Collaboration through ‘Un-workshop’
“Collaboration leads to innovation” is a phrase I learned here at Illinois Tech during my freshman year. Illinois Tech’s signature IPRO (Interprofessional Projects) program was created, branching from that common belief. Once I began my journey in many student organizations, it was plain to see that the ideas of ‘collaboration’ fell short due to lack of internal communication between departments.
As semesters went by and my involvement increased, I couldn’t help but be disappointed by the potential we were wasting as a university, and I knew I wasn’t alone. The Continuous Improvement (CI) unit has a passion not only for this school but developing best practices and strategies within departments to increase collaboration and implement change. This “Un-workshop” was hosted by the CI team late this summer, and it urged the participants to reflect upon their project processes. I was impressed with their idea and implementation in regards to increasing comfortability and collaborative energy within the group.
The participants consisted of about 10 staff and 1 faculty member, who collectively decided to focus the discussion on the following major topics: communication, project phasing, management, and motivation. After the desired topics were decided they were then divided into mini groups to talk about issues they’ve faced and solutions they’ve found. I was surprised by the excitement staff members possessed by listening to current issues that they could help solve or give input. I finally felt there was a desire to help other departments work through issues that affect the whole school. Improving processes, modifying programs, and changing paths are the way in which our university can sustain a successful amount of positive innovation.
As a student and an executive member of student organizations, I felt a great desire to add input into campus-based issues because collaboration requires different perspectives to produce the best results. Within the small group I felt a real sense of passion to make their issues better, and as fellow members of Illinois Tech we are all striving for the same ultimate goal. Meaning that whether you are a student, staff member, or faculty member, we are all a team at the end of the day. We are all working, doing our personal best to improve the university, so why is there such a barrier between departments? I think as members of the Illinois Tech community we need to assume good intentions in each other, support one another’s endeavors, and pursue our individual paths to making this university better. The “Un-workshop” mentality encompasses the way we should be involved with each other daily — helping each other with the knowledge we are dying to share.
About the Author
Samantha (Sammye) Hudson is a 3rd year Biomedical Engineer on the Neural track at Illinois Tech. She has been an Student Government Association Senator, and currently serves on the executive board for Kappa Phi Delta and Union Board. She started work in the CI unit, the summer of 2018 and has enjoyed supporting departments on campus since. After acquiring her degree, she plans to pursue a career in medical device development here in Chicago.