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As the global picture remains unclear, it’s safe to say most of us are adapting to our new ways of living and working, and most importantly learning to thrive once again. At STEAMhouse, not only have we overcome our own pandemic-related challenges, but we’ve helped a number of entrepreneurs and small businesses in the West Midlands flourish.
So, as 2021 draws to a close, let’s take a look at what we’ve been up to.
In Spring 2021, students from Birmingham City University’s Academic Award Scheme were invited to take part in a collection of online workshops in one of our ground-breaking STEAM Sprints. The aim was to help redesign the learning experience at the University in light of the events of the past 20 months. During the workshops, students not only gained an understanding of the concept of design thinking, but they also worked through the early stages of the design thinking process: discovery, definition, and idea generation. We received amazing feedback from participants, with 89% saying they’d recommend the workshops to a friend and 78% saying they’d use the design thinking techniques in future – we couldn’t have asked for a better outcome!
2021 also saw the continuation of our highly innovative STEAMlabs. This pioneering concept encourages collaboration and enables new ways of thinking to work through problems or to develop new ideas, products or services. Each STEAMlab offers a bespoke experience, but all are based on the five guiding principles of conversation, exploration, collaboration, openness and newness.
In Spring 2021, we invited London-based visual artist Daniel Eatock to help design and deliver two STEAMlabs. Daniel’s provocative, raw approach encouraged participants to embrace the unknown, and to leverage this uncertainty in their creative journey. Participants found the experience liberating, allowing them the creative freedom to explore ideas without the constraints of a goal or agenda.
New learning without frontiers
In July, we saw the arrival of the second-ever International STEAM conference 2021. This popular event brought together industry leaders, academics, scientists, and artists from across the world to discuss new ideas and innovations. Many pioneering concepts were explored including ‘Exploratory Education’, spearheaded by Mr Sunil Kant Manjal, who reminded us of Einstein’s belief that scientists are also great artists; and ‘Collaboration Through Community’, introduced by Nadav Hochman. Delegates learnt about the benefits of bringing technology and the arts together in an educational setting and how modern-day approaches often result in the arts being left behind. Hochman provided insight from his own experiences growing up in a socialist communist Israel and how groups can work together to share knowledge and ideas for the greater good of the community.
Feedback from the event was excellent and we look forward to its return in 2022.
We’re always excited to have our achievements recognised, so you can imagine how proud we were to be named as a finalist for the Pandemic Pivot of the Year in the KE Awards 2021 for our STEAM-based Remote Open Innovation. Nominees are recognised for their innovation and contribution within the Knowledge Exchange arena. This special category, new to 2021, recognises pioneering initiatives brought to life during the pandemic, which can be further applied to other disciplines or issues such as climate change.
Following a great deal of hard work behind the scenes, perhaps our most exciting news to date is the planned expansion of STEAMhouse! In Spring 2022 we’ll open the doors to our brand-new development, situated in the beautiful Belmont Works. This stunning five-story building will cater to entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes, providing state-of the-art facilities and flexible office space. The Belmont Works factory has stood since 1899 and was previously home to the Eccles Rubber and Cycle Company. We’re so pleased to be able to bring this derelict building back to life, and bring innovation and collaboration to the heart of Birmingham.
This truly unique space will connect established businesses and budding entrepreneurs in a wholly collaborative and innovative environment. As well as cutting-edge office facilities, visitors will find a dedicated learning, training and teaching space. This includes the STEAMhouse Incubator and Digital Innovation Hub, providing a catalyst for growth and collaboration for entrepreneurs and start-ups alike. The ground floor will be dedicated to prototyping, co-working, workshops and production, allowing members to freely explore their news ideas, products and services. The fourth floor is a true delight, with stunning views across the city making for a great leisure and entertainment space.
Looking to the future
If you’re excited by what we’re up to and want to be part of solving tomorrow’s challenges, please visit our get in touch page. Alternatively, download your free brochure or request a tour of our exciting new facilities here.
Here’s to an exciting 2022!
Feeling inspired? Get involved with STEAMhouse Create programme by applying for your fully funded membership here.