18th October 2017 - No Comments!

Some remarks on EIT Alumni CONNECT 2017

Author - Jonas Moll, EIT Health alumnus

As I wrote in my last blog post the EIT Alumni Connect event was hosted in Budapest October 15 –  October 16. I really had a great time during this event and if I should choose one word to describe the overall impression I got from the event it would be “Inspiring”! 

First of all, I really liked the setting in the room we all gathered in during the event. There were around 100 participants and 16 round tables. The activities performed during the first day made sure that there were representatives from several alumni networks (EIT Health, EIT Digital, EIT Raw Materials, EIT Climate-KIC and EIT InnoEnergy) at each table. This gave participants an excellent opportunity to develop an understanding of the different EIT Alumni communities.

One of the main aims of the event was to provide an opportunity to connect with other alumni and the setting ensured that networking could be performed both within and across the represented communities.

One especially interesting group activity was performed during the last part (before dinner) of the first day. The main aim was to work on real problems identified by the participants – problems related to the main areas of the EIT - in a Co-creation session.

The group work activity started out with a discussion among the participants at the respective tables about different project ideas that we would like to work on. My idea was, of course, based on patient accessible electronic health records and more specifically means of using these systems as mediators during patient visits. The ideas presented at my table were very different from one another since the participants represented different alumni networks.

The next step was a very short pitch, given on stage so that everyone could hear. About 20 participants pitched ideas. Based on the pitches the rest of the participants then decided which idea they wanted to work with for the rest of the day.
I never pitched my own idea, since I was really curious about another participant’s idea (about developing a system to enable digital consent for use of health data in research) and hence wanted to work on that instead.

During the following 1.5 hours we discussed the respective projects within the newly formed project groups. The focus was to develop the idea and to develop a pitch which should be presented to a jury. This step was really important, since the three top groups would get financial support from the EIT Alumni Board, which they should use to implement the ideas!
Just before lunch the second day the three winners, named EIT Roadshow (bringing entrepreneurial education to schools), Impact ( a challenge solving platform for NGOs) and EIT Chaos (an EIT Alumni feedback system), were announced.

The gamification component introduced in the group work activity was really working. Everyone gave great pitches and there were so many interesting ideas represented in the room. I’m quite sure the jury had a tough choice to make. I also think it’s great the EIT Alumni actually offers financial support to promising projects.

The keynotes speakers of the event covered the EIT Alumni Community in general as well as some successful spin-offs projects from earlier years of EIT Alumni Connect as a form of inspiration for this year's participants. One of this spin-offs was the new group Women@EIT.

A few challenges faced by the EIT and its alumni community were also mentioned. One identified need was that end users should be involved to a higher degree. EIT also wants to add new Innovation Communities so that all major issues we face today are covered (integration, security and water protection are a few areas that are not covered today). The board also wants to create even more collaborations across KICs. I really think the last point is important, since key challenges must be addressed from several different angles.

I really enjoyed being a part of the EIT Alumni Connect activity and I’m really considering applying for one of the open positions at the EIT Health Alumni board. (as I said earlier EIT Health Alumni is fairly new). 

I will end this post with some words different participants used to describe EIT Alumni Connect during the first session today. I think they summarize what the EIT is about in a good way: networking, explosive, fun, collaboration, innovation, inspiration.

Published by: Robin in EIT Alumni News

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