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JOINT Fund series: Build a bike challenge

11 July 2019

4 mins

On 4 July 2019, 30 organisations at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (QEOP) district took part in Loughborough University London’s ‘Build a Bike’ charity challenge, in partnership with Bikeworks. This event was supported by the JOINT Fund scheme and organised by Dr Anna Grosman, Lecturer in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Fiona Meeks, Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship doctoral researcher.

Fiona Meeks has been studying the innovation and collaboration networks on the park since 2017. Fiona has found that there are key organisations on the park that seek out opportunities to network and as a result are performing better due to the large number of ties they have.

Aims of the event

  1. To facilitate the formation of new connections amongst organizations on the QEOP.
  2. To promote partnerships between LUL & the community & promote opportunities to collaborate, such as knowledge transfer partnerships and collaborative project/dissertation.
  3. To enable Doctoral Researchers to collect evidence for a field study, a policy paper and an impact report.
  4. To support the local community through donating children’s bikes to the Early Years Foundation and give organizations the opportunity to take part in CSR activities.

What they did

  1. Promotion and marketing of the event took place during Spring and Summer. There was an events page on the website and it was promote via social media. It was also promoted through word of mouth. 100 people signed up initially.
  2. Held at Loughborough University London’s Enterprise Zone and the Here East yard between 4.30pm and 6.30pm, 44 people attended the event. 30 mixed industry organisations based at the QEOP district were present. Industries ranged from education providers, charities, SME’s corporates & local community groups.
  3. Upon arrival, each person completed a survey to demonstrate which connections they already had at the QEOP & sign consent forms. They were then randomly assigned a team to take on a series of bike related activities. 8 mixed industry teams were formed.
  4. Each team took on a series of fun, bike related activities, including making a belt out of an inner tube, changing a tyre, a slow race on a BMX bike and an inclusion challenge to ride a three-wheel trike blind folded using instructions from team members to navigate a course of cones.
  5. Each challenge was designed to enable tenants based at the new QEOP district to get to know one another. By engaging in fun project-based activities, organizations are more likely to build relationships that could lead to new partnerships, the sharing of ideas and ultimately innovation ties.
  6. Each team ended the event by building a children’s bike and writing a letter to the children that would receive the bike. Disadvantaged children from the London Early Years Foundation receive bikes and are encouraged to have fun, be active and be healthy!

Following the event Fiona will measure the network again to understand if new ties have formed between tenants at the QEOP district who attended the build a bike challenge. In the autumn, Fiona aims to interview organisations that attended the build a bike challenge to find out ‘what happened next’  Fiona hopes to understand what the impact has been on organisational innovation through an increase in new ties. Ultimately, did any organisations form new partnerships and did this type of event work to bring together neighbours at the QEOP?

Feedback from the event has already been positive with organisations informing Fiona how many connections they had formed at the event, including; a proposal from Scope to Hobs 3D Printers to prototype hand grips for disabled phone users with dexterity issues, partnerships between IDE, Creative Wick and Ford Smart Mobility and London Stadium Learning offering Badu Sports young people from the local community a chance to work on their Olympic Heritage project.


For more information, please contact Fiona Meeks at f.meeks@lboro.ac.uk.

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