Explore Collaborations: The project was titled ‘Friendly’ and was commissioned by the fast moving consumer goods company - Unilever

Planning the Collaboration

Tutors were asked the following question to help them to reflect on the issues and decisions considered before the project began:

How were the groups formed and how many students were in each group?

, and the average size of the group was 3.

What were the main reasons for setting up a collaborative project?
The tutor indicated a collaborative project was set up:

  • To develop interpersonal skills
  • The assignment was too large for one student to complete
  • To learn to work in a group
  • To learn from your peers
  • To simulate a 'real-world experience'

What were the client's expectations at the start of the project?

Creating a relationship between the staff team and the organisation through tele-conferencing and visiting the company helped to share expectations. Quite often the academic staff team visited with an outline proposal that was broad and allowed them to take ownership, at other times working to the collaborators problems and issues. Neither side was interested in short-term product development, there was much more interest in ‘future gazing’ and the experimental.

How did you align the client's expectations with the module's learning objectives?

There was no conflict with educational goals and collaborative goals – the students entered into a learning contract about making relevant contact with industry and realising the companies ambitions, the outcomes are not necessarily based on tangible products. The module doesn’t need to describe a particular outcome – taking a broad view of the subject for broad collaboration and experimentation. The outcomes could be an artefact, service or system.