InnovationACT has kicked off for another year. As with previous IACT cohorts, over the next two months, teams will be undergoing invigorating workshops, mentoring, team building and challenges as previous years, but things will be looking a little different this year, as this will all now be happening within an online environment.
Building a meaningful team relationship and finding one’s stride in the IACT program is more important than ever before, and will likely more challenging too, given the physical distance between us all. Luckily, behind the scenes there is a dedicated team working to make this transition as seamless as possible, ensuring the team experience will be one to remember.
While the IACT20 teams were busy working away with their teams at the first workshop, our Marketing Officers took the opportunity to speak to members of the IACT Collective and Committee, who are the crew behind the InnovationACT program.
The Collective comprises of IACT alumni who have returned to the program to give back and share their wisdom with new participants, and the Committee are those who are both facilitating and supporting the running of the program.
We spoke to some of the team about their past experiences with IACT, why they have returned in a supporting role, and what their best tips were for all our new participants who are taking on this year’s program.
“Everyone wants different things out of IACT, but all those different things are encouraged”
Introducing Tom! A returning member of the Collective, Tom participated in 2016 after coming across an IACT Facebook ad, and wanting to take a course project further. He was ultimately part of a winning team, with a venture developing a large area wireless charging solution.
Tom loves the buzzing atmosphere of IACT, where the room is full of energy and people are encouraging and supportive of one another. He says, ‘everyone wants different things out of IACT, but all those different things are encouraged.’ This makes him more than happy to return, as he believes that returnees have great feedback to offer. More than anything, it is a really fun experience. His biggest tip for new participants is to let down your guard. While people often feel cautious about communicating, or protective over their ideas, the faster the barriers break down the better!
Awais a.k.a. Mr. Bee:
We now turn to Mr. Bee, another member of our Collective, who has returned for another year to share knowledge and short-cuts for the new generation. Being both a past participant and mentor, he believes that by standing on the shoulders of others you can achieve great things. He wants to help new participants over the hurdles he experienced, so they can reach new heights. His biggest tip is to not be afraid to ask for advice: this is not a solo assignment. The more people, the better!
“This is not a solo assignment. The more people, the better”
“When you talk to customers and interview people, do it in person”
Meet Harry, a Program Officer in our Committee. Harry completed IACT last year, and his venture is still ongoing, despite being slowed by COVID. The enjoyment and great community has brought him back to IACT, and he is excited to give back by helping new participants.
As for his biggest tip: ‘when you talk to customers and interview people, do it in person, don’t do it over email… try to actually be there. Talk to people in real life, it’s way better. Or over zoom I guess – not surveys!’
Last but not least, we have Sasha. A participant in 2015, Sasha has returned several times, both as a Committee and Collective member. Being a multidisciplinary person, she loves the chance to bring lots of different experiences and perspectives to the table. She values the family-like support network which IACT embraces, and finds it a great way to build an extensive network. As she says, ‘to be a part of it is really amazing.’
Full of advice, her first tip is to connect with your team as much as possible, particularly in this online environment: ‘Don’t just work on things but hang out, become friends, create a bond.’ Secondly, don’t be afraid to reach out.
‘It can be a little bit daunting… but definitely worthwhile, everyone is super friendly, you can’t ask a wrong question. You’re amongst your supporters.’
A great note to finish on. And there’s plenty more wisdom and advice our Committee and Collective have to share with you throughout the program, so make sure you start taking notes and being proactive about seeking out the support.
With one exciting week down, and many more to go, we can’t wait for what is to come.
Good luck to all our teams! Game on.