The 2-day workshop, scheduled for 28 – 29 April 2019 in Halle (Saale), Germany, aims to:

  • impart new members with the skills they need to optimize their experience at the AGM and beyond – during their GYA tenure and in their careers.
  • create a bond between new members
  • develop skills around brainstorming and harnessing new ideas
  • raise awareness about listening and facilitating conversations
  • explore targeted conversations within the context of science communication
  • raise awareness about working in diverse groups and collaborating
  • learn tools for constructive and effective evaluation (PPC/o)

The workshop, designed and facilitated by KnowInnovation and its initiative, Inclusive Innovation, will support early-career investigators and help them reflect on how to be leaders, both in terms of their research initiatives, but also influencing the institutions and communities where they live and work. It will also give them confidence as they begin their tenure with the GYA and attend their first general meeting.

The expected outcomes of this workshop are:

  • Participants learn and practice specific collaborative tools (productive problems, idea generation, angel’s advocate, PPC/o, etc.).
  • Raised awareness about communication and active listening
  • New Members develop confidence to inject themselves productively into the meetings and to optimize their engagement and contribution within the GYA and beyond

Approach & Methodology

Knowinnovation & Inclusive Innovation approaches every meeting or workshop as an opportunity to solve problems. It’s not about “moderating” a meeting, but rather facilitating a highly interactive event in which people roll up their sleeves, engage in thoughtful and useful conversations that lead to productive output. We use activities that invite participants to explore a challenge and define it, collectively, before jumping to premature conclusions. Sometimes it involves activities that help them to generate a number of options before settling on one. In almost every case, the workshop or meeting is designed to create or reinforce a shared understanding of the topic at hand and to inspire higher commitment to taking action as a result of having participated in the event.

Our method employs elements from a number of creative processes. At the core is Creative Problem Solving (CPS); the oldest and most researched deliberate creativity methodology, which is flexible, and resilient, in a wide range of situations. It offers a non-prescriptive approach to problem solving. Inclusive Innovation also employs the tools and techniques of Design Thinking and Appreciative Inquiry.

Background

As an organization of early to mid-career scientists who come together to explore and expand their leadership capacity, the Global Young Academy (GYA) aims to unlock the potential of these young scientists from around the globe. The organization works to enhance scientific capacity building and science education, and to impact science policy on an international level, as well as to support its members in providing fresh insights on major challenges in the field of science.

The GYA helps young scientists develop competency in their selected field of research but also in how they manage their departments and labs, how they talk about their science, conduct discourse across disciplines, develop networks and engage the public with science, how they use their scientific knowledge to impact policy – in essence how to demonstrate leadership both within the academic circles, the communities they serve and the regions and disciplines they represent. These soft skills, however, aren’t necessarily part of the learning pathway for many scientists.

Rather, the focus is on developing knowledge and technical skills, and scientists are expected to intuit what they need to know in order to communicate, lead and facilitate others. This was part of the impetus for the Africa Science Leadership Program (ASLP), a GYA supported initiative to give young scientists a “training” to develop these kinds of skills that allow them to engage more effectively across disciplines, and up and down the hierarchy of their universities and academies.

Knowinnovation (KI) and its initiative, Inclusive Innovation (II), has been involved in the development of the workshop design of the Africa SLP, the ASEAN SLP, as well as other leadership programs in Thailand and Kuala Lumpur, and the GYA co-organized pre-conference workshops at the World Science Forum and CILAC. The idea of putting tools for co-creation, collaboration and communication in the hands of these young scientists and to cultivate a more culturally agile and sensitive rapport at this stage in the careers will help them to have more impact as they progress in their professions, and will have a productive impact on the development of the next generation of scientists, as well.

Last year, KI designed and facilitated a 2-day science leadership workshop for new GYA members prior to the Annual General Meeting in Thailand. This gave the new class of members a chance to build rapport prior to the meeting, and also exposed them to tools that enabled them to optimize their experience with other GYA members at the AGM and beyond. If repeated over the course of the next few years with successive member cohorts, there is the possibility to create an even more collaborative culture at the GYA, and a next generation of scientists who approach problems and leadership creatively and collaboratively.