the future of Tecnopuc
CriaLab is the key Tecnopuc initiative aimed at stimulating creativity
Innovation requires vision, strategy, and the ability to create and generate ideas and develop new skills and expertise, fostering interdisciplinarity and the exchange of experiences.
The positive tension created by teams that are interdisciplinary, multifunctional and multigenerational, enables people to complement and challenge each other to build something new and to change the world we live in for the best. Developing environments and skills for this to happen freely, openly and systemically is one of the goals of Tecnopuc.
Creativity is viewed by the Park managers as one of the fundamental pillars of innovation. This is especially true in the case of disruptive innovation, which changes the lives of individuals and how they relate to the world radically for the best.
This is why new structures are being built to support these initiatives, such as CriaLab, for instance. In the entrepreneurial network around Tecnopuc, this is a space for creative dialog. But, at first glance, the visual of the multicolored room suggests a fun and relaxed atmosphere, with a stage and mini bleachers, shelves full of books, mobile furniture, and television. It resembles a playroom. A playground of creativity and innovation.
The challenge is to combine multidisciplinarity, mobility and visual appeal to encourage solving complex themes which could not be solved alone by one field of knowledge, or at least, would not be solved alone in the most creative way possible.
“It is a participative environment for creation, and it is contagious because of the relevance of the problem in question”, says Luis Humberto de Mello Villwock, Coordinator of CriaLab and Inovapucrs Network. He has been conducting implementation of the laboratory since 2011.
CriaLab is the backbone of the Tecnopuc initiatives aimed at encouraging creativity, and it will add the idea of open innovation and environment to the co-working style, in order to boost the future. The site has been explored by members of the academic community of PUCRS, companies established in the Park and out of its borders, specialists and representatives of organizations from the private and public sectors, all mobilized to get answers.
The dilemmas and projects that arise in the laboratory could benefit an enterprise, a technology ecosystem or even a city or region.
I often say that we have here a gastronomy school for the brain. People come in, interact, and build. Nobody is creative only when they are in this environment. This is later transposed to the reality of each individual”, says Villwock. CriaLab is a combination of a unique physical space and talents trained for the use of methodologies of discussion and processes already validated or in the process of being validated.
The laboratory has got bigger and bolder at the premises of Global Tecnopuc. The laboratory was established in the complex as it became strategic in the encouragement of new projects for companies and consortia, as well as in a greater projection for the University. This model was recognized by Finep, the main funder for the new complex.
Teaching institutions of excellence, many of which are among the most innovative in the world, have initiatives of this kind. The Coordinator of CriaLab visited some model premises, in order to help in designing the local format. At Stanford (United States), this environment is called D. School, part of the Institute of Design, with multipurpose rooms and panels that move on rails, originating physical spaces that meet the creative demands of each project. The large studio has a prototype room, which is their most irreverent area.
It is an open environment that is compartmentalized with projects.
“It looks like a giant mess”, he says.
One of the most popular methodologies for the development of ideas and products is Design Thinking, a creation of Stanford, which was imprinted on the infrastructure of Crialab. More inspiration came from the University of Navarra, Spain. At Navarra, there are rooms for free creation, with listening and relaxing spaces, as well as rooms such as the work place and the white room, which is completely closed and free from external stimuli, where taking chances is allowed.
To understand the reason for being and the importance of CriaLab, linking it to the structure formed by Inovapucrs Network is relevant. The initiative complemented the support system for ideas and businesses, alongside the Enterprise Management Agency (AGE), the Entrepreneurial Nucleus, and Raiar (for pre-incubation and incubation). Inovapucrs Network articulates all powers – companies, Academia and government –, using the Creativity Laboratory to generate new projects. It is a space where ideas are exposed, problematized, debated, and negotiated, as well as a place to create strategies for turning these ideas into reality.
The Laboratory is grounded on three pillars: peopleware (focusing on people and how relationships are built); software (dynamic interaction processes, with the use of search technologies and information storage to establish connections through the development of collaborative mental mapping); and hardware (modular environment allowing movement, interaction, communication, and registration that generates multiple access to knowledge). The triad brings together the physical environment, people, and processes.
The creative circuit starts with a meeting aiming at identifying the focus of the investigation; negotiating how things will be carried out; developing a working methodology; and identifying how the interaction and the co-creation ability will be monitored, how feedback reports will be written, and, finally, how results will be stored. One example of application of this script was the search for a plan to revitalize the Dilúvio stream, which is close to PUCRS. More than 70 people connected to ten institutions in Porto Alegre and Viamão were called, coming from places such as universities, the public sector, the community and the private sector.
For six months, intensive meetings were held (some of which in CriaLab), and resulted in a series of actions to celebrate awareness and education as a way of building a new environment where there was nothing but pollution and neglect.
The result was a document that is now at the disposal of the mayors of the two cities. The biggest triumph in this development was the use of a creativity-relevant process, so that everyone knows what needs to be addressed first, and the steps that will be taken next.
This is a new environment even for PUCRS itself. In 2014, the University brought together approximately 80 people from all areas of knowledge in the institution, in order to form a network of agents to create projects. The tool worked as a mechanism to improve communication and interrelations.