A Radical Innovation Sprint to Remember

A Radical Innovation Sprint to Remember

Monday 01 Feb 21

Radical Innovation Sprint 2020 was a very different process than usual with most of the sprint being virtual due to the corona pandemic. The basic idea was still the same, though: Scientific researchers volunteered to leave their comfort zone and work on unusual projects on a fast track in order to boost innovation.

On 12 January, more than 30 researchers gathered on Zoom for the annual Radical Innovation Sprint Close-Out Day. A day where the sprinters from Radical Innovation Sprint 2020 come together sharing their results and celebrating the end of three intense months of research.

Virtual knowledge sharing

"Everything has been taking place in a virtual space", says Advisor at DHRTC and member of the Radical Innovation Team, Karen Guldbæk Schmidt.

This meant that many of the sprinters never met the Radical Innovation Team physically. Nevertheless, the twelve selected projects were supported during the research phase and they all crossed the finish line. The researchers presented their research findings on Close-Out Day to their fellow sprinters, to DHRTC’s programme managers, and to the Local Focal Points from DHRTC’s five partner institutions.

The presentations sparked interesting discussions between the researchers and the audience, inspiring new or further research and development of the findings.

"One of the things that classify the sprinters is that they have an inquisitive, innovative mind. They are willing to explore the unknown and take chances, often with great research results", states Karen Guldbæk Schmidt.

From late life to alternative energy production

The projects varied in theme, but there was an emerging trend of a focus on sustainability and reducing the environmental footprint by cleaning produced water of pollutants with everything from reusable microvehicles to piezocatalytic nanofibers.

Several projects focused on the late life and transition of oil fields. One of the projects studied how to convert mature oil reservoirs to hydrogen storage and methane reservoirs to the benefit of future generations. Another theme was alternative energy production and storage, where one team studied how to use the self-driving techniques of membrane distillation for energy transfer.

The 12 Radical Innovation Sprint projects were funded as a one-off opportunity. It is now up to the sprinters to decide whether to continue working with the ideas or following new ideas. The call for the Radical Innovation Sprint 2021 begins today, 1 February. Find more information here.

Picture: The radical journey visualized using radish seeds

Between the presentations, the Radical Innovation Team had provided an entertainment package for each sprinter to engage in a physical innovation activity while still being virtually together. The package included a series of unusual items like pipe cleansers, paper clay, hemp mats, and radish seeds. With guidance from the Radical Innovation Team, the sprinters used the items to create the letters R I S as a nice symbol of the sprint.

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