it to their CV as a real task they solved at a real work environment. Since this program will be recognized from companies, the additional part on the CV would count as eligible work experience.

Criticism and Conclusion

To be realistic, all ideas have their weaknesses and as this is a completely radical one, it has to deal with the following weaknesses. The success of this software is based on trust from the university to the companies and vice versa. It might take some time to establish partnerships with the companies, and also the costs might be relatively high.

The current lifestyle of people and particularly of young people is directly oriented and connected to the Internet. It is therefore clear that this change is necessary to keep up the ever-changing pace of the world. When it comes to evaluating this idea in terms of success and value it will be easy to measure success in the long-run, from not only the number of students using the software but also from their performance at school. As the sponsor – in this case the university – is interested in seeing the value of this idea factory, this will become apparent later on as the students will eventually feel free to express their ideas, come up with more innovative processes and lastly and most importantly be more motivated. It might take time to measure this change, but as soon as people start realizing the huge potential this will bring and the fact that they have a voice and they are all responsible in shaping the process, that is when this change will be a success.

An Information Interaction Space

Jinna Zhang Newcastle

WhiteboardThe time is coming for examination term, a crowded scenery is presenting again to students’ eyes in the library. Every time at these period, it could be a big trouble for most of the students to find an empty seat or computer time. Students would take a long time to find an available place for themselves especially during a peak period. Are there any devices that could help students realize whether there are any seats, computers, or study rooms left or not when they come into the library at once?

Apart from this, it seems that students could mainly gain information about current activities, campaigns, or lectures from campus’ website. However, are there any available places could provide students a ‘tangible communication or transaction space’ within recreation and entrepreneurship? What’s more, is it possible for the library to offer a place for students to post their requirements and then collect ideas and help from other people ?

To fulfill these requirements for students and diminish unnecessary time-wasting, a place will be designed to attain these functions by the author which will be called Information Interaction Space. This space is located closely to the main door of library, which comprises a big digital screen and some huge white boards. The aim of this space is to help people request current dynamic information about library, as well as provide a place for students to exchange messages and post current activities and campaigns of Newcastle university.

Some of these ideas are learned from other noted universities in United Kingdom. In the central library of Imperial college London, the number of available seats on each floor is shown on a digital screen situated at the front door, which enables students to make clear sense of the usage rate of the seats and decrease the time spent on searching for a study place. Coincidentally,in University of Glasgow, students can check the available computers on each level through a mobile software (Pictures are showing below). According to this service, students can conveniently notice how many computers are available in the library, which has the similar function like ‘available seats’ in Imperial college London.

However, the Library does not have these services yet. Therefore, depending on the advantages and experiences that have already been brought to students in these two other universities, a digital screen will be designed that will combine these utility services with a dynamic scrolling news from the university. Another new innovational design by the author for this space is the using of the ‘QR code’. Students are enable to gain these softwares and current affairs through ‘scanning’, which could make the process recreational and effective. Furthermore, in order to enhance the functionality of this space, two white boards will be installed on the two sides of the main door, which acts as a ‘bulletin board’ with information includes current college activities, secondary book exchanging, encouragement slogan to examinees, message leaving for friends, ideas and helps from others, etc.

A fantastic idea factory here could be regarded as a place that helps people broaden their horizon and fulfill their requests with such aspects involve innovation, entrepreneurship, communication, discovery and conviviality. From the objectives to the results, the valuation and possibility could be considered from technology, organization and culture which are closely related to information system management (Lee, 2014). Under this framework , in order to display this idea factory process and what can be brought to sponsors and beneficiaries, the author will explain the idea based on four questions:

1.Where does the value of inventions come from? 2.How can people prove these values?

3.What is the ultimate goal of this project?

4.How can the success of this idea factory be measured?

Information Interaction Space (IIS) could be identified as a valuable project, because not only it would bring convenience to students but also can provide a place filled with positive atmosphere for students to have a chance to practice their offline communication skills and possess a harmonious surrounding for changing information.

More specifically, in terms of technology in IIS, the implementation of software for counting and managing available seats, computers, and study rooms would be a crucial point in this service. Universities are able to spend a necessary cost in software-designing and device-supporting (like a digital screen). Meanwhile, technology for ‘ScanLife’ should be considered here in order to create a multi-access of getting information about available space to students. What should be mentioned, ScanLife provides a creative method for students to download the relevant software, which could help them check the seats anywhere and anytime. All the information should be updated timely, which may require professional softwares and databases to achieve. Also, these softwares, database and digital devices should be maintained and monitored by professional people.

As for the process of implementation to attain IIS’s main functions, it requests a management from a certain number of human resources such as assistance staff to help IIS go well. Information on white board should be classified in different categories which includes ‘Slogan part’, ‘transaction part’, ‘events and activities part’ , ‘feedback part’, ‘idea collecting part’, etc. Also, these ‘parts’ should be sorted and scheduled regularly by people in order to guarantee its timeliness and easy-viewing. Students could post their requirements such as transaction of second-hand books , some confusing problems crying out for ideas and solutions, club activities, party information, etc. Also in examination periods, participants could draw special images which could show their artistic talents and leave incentive slogans to their school fellow in order to bring encouragement to examinees as well as add some lively recreation factors in these nervous and excited period . Furthermore, Information through ‘ScanLife’ also should be updated timely in order to ensure its accuracy. And both of them can not leave the efforts from the participants (students ) and library staff.

Within the delightful, relaxing and harmonious atmosphere it creates, students have motivations in helping IIS become a place which could bring benefits both in learning time and daily lives. From this case, students will learn how to utilize exist resources to fulfill individual requirements while doing a favor to others at the same. These could be one of the outstanding characteristics of Robinson Library.

Without equipping those advanced devices, IIS could still achieve these goals with a low cost of its resources. What IIS has is just a digital screen which can be bought every where, as well as some big but economic white boards. In terms of software designing and database maintaining, universities can employ students or seeking for volunteers from universities to help manage the daily operation of IIS . Meanwhile, benefits from ‘ScanLife ’ could prove the advantages of mobility that it brings to users.Students are likely to have passion in helping IIS process better if they could get benefits from IIS. It is easier for IIS get a better development with the help from students themselves .

The original idea of IIS is working for improving students’ productivity while studying. IIS is located next to the main gate of the library is because it wants to give the first sight to students where they could go forward. Another outstanding aim of IIS is to create a happy and harmonious atmosphere for studying and communication. With more desire to information nowadays from

students, the ability of how to deal with a huge number of data correctly plays an important role among everyone’s daily life. IIS would be such a place that could allow students to exchange information by posting and leaving message on the white board. The development of IIS would be handed to students’ themselves. In this area, students are able to fully enjoy their freedom and right of speech. They are able to establish their own ‘Information kingdom’ with their luxuriant imagination and creation. They act as not only a ‘king’ but also a ‘civilian’ .

What must be mentioned also is that the university can be treated as the main sponsor of IIS because it should provide funding, resources and technology among the entire process. Students are beneficiaries but also the ‘sub-sponsor’. Without the effort from both sides, IIS can not achieve its initial goals, which is to help students work efficiently and provide a place to achieve message exchanging among students themselves.

In IIS, it is obviously that ‘using rate of study space’ could help students have a clear sense to the usage of seats, computers, and study rooms in the library in order to aid them in finding an available study space efficiently instead of wasting a long time in searching for them. According to the author, one of the identification for a successful function space could be standardized depending on the accessibility and satisfaction from its participants. Actually, this service has already obtained a good reputation and be widely accepted by students from other universities. Similarly, most of the students are willing to enjoy the benefit and convenience that comes from this service.

Furthermore, in terms of the ‘White boards’, it provide a less structured forum for feedback and dialogue about campus’ campaigns and events, as well as individual activities. Students are motivated and are willing to stay here post and gain the information they are interested in and really care about. Everyone is able to engage in this conversation with others. This idea lets students have the chance to practice their communication skills with strangers, which may make a contribution in building their personal traits and communication skills.

Generally speaking, IIS is a space that would utilize technologies and human creations as a way of creating a kind of ‘information exchanging community’. This forum would seek input and maintenance from participants and staff, which could help students build a sense of responsibility to develop this public place in order to make a better service for themselves. Moreover, within the functionality and a relaxing atmosphere it builds, IIS would become a harmonious place not only help students improve their productivity positively, but also a place that could bring innovation and practice as well as a chance for people to show their talents and learn to be accommodating to others.


Lee,S. (2014). Information System Management. Available: Last accessed 22nd May 2014.

Retail Lab

Yukun Cai Newcastle

innovationspaceThere are several ideas appearing every day in the society. Some ideas became a part of reality, but some are still just an idea. In Newcastle University Business School, there are over 3000 students studying in and how many ideas should come out among these students? In other hand, to companies, small companies want to get development while big organizations want to occupy a bigger market rate and scale up organizations. In order to make their ideas become true, those companies need someone to give their idea and make planes. So, an Idea Retail Lab is useful for both students and companies. Companies can post their quests through the lab and students can accept those quests they like through the lab to show their ideas to the companies. This is good for both students and organizations, for which companies can solve their problems while students can give full play to their abilities and ideas.

This laboratory will be located at the ground floor. It will be approximately 60 m2 in size with chairs, tables, computers, small discussing rooms in it and a big screen on the wall. When people walk through the gate, they will find the reception on their right hand. They will also see there are 12 computers in the room directly in front of them. These companies have direct connecting net with those companies. Students can find more information about the company and more detailed information about the quests they have interests in. Then visitors will find 8 small discussing rooms which can contain at most 4 people to discuss. These discussing rooms are small but easy to discussing in it. Students can form team in the middle of the lab and then this team can discuss details about the quests in the comfortable rooms. In the middle of the laboratory there are some sofa and chairs. This area is for students to scan scroll information in the screen and form a team to complete the quests if they want. And in front of these chairs, a big screen shows up in the wall which scroll display information from companies and quests which companies offered.

In order to build this Idea Retail Lab, we need sponsors to give us some financial supports in establishing this area. We will focus on the companies in China which need to occupy a higher market rate. There are too many companies in China no matter the scale is. Almost every company wants to dominate the market. So there must be some companies wanting to be our sponsors. To be a sponsor, it is profitable for them. They can publish any quest in the lab and all the quest will be on the prominent position of the screen so that students can find it easily so that there is a higher chance to accept the quests. That means it is a low cost with a high pay back.

During the process of building this area and after that, we would like to contact some other companies as our project suppliers, the quests claimers. First of all, we post our lab into social networks, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. There are 1.4 billion users of Facebook worldwide in the end of 2013. So it is a high chance for Internet users to know our area and that would draw some companies’ attention to join our lab. With the help of social networks, we can introduce our idea lab to the world in a fairly short period. We welcome every company which contacts us for asking questions and for making cooperation with each other. Secondly, we search for the information of any company who have problems and want to solve those problems. With these information, we contact with them and show them that we have a lab of making plans for solving companies’ problems. We suggest them to show us what they want to improve and what problem they want to solve and we put those quests in our lab and let students working on those quests. Moreover, we put some examples of students’ ideas in the website which shows that our students have the ability to complete those quests in a high quality. This may give potential investors confidence to be a real investor or the projects supplier.

To students, we strongly recommend students accept project voluntarily. They can choose any quests they like to decide to complete and they can also decide to do it alone or finish the project as a team. Once they choose what quests they accept, they should tell the reception in the lab so that the staff in the reception can help them complete the application of taking the quests. A quest can be accepted by different persons and groups in the quest release time. And also, we decide to recruit some students as permanent project planers to complete certain quests in certain time, like one project a month. All the project plans will be submitted to the lab first as backups and then it will be immediately sent to the quest providers. The companies, the quest suppliers will decide which project they choose and they will pay the project planners. And to the students, if they do not want the money the company paid, they can ask the reception for change. Reception will judge the reward of the quest and then give students suggestions. If students want to change the money into credits, reception will contact with the school and then give them answers. If students do not want any money but a chance for a job interview of the project supply company, reception will contact the company and tell them the students’ want and give the students the final results.

For the events, we would like to invite a company every two days to introduce them and give some suggestions to the students about the projects planning and also will answer students’ question during the meeting. This meeting will be held online with the help of Internet and the big screen in the lab’s wall. Students can attend the meeting by sitting on the chairs and sofa to watch the screen. It is an interactive meeting for the inviter and the students. Besides, each day there will be a top 10 finance news in 4p.m. This will help students with the big issues happened in the day. And there are help lessons for project writing which are in order to help students with their project planning skill. For the idea retail lab, I think it is a platform for companies and students. It can give companies a clue to solve their problems and make a better organization. To students, it is a chance to prove them that they have the ability to transfer their knowledge into reality. They are really learning something useful for their life and work. For both companies and students, they all gain something valuable for themselves. This is a win-win way for students and the organizations.

Co-Lab News Room

Peter Gavin Newcastle



Workspaces and learning places are not defined by their parameters and contents; nor by the tools they use to aid their learning objectives and goals. They are defined by the activities and relationships that contextualise their environment.

Activities carried out within the parameters of the space such as classes, talks, labs; and the nature of the relationship that exist between students, professors, administrators, alumni and other faculty members (Bessagnet, Schlenker et al. 2005). With this in mind, the design of a workspace to promote learning or to encourage collaboration requires that the contents, tools, furniture, activities, space layout and atmospherics are carefully considered and manipulated in such a way that connects the various participating stakeholders and affects their collaboration during the learning/teaching process.

This paper illustrates one way in which a business school library can become an ideas factory. The author acknowledges that information systems management does not relate entirely to information technology and is rather a set of resources made up of motivations, experiences and objectives that draw various stakeholders, clients and members into an organisation.

For the purpose of this paper, the author concentrates on Newcastle Business School (NBS) and its faculty members, students and local businesses in Newcastle.  The workspace is designed for the Newcastle business school HUB, situated on the 5th floor of the business school. This space is a common room/workspace with coffee and tea making facilities, notice boards and comfortable chairs and sofas. The colour scheme is blue. There are television screens hoisted on to two walls. These however, are rarely on and the area has not reached its potential. Currently, the NBS lacks a sense of community. The atmosphere that has festered in the building is cold and uninviting.  Despite the curriculum being team and group work oriented throughout the various business programmes, a suitable workspace has not been implemented accordingly.

This paper seeks to improve engagement and collaboration amongst all NBS members by offering a more innovative method to solving their needs (education, communication, collaboration). A workspace design is proposed that bridges the gap between the workplace and a place of passion, motivation and enjoyment.
Focus Improve Knowledge Leverage Measure
Place Engagement Solving needs that others cannot Experience Passion


The CO-LAB NEWSROOM is a proposal for an innovative, creative and educational laboratory for the Newcastle Business School (NBS). This space will be a magnetic force that attracts the attention and custom of all business school students, faculty members, administrators and businesses or entrepreneurs in the area. It is fundamentally a commons room, casual space, with an innovative and fun, educational purpose that is inviting and non-discriminant. CO-LAB NEWSROOM facilitates practical learning, training, inspirational presentations and talks. Students and members are encouraged to share their skills and knowledge with others. Computer coding labs for dummies may be organised. Search engine optimisation tutorials may be provided for example. This is a place where practical skills can develop, in a place of comfort and ease, released from the shackles of theory, textbook and traditional classrooms. This space is a ‘TEDtalks café’ if you will.

The workspace will by melting pot for ideas and collaboration. Its capacity to communicate with members over social media using innovative technology will attract regular visitors from around the university and also around the local community. Local merchants and entrepreneurs can use the workspace to propose student projects or to collaborate with students and the university in an effort to stimulate and generate new ideas that may benefit businesses in the community. The Newcastle Chamber of Commerce will sponsor conferences, workshops, networking events and practical tutorials to be held in the CO-LAB NEWS ROOM; encouraging a collaborative community effort that meets today’s technological advances and stimulates community initiatives.

Algorithmic Journalism Machine:

An algorithmic journalism machine, (figure 1.1) inhabits this room, collecting a mash-up of soundbites, tweets, Instagram pictures, university blackboard general updates and fragments of text from other resources (e.g. Facebook) into an online news bulletin and/or a physical newspaper publication. The newspaper can be printed, bound and sold in real-time. The algorithm technology is open source. It filters the best and most relative information. This provides a true representation of the student body and the NBS community. Anyone can contribute and have an opinion, anonymously or otherwise. The algorithmic machine acts as an advertising tool for events, presentations, practical training labs and talks. It acts as a communication tool to gather interested parties together using algorithms and hash tags through social media platforms to ensure optimum coverage. Essentially, this machine acts as the glue that encourages collaboration to occur by attracting members to the HUB/workspace for organised but casual events. It has the capacity to act in real time and therefore can produce information bulletins during and after individual events. The bulletin provides attendees and those who were unable to attend with a helpful summary of each event. The hash tag ‘#CO-LAB’ is used to generate the news content and therefore the newspaper consists entirely of user-generated contributions.

Depending on the subject matter the hash tag can be configured to facilitate each event, tutorial or talk. For example, CO-LABsuggestions, CO-LABtalkideas, CO-LAB-SEOclasses, CO-LABlocalbusiness and so on. Each hash tag will generate content, ideas and input from those who are interested and more importantly from those who can contribute meaningful information. This gives users control over what events, talks or labs take place in the CO-LAB NEWSROOM each week. The algorithmic journalism machine was chosen in the design because of its potential to attract large numbers of users across a network. It  can attract users, satisfy their needs and build a consistent flow of communication. It integrates all social media platforms and uses the collected information in a creative, exciting and innovative way that gives a collective voice to the users in an interesting phygital (physical and digital) way.


An integrated mobile application is designed as a platform to showcase newspaper editorials daily, weekly and in real-time. The mobile application will be integrated with the algorithmic journalism machine. Users will download the app for a small fee of £2.99 to their mobile devices. The app will be used to attract members, manage events and to form an online niche, localised NBS social networking community.

The Phygital Space:

The CO-LAB NEWSROOM is an estimated space of 100 meters squared and is designed as a phygital (physical and digital) space. This phygital space is designed with the overarching intention to increase communication, collaboration and engagement within the Newcastle Business School. This space provides students with control over their learning experience. It is designed to instil and to encourage a horizontal organizational culture within the business school whereby students take responsibility for their own learning ambitions and have an outlet to voice and choose what they want to learn about and to develop ideas. In addition to this, faculty members have an outlet whereby they can stray from the module programmes, enabling them to be more creative while also learning as well as teaching. They can collaborate with students on extra-curricular projects outside of the classroom. Local businesses and entrepreneur’s have a place where they can seek the assistance from students, initiate focus groups or simply join in and contribute to practical labs, tutorials or talks.


Collaboration requires that individuals work with others collectively to create content, through brainstorming and open discussion for example. Collaboration is sometimes made difficult, as the space around does not allow for it. The space may be too small, there may not be relevant resources available or the space simply does not lend itself naturally to collaboration.  A study in 2008 by Gensler, conducted a survey on workspace. The research indicated that top performing companies give more consideration to the design of their workspaces and ensure that both open collaboration spaces and smaller private areas are provided to maximise productivity in the workplace. For the purpose of this workspace design, the following steps are taken to ensure that the space welcomes and encourages collaboration and creativity.
  • The area is primarily an open plan workspace. The space will provide shared comfortable, casual space that encourages collaborative work.
  • Smaller private areas will encourage focused work. Gensler’s Workspace survey in 2008 found that the combination of both open and closed spaces provides workers with areas for collaboration and also areas for more focused work.
  • It will include floor to ceiling white boards for note taking, presenting ideas and for projecting presentations onto during labs, talks, tutorials and events.
  • The space will be equipped with power points at every table and workspace. Wi-Fi connectivity will be provided.
  • The counters, tables, chairs and fixtures will be on wheels to enable the space to adapt to various circumstances and events.
Figure 2.2 Creative/Fun Convertible Work Surfaces
  • Large and small, high and low work surfaces will be provided to suit different project types or group sizes. Creative design projects sometimes require that workers are standing or on stools.
  • Large work surfaces will double as table tennis tables for fun and relaxing downtime.
Figure 2.3 Work Surfaces
  • A kitchen counter is available providing Coffee and tea making facilities, a microwave and crockery, so that workers can work on projects for as long as they like without disruption or having to leave the HUB.
  • The algorithmic journalism machine will sit in the center of the room as a focal point and service point. Ensuring that there is consistent activity and energy in the room.
  • Large TV screens will be fixed above the algorithm service point flashing a feed of the latest social media contributions from the NBS community network. Tweets, status updates, instagram pics etc. will be posted on these screens in real-time using the algorithm journalism machine.
  • Finally, an elevated auditorium-seating feature will be located in one area of the workspace. This will be dressed with cushions and blankets for users comfort. This is used for presentations and screenings as well as an alternative place to work in groups or individually or simply for relaxation, casual chats/coffees with other members.
Numerous and multiple events, talks, project collaboration work or practical tutorials can take place at once within the CO-LAB NEWSROOM – depending on group sizes. Members who wish to attend particular events click the ‘I’m in’ tab on their mobile application event function. If group sizes expand outside the capacity of the room – then the event will be scheduled in sessions to ensure that group sizes are not too large. Events will be organized for smaller groups to ensure that interaction and engagement is maximized.

CO-LAB Society:

The Workspace is managed by the CO-LAB society. Their responsibilities include algorithm machine operations, mobile application activities and the maintenance of the CO-LAB NEWSROOM. Society members will monitor the network updates and organise the CO-LAB events that will take place within the HUB. The society will work in conjunction and collaboratively with the student union. The sales of news bulletins provide revenue for upkeep and maintenance of the machine and the CO-LAB space. Event bulletins are free. Published and bound weekly editions are £2.00. The weekly edition is a round up of all of the week’s events and contributions. The mobile application download will cost £2.99 per app download.

Benefits for members of the business school would include:

  • Gaining practical business skills outside the classroom and applying theory and concepts from modular course work into practice. Skills such as search engine optimization skills, computer coding, presentation skills, business plan writing skills and business financial planning skills.
  •  Connecting, communicating and collaborating with like-minded members and increasing potential for creativity and innovation through talks, labs, tutorials, projects and debates.
  • Engaging the student body with events, topics, creative seminars and learning
  • Distribution and dissemination of information is innovated and current.
  • Promoting openness using a more horizontal, integrated organisational structure
  • Empowering students to choose the skills, knowledge or passion they wish to expand or explore.
  • Networking and gaining experience with/from businesses and entrepreneurs.
  • Providing opportunities for jobs during and after graduation and similarly developing a talent pipeline for businesses through working with local and international students.
  • Working in a more inspiring, energetic, motivational environment – encouraging passion and desire.
  • Building awareness of current events and affairs and enabling a true representation of students, faculty members and businesses allowing open discussion, collaboration and debate


The success of the CO-LAB NEWSROOM is ultimately dependent upon user adoption and satisfaction. Therefore, measurement will be conducted through reviews and ratings over social networking and the mobile application, through the interaction and collaboration efforts and through the growth of the network and attendance to events. Events are rated after each event.


  • Abramowicz, Witold, Tomasz Kaczmarek, and Marek Kowalkiewicz. “E-Collaboration system designed to improve learning processes.” Proceedings of Informing Science International Congress (InSITE) June. 2003.
  • Another Architect (2011). “Interactive installation t tedX Hamburg”. http://www.
  • Bessagnet, M.-N., et al. (2005). “Using e-collaboration to improve management education: three scenarios.” JISTEM-Journal of Information Systems and Technology Management 2(1): 81-94.
  • Dezeen Magazine (2012). “Google Campus by Jump Studios”.
  • Dezeen Magazine (2013). “Well-designed schools improve learning by 25% says new study”.
  • Dezeen Magazine (2014). “Algorithmic journalism machine generates free newspaper for Milan design week”.
  • Dezeen Magazine (2014). “Former corset factory converted into office and events space by OkiDoki! Arkitekter”.
  • Office Snapshots (2012). “Research: Top Companies Organize their Workplaces Better than you”.
  • Searer, S (2014). “Stop Hoping for Collaboration, Here are 7 Tips to Help Plan for It”.
  • Simon, Nina. The participatory museum. Museum 2.0, 2010.

The Knowledge Hub

Dinesh, Kiran, Abhishek and Gladson

Design your school is a project on library innovation in our school. We are not making the library a reading place or knowledge hub we are trying to make it as a experience. To design a school we should use business modules.
  • Segment the market           -> Identify Conflict
  • Identify the customer need -> Portray the needed skill
  • Design the process             -> Point the vision
  • Measure the results           -> Provide the happy ending
Using these modules we have to create an idea for designing school. In business we have 2 basic functions: Marketing and Innovation Marketing and Innovation both together can make a huge difference in the society. We can do this with things:
  1. The Value Proposition
  2. The Elevator Pitch & Using business module we can develop design our school library.
The Value Proposition:
  1. Segment Market: We need students, staff, association, teachers for segmenting the market.
It is not only for students, Library can be used by anyone for instance staffs can also use it for refreshing their knowledge and also for updating themselves. So, the segment market is students and staffs.
  1. Customer Need:
Peaceful atmosphere, Good lighting, Customer friendly access, , Books, Audio Video visuals, Internet, News Papers, Magazines.
  1. Physical Infrastructure is as important as the infrastructure of the library.
  2. Different variety of materials, Journals, Books.
  3. Internet facility with eBook facility for the students.
  4. Apart from these things various activities inside the library needs separate rooms like group discussion..etc.
Designing the Process:
  • Infrastructure, Computer with internet connection, eBooks, Books, Tables, Chairs.
  • Trying the innovation even in the building infrastructure.
  • Arrangement of books.
  • Trying to give Natural light as much as possible which will give a good mood to read and think.
  • The ultimate customers are students so satisfy them and giving them experience is the most important thing.
  1. Measuring the Results:
  • Suggestions from staffs.
  • Feedback from students.
  • Number of students visiting library.
  • Comparing the results with other libraries.
  • Making adjustments according to the feedbacks.
The Elevator Pitch: Conflict: As far as we see the conflicts we found out in the library are
  • Difficult access systems to find a book.
  • Uncomfortable atmosphere(physical and mental)
  • No activity except reading books.
  • Less infrastructure in terms of books as well as rooms ,chair, tables. etc.
Since the Library is situated in the main building of the school, so everytime we couldn’t find the same atmosphere, because sometimes there will be activities going outside the library loudly. Skills and competencies: The library has to be a place where we can get experience and also it has to be not only the knowledge hub but also a innovation hub.
  • Understanding the primary knowledge about the students and the specifications of authors and also publications.
  • Visualise future directions and prepare a roadmap to provide the most effective and efficient library and information services to the users.
  • Libraries Today-Open Source, Open Access and Open Libraries,
  • Information Resources-Collection and Organisation responding to users’ needs,
  • Connection-Providing access whether local or remote on the web,
  • Learner-focused-Responding to the information needs of the users,
  • Accessible-Easy to use, offering help and support,
  • Dynamic-A Catalyst , inspiring and encouraging enjoyment and discovery,
  • Current –Reflecting today’s communities in providing latest information.
  Roadmap: Modify & reorganize the library space (Digital, Infrastructure, eBooks, Innovation Room): INNOVATIONS: Another innovation could be providing electronic display to the visitor in order to make their search easier and better.
  • This technology helps to save time as well as helps the visitors interest.
  • As some of the individuals find it lazy and boring their choice of book in a huge decorum.
  • The library should also be provided with computer lab with access to internet which would lead the individual to carry out his research, as we all know internet can be helpful in any means.
  • This would also help the staffs to maintain their data about the various books being borrowed by individuals and also have a track about each and every student.
INFRASTRUCTURE:     Now coming to the infrastructure, if the interiors of the library are too dull and gloomy then it does not impact effectively as such on its students. Not that the people who check in for information are worried about the interiors, but for the people who come into the library for the very first time the interiors do matter. As good interior would be impressive and change the mindset of the students.
  • Therefore usage of bright color and innovative art work would me effective.
  • The building should be separated from the main building of the school, so that the library will keep its silence all the time.
  • And coming to the chairs and tables should also be very comfortable to read.
  • And we can make the building a sound proof one.
INNOVATION ROOM: This is one of the main innovations to be done there will be a separate room which consists of home atmosphere like bean bags, internet.
  • In this room not only curriculam books , but also all kind of general magazines scientific innovation books also be available.
  • There the students can go sit and when got some innovative idea they can mail the knowledge team which consists of some expert professors and also students.
  • The team will check the innovations of the students if that is worth doing then that team will take that idea to the school committee.
  • If 100 ideas per week come means from that best 5 will be taken and from that one will be selected by the school.
We thought this idea of having a innovation room would be a very useful one. And also one more impotant innovation is to have ebooks .When some books were taken by the customer and it is not available in the library at that time the customers can go to their account and can view the eBook version of the book. But the main thing is they can’t copy the book only they can view it. The idea of having some natural air inside the library would be very impressive because when it is completely air conditioned it will be comfortable only.
  • But when natural air comes the feel will be very good, we can get so much of ideas.
  • The racking of books also can make a difference.
  • For membership and for the access the way has to be very simple, like they can come inside with their student ID itself.
  • The library has to be very spacious and fully digitalized.
  • The library staffs should speak English and they have to be completely student friendly.
  • These innovations can bring out a wide change in the attitude of students about library.
HAPPY ENDING: This library which we have designed with a lot of innovative ideas and we are trying to make them learn with the atmosphere we are giving inside the library and also the infrastructure will make the students enjoy their learning in the library. And the Innovation room might be a handy idea but when it is started working out well it will bring wonders to the school as well as the library experience to the students, Staffs and professionals.

The Idea Forum

Jingming Sun Newcastle

As a school focuses on innovation, it should be well designed to become an idea factory. However, in the current school life, there is a lack of communication between students and staffs. In order to improve this, I designed an Idea Room together with an Idea Forum for students and staffs to communicate with each other and solve problems. This project will be really helpful in enhancing the understanding and communication between students and school staffs. It will help students with solving some problems exist in their daily lives and studies.

In order to introduce the design, this essay will first show the vision designs of the Idea Room and the Idea Forum, namely the design drawings of them. They are intuitionistic and easy to understand (Ching and Juroszek, 2010). Combining with the vision designs, it will then illustrate how will the Idea Room and the Idea Forum work separately. Every step will be explained in these two parts. Following that, it will analyse some potential risks and challenges in this project. At last, the conclusion of this project will be given in the end.

  • How will the Idea Room work?

    I plan to apply for using a large seminar room in Newcastle University Business School to build the Idea Room. There should be a large space that can accommodate a lot of people. In the front of the room, there will be a long meeting table with chairs. Two university staffs will sit in the upside and downside of the table, they are responsible for organizing the meetings. Other seats in the Idea Room are for students. In front of the meeting table, there will be two big screens, which will connect with the staffs’ computers and show their screens. In the back of the room, three rows of normal desks and chairs will be there. Besides, there will also be two resting areas in the left and right sides of the Idea Room, two sofas in the left and one round table in the right. People can sit there during the break, chat with others or have a cup of coffee.

    Every working day, the staffs will set the Topic of Today. The topic can be everything about the problems that students encountered in their living or learning, and it is voted by students via the Idea Forum that will be introduced in detail in the next part. The staffs will write down the Topic of Today on a paper and stick the paper on the main door of the room in the morning. Every student who see the topic and is interested in the topic can take part in the discussion in the afternoon. Students who arrive early and have strong interest of the topic can choose the seats around the long meeting table. Others will sit in the back seats behind the meeting table. All the students can present their opinions freely wherever they sit. The meeting will start at 3 pm on every working day, and it will last for an hour and a half including a ten-minute break.

    To begin with, the comperes namely the two staffs will speak the rules of discussion to the participants, and then they will introduce the Topic of Today briefly. Normally, the topic is about solving a specific problem exists in students’ lives or studies. After that, the discussion will begin. Every student can present his or her opinions freely. The comperes need to listen carefully and write down the keywords of every student’s speech on their computers and display the contents on the screens to let every people see clearly. 40 minutes later, there will be a ten-minute break. Students can relax in the resting areas of the Idea Room during the break. After the break, there will be another 40 minutes for students to give any comments to those ideas proposed before. Debates may happen in this part, the comperes should maintain the order in the room and guide the discussion. They also need to record the comments on their computers and show them to the students. In the end, the comperes will thank for the students’ attendance and remind them to check the updates on the Idea Forum in the evening.

    How will the Idea Forum work?

    The Idea Forum is the other part of this project. It is a new method to improve the communication between students and staffs. Meanwhile, it is also a supplement for the Idea Room. The Idea Forum will use the information system management to build a platform for communication. The vision design shows above is the index page of the Idea Forum. I made the forum by PHP Bulletin Board, which is an Internet forum package written in the PHP scripting language (MacIntyre et al., 2011). At the top of the homepage, it is the title and subtitle. Below them, there is a navigation bar contains the functions of Home, FAQ, Search and other frequently used buttons. The main part of the homepage is the three categories and the six sub-forums. The first category is “Topic of Today”. It consists of two sub-forums, “Voting – Topic of Today” and “Minutes of the meeting”. The second category is “Questions & Answers”, which consists of “All about living”, “All about learning” and “All about others” these three sub-forums. The last category is “Chatting Zone”. There is only a “Chatting Zone” sub-forum in it. At the bottom of the page, there are some general statistics of the forum.

    We will link our database with the university’s database in order to get the information of the students who are studying in Newcastle University Business School (Özsu and Valduriez, 2011). All the students can login in the Idea Forum using their username and password of their university account. We will then encourage them to get actively involved in the discussion every day. The discussions will be mainly held in the “Questions & Answers” category. Every student who has problems about living, learning or others can put forward them in the corresponding sub-forum. And then every people can reply to the topic with giving his or her ideas of the problems. The moderators of these three sub-forums are responsible for selecting the most popular topics for each day, and then send them to the moderator of “Voting – Topic of Today” sub-forum. Following that, the moderator of “Voting – Topic of Today” will initiate a new voting topic named ”Topic of xx/xx/2014”. All the options are from the most popular topics students put forward in the “Questions & Answers” category. After that, students can view and vote the topic they are most interested in. At last the topic with the most votes will become the Topic of Today, and will be stuck on the main door of the Idea Room.

    There is another sub-forum in the “Topic of Today” category called “Minutes of the meeting”. As the name implies, all the record of the meeting will be uploaded to this sub-forum. After the meeting held in the Idea Room, the comperes will provide the record of the meeting to the moderator of “Minutes of the meeting”, and then the moderator will create a new topic in “Minutes of the meeting” named “Minutes of xx/xx/2014”. All the members can visit the topic and view the minutes of today’s meeting. And those students who did not come to the meeting can still make comments to the topic by replying the topic. “Chatting zone” is the last sub-forum located in the bottom of the index page. The aim of this part is to provide a place for the forum members to chat freely. Any topic that does not belong to the categories above can be posted here. This sub-forum can increase the Idea Forum’s popularity. It is a free platform for students and school staffs to communicate with each other. But the moderator of this sub-forum should take on more work on managing the meaningless and improper topics and replies (Phillips, 2012).

    Potential risks and challenges analysis

    There are several potential risks and challenges in this project. In terms of the Idea Room, first of all, there are not many large rooms in the Newcastle University Business School and there are many lectures in Business School every day. So it may be not easy to get permission to use such a large room every day as the Idea Room. However, I will try my best to apply for this. If the Business School can not provide a fixed room for me, it is acceptable to use different rooms every day. Depending on the available rooms, I will choose a bigger one as today’s Idea Room. And then the staffs will stick a notice on the school gate to tell students which room today’s Idea Room is as well as the Topic of Today. Secondly, it may be difficult to attract many students to take part in the meetings. Students have a lot of lectures and assignments. They are quite busy for their studying. Therefore, there may not be many students join the discussion in the Idea Room sometimes. To solve this problem, free coffee will be provided in the Idea Room to encourage more students to get involved in the discussion every day.

    As for the Idea Forum, there may be a same challenge as the Idea Room. It will be difficult to let many students use the forum. It is obvious that there will not be enough topics in the “Questions & Answers” category without a high degree of participation. It will further cause the lack of opinions in the voting and all the rest parts will be affected. In order to solve this problem, there are two methods. In the first place, I will ask Newcastle University Business School to put the link of the Idea Forum on its official website. It is for the sake of telling students there is an Idea Forum and attracting more users. In the second place, I intend to add some interesting factors into the Idea Forum such as the medal, points, level and some daily tasks (Mason, 2011). These small factors will help the forum with getting more active users.


    In conclusion, my design is a project aims to solve problems for students who are studying in Newcastle University Business School. It contains two parts, the Idea Room and the Idea Forum. These two parts work together to help students with solving their problems. While although there are several potential risks and challenges exist in both the Idea Room and the Idea Forum, they can be prevented via some methods. I believe this work will be a good design welcomed by students.


    Brown, J.D., Day, A.M., Taylor, S.R., Tomalin, L.E., Morgan, B.A. and Veal, E.A. (2013) ‘Newcastle University ePrints’.
  • Ching, F. and Juroszek, S.P. (2010) Design drawing. 2nd edn. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.
  • MacIntyre, P., Danchilla, B. and Gogala, M. (2011) Pro PHP programming. Apress : Distributed by Springer Science+Business Media,. Available at:
  • Mason, R.B. (2011) ‘Student Engagement with, and Participation in, an e-Forum’, Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 14(2).
  • Özsu, M.T. and Valduriez, P. (2011) Principles of distributed database systems. Springer.
  • Phillips, S. (2012) ‘Rationale for the Forum’, THERAPEUTIC ADVICE, p. 9.

Group Work

Yuqi Lu Newcastle

Tent1It is inevitable that both undergraduates and postgraduates will encounter group work during their years of studying. In groups, students are expected to complete tasks in a collaborative manner; these groups generally include two to six people. While the common name for such assignments is “group work,’ it is also known as “collaborative work.” It is particularly important that business students understand how to participate in this learning method in order to grow in terms of social interaction and interpersonal communication. Collaborative learning is a strategy that organizes in such a way as to encourage them to study as a team (Chickering and Ehrmann, 1996). To achieve learning objectives, team members must work together. In team collaborative activities, students can share information based on their individual research, learn from materials found by other members of the group, and even benefit from the ideas of other groups or the class as a whole. This essay discusses the design for a group workroom for students at the Business School of Newcastle University. It provides an in-depth analysis of the importance of this room, and then, specifically describes the entire design concept in detail. The essay concludes by explaining how to achieve success in terms of the work and effort going into the design of this room.

  During the process of group work, students in the group discuss, debate, and adopt dialogue, in order to work out issues effectively. This process intends to allow group consensus on the best way to move forward and achieve the learning objectives, such as completing assignments and tasks. Collaborative activities are conducive to student learning in terms of the development of individual thinking ability and the enhancement of students’ ability to communicate. Group work also allows individuals to improve their abilities to accommodate interpersonal differences.  Collaborative learning exerts several other significant positive effects on learners. For example, it improves student learning results, helps form students’ critical and creative thinking skills, builds optimism towards the learning content and school, increases the ability to communicate between members, and cultivates self-esteem and respectful relationships with others. There are a number of strengths that assist students in improving their professional skills (Caruso and Woolley, 2008; Mannix and Neale, 2005). For instance, researchers have reported that the practice of group work greatly benefits study skills, strong memory, and high exam scores (Astin, 1997; Tinto, 1998; National Survey of Student Engagement, 2006).

  Several common sayings apply to group work, including the following: “more hands make for lighter work.”; “two heads are better than one”; and “the more, the merrier.” These expressions indicate that collaborative work and group projects have more than one member, and indeed, interaction leads people to be more productive, creative, and motivated. Due to the advantages described in this section, group work has become popular in every field, and it is particularly relevant to individuals in business school.  Against this backdrop, this essay intends to describe a room designed to optimize group work.

  Group work is not always easy. In completing an assignment by cooperating with several people, the point is to communicate and discuss issues appropriately with all group members. The final agreement of the group is required to approach a common task. To increase motivation in the face of such a difficult mission, the group work space can play a vital role. Innovative work space design can arouse the enthusiasm of team members and stimulate effective group work. There is a series of steps that a designer can take to reach this aim. To begin, there should be enough space to plan the room. Space design refers to the layout, structure, and physical and psychological space divisions (Davis, 1984). Space design needs to consider various issues related to science, technology, humanities, and arts (Sime, 1986). The biggest goal of a group work room is to create a comfortable, convenient, sanitary, safe and efficient learning environment for students. To a great extent, a well-designed room can improve the efficiency of team members. Space design for a group work room is divided into two main parts: the aesthetic demand and functional requirements meeting the needs of more than one member.

  Currently, there are two space design concepts on group work. One is team space. The space can be divided into a large space for several (3 to 6) team members. The team can arrange the space on their own and distinguish itself from other teams for meetings, storage of data, and communication with members. According to student preferences and needs, there also can be some personal space.

  The second possibility is public space. The most important feature of group work is its public nature. A good design must have a space for transition, not just an aisle corridor, but an environment that moves from public to private (La Marca, 2010). For example, the space nearest to an elevator door can be part of the design for a meeting room or a negotiation space. It can assist in promoting different rhythms in order to achieve a partition separating public space and private space. As a public space, a group work space not only has formal meeting rooms but also an informal public space, such as a comfortable tea room, or a deliberately empty corner. Informal public space allows students to meet each other naturally; such chance meetings give students the chance to inadvertently talk out their ideas outside the serious confines of the conference/classroom. Such a space is able to strengthen exchanges between students. Meanwhile, this public space provides students the autonomy to feel free to dress up their personal space.

  The support of Newcastle University and other social communities is a major element to implementing this room design. For one thing, it is essential that students in business school be provided numerous assignments relating to team work. The university can encourage the collaborative work method to simulate students’ social abilities, including interactions with others and learning and understanding course materials outside the classroom. This “meeting of the minds” can be extremely helpful to undergraduates and postgraduates in opening their minds and thinking broadly when they are confused about a certain question or come across obstacles. For students in business school, these skills are imperative because they are studying relevant commerce topics requiring the ability to interact effectively to do business. In addition, it is in local companies’ best interest to invest in the group work room. What the business focuses on is creativity and collaborative work, and these two elements naturally complement one another. Collaborative work, with its emphasis on discussion and communication, can produce amazing results—a novel idea or a perfect measure (Taylor and Greve, 2006). These results come easily from the brainstorming process. Group work provides university students a head start on their future careers. If a person is able to adjust and excel in the team environment, he or she will be suitable for the real conditions of business life. Consequently, hiring students with such experience benefits companies who will have to spend less time training these “freshmen.” Thus, it is beneficial to support this group work room design not only for the university but also for local businesses.

  With regard to detailed layout, the core design of a group work room is a combination between learning and discussion. Most importantly, the public area should have sufficient space. It is a place where members of a group are able to provide their own views and produce new ideas. With this idea in mind, comfort and simplicity become primary design considerations. Picture One provides a conceptual design picture that generally fits the needs of this requirement. Chairs of varying shapes are placed at random according to diverse functions. Furthermore, every public area and private room is equipped with a big whiteboard on the wall. When coming up with valuable tips or opinions, students can write them down on the board by using marking pens or chalk sticks. When it comes to the logistical process of a certain project, it is useful for a team to be able to create a diagram on the board showing members’ contributions. It also should be noted that this is a space where people can relax and can think about their projects; from design to configuration, the design includes hidden thoughtfulness and ingenuity. Moreover, the designers hope that 100% of students are able to relax while being productive and generating ideas. Hence, this project aims to design an intimate and interactive space to stimulate new ideas, thus allowing students to better complete group work.

  As for the private room, there are several quiet, independent study rooms for the purpose of recording individual thoughts and ideas after group discussion, which will assist in implementation. The point of a private space is to have a quiet room. The study room is for groups with 2-6 students who can calmly write down their summary of a debate, for example. This stage can be considered a recording process requiring members to recall their memories of the discussion. Therefore, it is necessary to separate these study rooms from the noisy environment of the more public space. The cover of the room should keep students from outside distraction. It also could be a closed room with a window and lockable door (see Pictures Two and Three). In addition, these small study rooms’ shell consists of bright red, blue, green and yellow colors (see Picture Two). These colors reflect student features—confidence, youth, energy, and innovative spirit. Meanwhile, computers cannot be overlooked; they are installed on the desk. In the current digital and Internet era, this tool is essential for students to carry out a project or an assignment.

To achieve this goal, it is essential to receive the support of the university and other local enterprises. This is the main success factor for designing this group work space. Besides, the obvious needs derived from business students play a vital role on the implementation of the group work. The business school, like other schools in Newcastle University, uses this study style to increase students’ cooperation abilities and reach their full potential. Such a space will allow students to build knowledge based upon their own views. Based on this fact, the university should support this project to encourage collaborative work.

  Overall, the group work room this essay intends to design will make the business school more innovative, active and creative. It would be divided into main two parts, a public space and a private space. The aim of the public space is a comfortable place so that students can get involved in this cozy atmosphere. They can throw themselves entirely into the group work. The core goal of the private room is to establish a quiet study room, which is different from the bustling environment outside. It can provide team members with a good space to make notes and summarize their meeting notes from the group project. Although this represents an ideal concept of group work room design, the operability and feasibility of this work room is undeniable.

  • Astin, A. (1993) What matters in college? Four critical years revisited. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  •  Caruso, H.M., and Wooley, A.W. (2008) ‘Harnessing the power of emergent interdependence to promote diverse team collaboration’, Diversity and Groups, 11, 245-266.
  •  Chickering, A. W. and Ehrmann, S. C. (1996) ‘Implementing the seven principles: Technology as lever’, AAHE bulletin49, 3-6.
  •  Davis, T. R. (1984) ‘The influence of the physical environment in offices’, Academy of Management Review9(2), 271-283.
  •  La Marca, S. (2010) Designing the learning environment. Aust Council for Ed Research.
  •  Mannix, E. and Neale, M.A. (2005) ‘What differences make a difference? The promise and reality of diverse teams in organizations’, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 6(2), 31-55.
  •  National Survey of Student Engagement Report (2006)
  •  Sime, J. D. (1986) ‘Creating places or designing spaces?’ Journal of environmental Psychology6(1), 49-63.
  •  Taylor, A. and Greve, H. R. (2006) ‘Superman or the fantastic four? Knowledge combination and experience in innovative teams’, Academy of Management Journal49(4), 723-740.
  •  Tinto, V. (1987) Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

A Thinking Room

Danni Wang (Newcastle)

ThinkingRoom In the new global economy, innovation has become a hot topic in most entrepreneurs. In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in create an innovation lab of an idea factory. Studies of Kania and Kramer (2011) show the importance of innovation workplace, it will enable people, communities and organizations to prosper in a changing world. The purpose of this essay is to make the Newcastle business school become an idea factory. The design idea is based on a question and the author hopes it can make the business more vigorous. This essay has been divided into four parts. The first part deals with the existing question and the vision of the idea factory, to explain how the space promotes the theme. Then the detailed design in the idea factory will be described. The third section is some specific events will be held in the idea factory to encourage the exploration. The fourth part is the guests, which means pointed out the specific skills and competences the idea factory will develop. Finally, the results section evaluates the results of this vision.

Before establishing this idea, the author communicated with quite a few classmates. Then combine her personal experience and regard an existence problem in business school as a starting point, and come out a concept design of idea factory. In business school, there always are a lot of interesting lectures which invited some famous experts or companies. While for some reasons sometime students may miss or cannot attend the lecture which they really want to listen. Additionally, before the lecture, students cannot acquire more information of it, except only a poster hanging in elevators, a advertise mail or a brief description in Facebook. In order to use the school guest lecture more effectively, the design of idea factory could solve this issue.

The vision of this idea factory is modeled around a notion called thinking. The World-famous doctor, theologian and humanitarian Albert Schweitzer wrote that give up clear thinking is equal to spiritual bankruptcy (Bruce, 1998). Thinking is an abstract term, which refers to process the accessed information, to have an opinion about someone or something. Thinking and innovation are closely linked, innovation is inseparable from thinking, and the first step of innovation is to broaden the way of thinking (Owen, 2006). Therefore, the purpose of this idea factory is to use information system to help students take initiative thinking of knowledge, widening way of thinking and coming up with new ideas.

According to Owen (2006), innovation need people think independently and then discuss with others such as brainstorming. So the design of this idea factory will divide the room in two parts. The first part is a closed studio where students can watch the lecture introduce video or lecture video record. In this space, the appearance of studio will be designed as a tree, and also the colors of inside the studio will be green-based colors. In the studio some plants will be put and the ceiling will be painted blue sky and white cloud. All this design allows students like in the nature when they sit in studio, and they will in a comfortable state, have no study burdens (Mattheck, 1998).

For electronic equipment, this studio will choose a large and high-definition touch screen, which allows people to make basic operations to the video conveniently. After watching it, people can make comments or put forward their own ideas on the video discussion area. This function will be achieved by a number of supporting tablets so that students can note their thoughts at any time during the period of watch recording. Of course the basic paper and pen will be provided; if someone prefers handwriting they can write ideas on paper. Then these comments and ideas will be arranged by administrators, and put it into the database avoiding data loss. In addition, students could write some expectation to the future lecture, it will be fed back to the lecture guest and make the latter lecture more targeted. If students pointed out questions when they watch the record video, these question or thoughts will be send to lecture guest regularly and soon students could have the response.

The second part is an open place which is the outside of the studio. In this space, all kinds of facilities for people to communicate and discuss with others will be offered. For instance, various shapes of tables, sofas and chairs will be placed in this space. The colors of this furniture will be very bright, which will not let people produce visual fatigue and can promote inspiration. Meanwhile, the height and shape of the furniture is not same, the reason is that idea factory is unlike to conference room or classroom. In this idea factory, people can sit in a different posture and interact with others. Since the idea factory will hold different activities, the furniture is flexible and it can be used with different themes freely to create appropriate interactive space (Owen, 2006). The Wall color will choose sky blue, this color can make people feel tranquil and forget the stress. A big touch screen will be installed on the wall and it can show and review other people’s thoughts or add new ideas and comments at any time. In this part, a tea room which includes a coffee maker is also designed, and it will provide some basic drinks for students free to add drinks. The function of tea room is to attract more students into this space, and also make this idea factory more attractive (Verganti, 2013). Finally, there will be a display outcome area. It will display some achievements of students which completed in this space, while before the exhibition it must obtain the author’s permission.

Some specific events such as brainstorming, case study and workshop will be held in the idea factory. The purpose of these events is to encourage the exploration and appropriation of the idea factory. For example,through matching the flexible furniture to provide a suitable space for students held brainstorming, to point out their own thoughts. Listen to other people’s thoughts might spark inspiration and come up with new ideas. Or some real companies’ situation could be chosen to conduct a case study. Students could collaborate with others to work out a business plan to help them. Besides, this space can organize a workshop to help students learn the skills which they are interested in.

The aim if this idea factory is to develop the innovative, creative and entrepreneurial capacities of people, organizations and communities, unlocking their potential to generate wealth and to control their own futures. The benefits of this idea factory could be divided into two aspects. Benefits for students from the business school would include: 1) built a place where students can develop their ideas. To produce a new idea is a complex process, this idea factory hope students can find their interests in this space and come up with a new product, service or business method. 2) The ability to deep thinking of knowledge. The introduction video of lecture can promote student thinking ahead, the review record video and brainstorming help students develop a proactive thinking capacity and point out questions. 3) Applying concepts that learned in class through the application of practices. In normal times, there is no chance to practice the course content after course; however, in fact practice could be the best way to deep understand the knowledge. 4) Enhance communicate and management skills. In today’s society, a talent is first to have good communication and management skills. In idea factory, students can develop communication skills through discussing with others and organizing specific events to increase teamwork ability.

Turning to the Sponsor benefits, it would include: 1) Effective use of limited resources and realize maximize efficiency. For business schools, the purpose of hold guest lecture is benefit to students; students can initiatively learn more specific skills from these lectures through the idea factory. 2) Understand students’ thoughts. Through analyzing the data, business school can know what kind of lectures students are interested in, better planning for the future scheme, to provide the lectures that students really want to know. 3) Gaining access and discussing innovative concepts and best practices. At the same time, it will enhance the publicity of Newcastle business school. Companies will be glad when they are invited to give lectures in business school. Not only can let others know their company better, but also the students’ idea might promote the companies development; this can be called a win-win solutions.

For the results of this idea factory, it will be evaluated from three aspects. The first aspect is the flow of people. When people entering into this idea factory, swiping smart card is necessary, so the daily flow people rate can be counted by the enter records. If the flow rate is high, it shows that this idea factory is welcomed by students. The second aspect is the participant comments. Every people entering the idea factory have the chance to express their views of the current factory facilities which includes facility and rule. Every once in a while, the administrator will collect and account these comments, and make use of these feedbacks to improve the innovation laboratory. The more comments the idea factory has the more space it can be improvement. Meanwhile, it can indirectly reflect the high participation rate of this space. The last aspect is the number of ideas produced. Idea is intangible, perhaps it will be a new product, service or business method. This aspect can be evaluated by the results from the display outcome area. The number of the successful achievements will reflect the results of this idea factory.

This essay has described an idea of to make a business school become an idea factory. The core vision of this idea factory is thinking. All the detailed design of idea factory is to support the vision, and also an effect picture is shown to help readers to understand author’s idea more easily. Some specific events such as brainstorming, case study and workshop will be held in the idea factory. Then listed several benefits the idea factory will develop for both guests and sponsors. Finally, three evaluation criterions could be used to evaluate the results of this vision. The author hopes that this idea could be useful in the development of Newcastle business school and let it become more vigorous.


  • Bruce, G. (1998) ‘Go East, young man: Design education at Samsung’, Design Management Journal (Former Series), 9(2), 53-58.
  • Kania J. and Kramer M. (2011) Collective Impact.
  • Available at: (Accessed: 20 May 2014)
  • Mattheck, C. (1998) Design in nature: learning from trees. Springer.
  • Owen, C. L. (2006) ‘Design thinking: Driving innovation’, The Business Process Management Institute, 1-5.
  • Verganti, R. (2013) Design driven innovation: changing the rules of competition by radically innovating what things mean. Harvard Business Press.

The Travel Agency


We want to introduce a travel agent in the library which is a part of the Pau business School and meant for students of this school only.

Regarding that we have done a research on the innovation in tourism sector and how to apply it to design our school library.

Tourism industry is growing faster and faster every day and innovation system plays an important role in tourism development. In this paper, we introduce a model that called attractor-based innovation system that is included different parts such as attractor, scene, scene-maker, scene-taker and the arrangement between tourist and other firms.

The innovation system focuses on service products, market change, customer behaviour and changing the processes, for instance replace new goods, services, organizations etc. The concept of innovation may focus on the process change although process will be connected to innovation systems.

Service innovations are seldom R&D (Research and Development) based, but running by applied experiences. Innovation in services is incremental which means services and processes are rarely changed.

We will investigate that scene-taker as an organization and entrepreneur make an essential role in innovation systems in developing the scene. The purpose of the research is how the tourism innovation system may promote the development of tourism firms.

Product and process innovation related to change in the product or process chain, which represent new products to customer or new service in specific destination or enterprise. In customer purchase decision, product and process innovations might play a significant role in tourism sector (Hjalager, 2010).

Process innovations refer typically to backstage initiatives that aim at growing efficiency, production and flow. Technology investments are the anchor of typical process innovation, occasionally in mixture with reengineered layouts for manual work operations. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been the base of many process innovations in current decades, and it has involved a major strand of research interest with its own agendas and institutions (Buhalis & Law, 2008).For instance, process innovation can be established permeating into visitor attractions for the targets of crowd organization.

Process innovations occur broadly in tourism. With an example from winter sports that scrutinize how ski lift capacity is a serious factor in process efficiency and that selection of technology for that reason is critical.

However, the notion of an attractor-based innovation system in tourism sector that we will recommend in this paper is different from the common innovation system approach performed to tourism. It is more precise since it identifies an obvious originator of the innovation system for instance the attractor and the scene-maker and it introduce development process in the model for instance a scene-taker taking over from the scene-maker and making local networks. Accordingly, an attractor-based tourism model is one example of the common innovation system in tourism sector.

Introducing an attractor-based innovation system model

The tourism development, which is, growth in proceeds and revenue and qualitative regeneration, needs innovations. The tourism development in a region may not exactly belong to innovation by a particular tourism firm. Somewhat, it can be dependent on other surrounding factors in the particular area. This geographical area may not, be seen absolutely as a special destination.

In order to investigate the model we need to focus on both innovation and entrepreneurship. The entrepreneurs develop the innovative courage and the essential structures, procure the knowledge and maybe project capital. Therefore, entrepreneurship is the main requirement for innovation. A community entrepreneur could be defining as a social leader who is constructing networks in the best way.

The attractor is defined as an event, movement, association or the like that absorbs people to the destination. Attractors generate attention; it is not necessary for them to have special connection with tourism. For instance, the head offices of a famous business or a famous sporting event like (Mattsson, Jan, Sundbo, Jon and Fussing-Jensen, Christjan, 2005)

The attractor transformation happens when it is connected to a situation, what we have called a scene. It includes giving the attractor a clear place and identity in the destination. The main framework for the whole experience of visitors may happen when the attractor is transfigured into a scene. Therefore, the scene is a symbol for the way the attractor integrated with its surrounding situation and conceptualized.

The scene-maker is the person who is creating the scene and he investigates the possibilities of applying the attractor for improved visitation. Since the scene-maker establish and conceptualizes the scene, he can be an innovator. He could be an entrepreneur, he may not maintain the scene and he may not be part of tourism section or he may not profit from the generated scene individually. The scene-maker can be an individual, or an organization, a personal firm or a community.

A scene-taker is a part of model’s function, which can be an individual, a personal firm or a community that is capable to take over and continue from that of the scene-maker. The scene-taker has entrepreneurial personality no matter even if it is a person or an organization. The scene-taker is determined and efforts to maintain the scene. The Scene-taker’s operations may make profit for personal tourism firm by becoming component of a collaborative network rising on the scene.

Propositions connected to model of attractor-based tourism innovation system listed below:

• All components of the model must be present to ensure economic and social viability.

• The scene-taker is the most crucial function. • • A scene must have been created before the transition from the scene-maker to the scene-taker can take place.

• If a scene-taker is present, tourism firms get more business if they make an active effort to utilize the scene.

• Successful utilization of the attractor (positive effects economically or socially) requires innovation in the tourism firms.

• Successful utilization of the attractor (positive effects economically or socially) requires a collaborative network between the tourism firms.

• Conservatism of tourism firms in relating to local firms in other sectors impedes attractor utilization.” (Mattsson, Jan, Sundbo, Jon and Fussing-Jensen, Christjan, 2005)

The Mercure Project

Nikita Godard, Arthur Guena, Antoine Natta

“Give a child a pen; he will draw. Give a 2.0 child a communication center; he will communicate”

A pedagogic challenge faced by the French Business Schools is to fill the gap between the theoretical world and the professional one. This is even more critical when dealing with communication where savoir-faire is the only-thing that actually matter. While some common subjects can be properly taught through lecture, communication needs practice to be actually improved. If everyone gets a natural need to communicate, the tools of modern communication are barely accessible.

I.             Mercure project

That is why, we decided through the project “Design your Business School”, to set up a laboratory which will provide specific resources to the students, allowing them to improve their communication skills. This innovative library, that we named Mercure, will represent a new strength for its school. Indeed, this practical space will provide a sophisticate audio & video studio, an adaptable space of collaboration, plants, an inspiring creation area, while maintaining its traditional library services. Mercure will not be useful only for students; this communication center could become the area where synergies, between the different internal (students, teachers, administrations, students associations…) and external (Lecturers, CCI, Professional and Businesses…) actors, could be developed. Therefore this project is about enriching all the interactions around the business school, through better quality of equipments and services.

II.           Mercure at the ESC Pau

A.     Required Skills

In order to accomplish the project, several skills and competences are necessary such as:

  •           Designer
  •           IT system Engineer
  •           Audio/Video Engineer
  •           Communication expert

B.      The ESC Pau Mercure Laboratory

1.      The Minerve cabinet

The physical library will take less space through a progressive process of dematerialization of the archives, which are stocked in the backrooms, and a reorganization of the books in a small room. This small “Knowlegde well” will be opened to the Minerve cabinet to make easier the access to the books, while saving space. The Minerve cabinet will be a common and collaborative room that we would design like a Google Space (with colors, sofas, plants, and designed seats). The The Minerve cabinet will be sharable in smaller rooms thanks to movables walls, to enable teamwork and adapt the space in accordance with the size of the groups. This comfortable space will facilitate exchanges, socialization and combination of knowledge (tacit/explicit). Around this adaptable area, the project articulates three rooms centered on Communication skills.

Estimated price: around 40000€ (without installation)

2.      The Jupiter Space (Creation)

The Crea-Space will provide tools to enable students to create physical communication supports. It includes high quality colors printers, scanners linked to a computer provided with image editing software. What’s more, this space will permit students to share easily ideas thanks to a circular table with a video projector in the middle and white boards on the walls around it. The concept is about sharing ideas through the expression of each individual person from each group on a white board. Then, the circular table is going to facilitate the integration of each idea in one common vision, before realizing the output.

Estimated price: around 5000€ (without installation) planned for 6 people group.

3.      The Phoebus workshop (Sound)

This room is soundproof and provides a circular table, with as many microphones and headphones as seat, several speakers and a prompter (such as a tablet). This will enable students or professionals to create radio advertising, broadcast on the radio and take part in international conferences.

Estimated price for 10 seats: 5000€ (without installation)

4.      The Pythie temple (Video)

This room will provide a green-screen, a high quality camera, costumes, accessories and speakers. To profit or to hide from the natural sunlight, this specific area will have several windows equipped with lightproof blinds. An additional screen will be on the room to allow the student in front of the camera to get an instant feedback. The Video-Space is the main core of the project, because it will give to the business school the opportunity of the video sharing channels access (such as Dailymotion and YouTube), in terms of communication and practices. Students, associations and professional will be able to broadcast video which could be followed by many people, and it could potentially do a buzz through social networks.

Estimated price: 5000€ (without installation) for 5 people (Engineer, actors, prompter…)

    1. The Vulcain

This space will be established between the Phoebus workshop and the Phytie temple and will provides enough computers to record, edit, mix and broadcast the outputs. What is more, the Vulcain will enable students to practice on digital marketing tools and on editing audio and video files.

Estimated price: 5000€ (without installation) for 6 users.

  1. Mercure’s Spaces Interactions

To favor the interactions within the new library, the Thinking Room will give an insight on each space thanks to internal windows (still equipped with blinds) and doors. The project considers the Thinking Room between the both bay windows with an insight on the external environment. The Crea-Space will be implemented in the middle of this main work area, and will be made of transparent walls and door. Several screens will broadcast outputs from the different spaces.

  1. Budget and reputation proposition

The Mercure project is expansive and can be a good opportunity to develop new business relationship. It can easily welcome an external partner to settle a co-branding agreement under the form of a sponsoring through naming (i.e.: “Philips Esc Pau Mercure Laboratory”). It’s a win-win situation. It is a way for the selected partner to underline its involvement in its social responsibility, and promote his innovation and top range product. The school on its side would get a financial support, enhance its credibility and get the opportunity to welcome a new major partner.

C.      Project promotion and animation

Like the AJE (Association de la Junior Entreprise) the project will require a student association which will in charge of the promotion, and management of Mercure. In term of promotion, the project suggests YouTube and Dailymotion channels where the students will be able to put their works, to show it to anybody (recruiters, candidates, institution, partners, friends…). Those video sharing channels will be linked to social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkIn…) and the ESC Pau official website where works from the Jupiter Space and the Vulcain will be shared to promote the school.

With the Mercure project, this students association in charge and leaded by an ESC Pau manager, will respond to communication issues from local businesses. This new association will provide a new low cost students marketing service to ESC Pau external partners (Operational services creating ads). Therefore, the communication laboratory will also provide to students, through this new professional activity, to practice on a real business cases. Moreover, some trainings will be organize to provide for student the ways to use potentially complex tools.

D.     Considerations

The project must consider the planning (reserve each space before), the security (necessity of taking care about the equipment via a badging system keeping a track of users), the interface between software. To solve this problem, the project suggests a reservation system based on a caution. Reservations will be possibly done by the administration, lecturers or students on the school’s intranet (E-campus).

To control the success of this project, the business school should take care about:

  •           Utilization rate for each space / Visits
  •           Businesses entrance rate
  •           Students and Professionals (Administration and external partners) satisfaction survey
  •           Incidents numbers regarding the equipments
  •           Number of outputs, segmented by nature (from each space)
  •           Number of projects (Teamwork, Class work)

E.      Project within a global Strategy

To be successful the Mercure project must be embodied in a bigger project that will concern the reorganization of the building’s whole ground floor. Therefore some there is some steps to follow:

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5 Step 6 Step 7 Step 8 Step 9
Space optimization Equipment/furniture suppliers identification Partners selections Security system to set up Set up a planning system Realization Creation of the student association and selection the ESC employee in charge of it Creation and management of the promotion (event creation) Animation (set up and management of training)

F.      The Happy End

The vision behind the Mercure project is to create a collaborative place where students will be willing to go and to use the communications tools that are provided. Through this daily living they will improve their communication skills, and integrate it on their association life. The school associations will also improve their communication and so the result of their actions.

Once this integration in the student life achieved the teachers will naturally have a new pedagogic tool at their disposition. Tool that will be also a new service that the school will be able to provide to its partners, and create new business opportunity.

Eventually the Mercure project is a good way to enhance the credibility and the visibility of the school, through the social media and through the conventional ones.