I am continuing my reports of field visits that took place this week as a part of the Application Partner Days (APDs) of the Learning Layers (LL) project. This blog article focuses on the visit to the premises of Agentur für Nachhaltiges Bauen and its sister organisations in Verden (South-East of Bremen).
As we have been informed in the project, the Agentur is part of an organisational grouping that is based in Verden and has formed a joint network to promote ecological (sustainable) construction work. Currently this grouping runs an activity centre (Ökozentrum) which provides room for craft trade companies, architect office and joint training facilities. In the year 2014 the network will have a major exhibition building that is currently under construction. The initial buildings were originally used by the German army and they have been reshaped and repurposed for training activities. The new buildings are already demonstration cases for using strawball material for constructing walls. The exhibition building is a demonstration case for wood construction with five storeys.
After a tour round the premises the hosts brought us to a seminar room and organised a major ‘carousel’ workshop. The participants were allocated to four topic tables in which a network member (or two) took the role of hosting the discussion. Each group had a large sheet of paper to make notes (or to add to the notes of the previous group) and sticker dots to mark priority areas for further discussion. After 25 minutes the groups rotated between the hosts. Altogether we managed to complete three sessions in each topic table.
The topic tables were based on the following issues:
- Meister Manfred (Entrepreneur in carpentry and woodwork) hosted a topic table in which he informed of the development of an iPad app for his company to inform their cost calculation program of the time needed for specific jobs at the construction site. This input (supported by a parallel case of another entrepreneur) triggered a discussion on other uses of iPad (or other tablet PCs) at construction sites.
- Architect Enno (Director of the Agentur and co-founder of the network) hosted a table in which he informed of everday life experiences about lack of knowledge sharing between contractors (entrepreneurs) and their staff (craftsmen who do the job). This input (supported by the visualisation of the user story) triggered a discussion on simple applications that would be helpful to overcome such gaps of communication.
- Architect Ute (Member of the network) hosted a table in which she informed of the plans for the opening exhibition during the inauguration of the new building. The idea is to provide a “learning exhibition” that makes good use of live experience on site, of effective web demonstrations and active contact with different target groups (to serve them better on site and via web). This input triggered a discussion of various groups and different needs or interests to be catered for.
- Project managers Melanie (Bau ABC) and Tobias (Agentur) hosted a table in which they facilitated discussion on knowledge sharing, collaboration and networking in craft trades. They presented inputs on different regions and on different groupings with which they have cooperated. These triggered a discussion on factors that restrict or increase willingness to cooperation (“business as usual” or “competitive advantage with holistic solutions”).
After three rotations the carousel was finished with a brief plenary that had to be stopped abruptly because of time constraints. Yet, the discussions were kicked alive and the issues were there.
To be continued …
Acknowledgements. This work is supported by the European Commission under the FP7 project LAYERS (no. 318209), http://www.learning-layers.eu.