The Innovation & Impact Centre (I&IC) of the TU Delft assists board members, researchers and companies in setting up collaborations to disseminate knowledge that is developed together and/or gained internally; a complex, creative and information-intensive task:
'Because we have many types of collaborations, relevant information is spread all across the university. Whenever my colleagues needed data regarding past or current collaborations, they mainly relied on their personal networks or asked me to provide lists. This was very time consuming and often resulted in incomplete overviews. Without having this information readily available, it was quite hard and frustrating to prepare meetings or write proposals.'
Amy and her colleagues felt collecting relevant information within the university could be done more easily, efficiently and complete. They envisioned a system that would serve as a gateway to all internal and external data sources, that would link related data together and that would present relevant information in an accessible format. Based on good experiences with a search application Spinque had previously built for a faculty of TU Delft, Amy and her colleagues selected Spinque to help them realize the envisioned application.
Together with Amy we planned three sprints. We started with a design sprint in which we mapped out the problem and designed a prototype that was tested by Amy and her colleagues. In the two additional sprints we developed the prototype into a mature application for the I&IC:
'The collaboration with Spinque was very pleasant. They already knew the university world and actively contributed ideas. The design sprint quickly concretized things and gave me a good sense about what was feasible and what was not. The agile approach of the project further provided a lot of flexibility. When we had to wait longer than expected for some of our data to become available, we could easily adjust the plan. I really appreciated that.'
The resulting search application, named EQUIP, gives read-only access to the integrated data from all available internal and external sources. It allows users to find projects based on the partners involved or by the content of a project. Each project subsequently lists the relevant information from all data sources: the project period, the principal investigator, the participants and their role, the budget, etc.
EQUIP is used with great satisfaction by Amy and her colleagues. The search application saves them time because they no longer have to combine information themselves; they gain faster and better insights. The information selection process has also become more transparent because Amy's colleagues can now access everything themselves and are no longer dependent on her.
'Preparing new collaborations or projects now starts with 'pulling a list from EQUIP'. Much of the manual preparatory work that I previously did now has already been done. My colleagues are better informed and well-equipped to start new collaborations and maintain relationships.'
And EQUIP is not a black box. After the I&IC started using the application, Amy took the Spinque Desk Introductory Course and now knows what's under the hood. She now tinkers with EQUIP herself and, together with us, she ensures that the application continues to meet the wishes of her colleagues and herself.
Spinque puts Amy and her colleagues in charge of their search and enables them to easily and quickly set up new collaborations to create impact for a better society.
TU Delft is the oldest and largest Dutch technical university. With eight faculties and numerous research institutes it has more than 28.000 students and 6.000 employees. The TU Delft | Innovation & Impact Centre (I&IC) is the knowledge transfer office of the university. It is responsible for the transfer and application of knowledge for the benefit of society; the third core task of the university besides education and research. The I&IC does this by collaborating with companies, supporting start-ups and assisting researchers in applying for grants and drafting research proposals.
Amy Vriend is business intelligence data analyst. She provides management information (analysis, trends, overviews) to various teams within the I&IC to help them set up their projects and to shape and implement their policies.
My colleagues are better informed and well-equipped to start new collaborations and maintain relationships.
In this project a search application tailored to the specific needs of a knowledge transfer office was developed in a series of spints. Multiple internal and external data sources were integrated into a knowledge graph, information needs of business developers were identified and search strategies were designed to support them.
To what information would your users like to gain efficient insight? Let us know, we are happy to think along!
We offer the search application to other universities under the name EQUIP. Visit spinque.com/equip if you are curious about the possibilities for your university.