Tuesday, March 08, 2016

The Rise of the Innovation Commons

On my research study, I took the opportunity to visit the City University of Hong Kong, which is globally recognized as a top institution of higher learning and research, currently ranked #57 in the world in the QS World University Rankings and ranked #2 in Asia by the U.S. News & World Report.  It's not a large space whatsoever, but how it creatively re-purposed existing library space into a collaborative learning environment is worth a closer examination.

As my research is now focusing on innovative academic library spaces across the world, I was really interested in learning more about the history of this rapidly growing institution during my stay in Hong Kong.  Founded in 1984 as the City Polytechnic of Hong Kong, it became a fully accredited university in 1994 and renamed the City University of Hong Kong and became public research university located in Kowloon, Hong Kong.  It's also uniquely situated in the vicinity of the beautiful Festival Walk Mall.

Established collaboratively between the university library, the School of Law, the Knowledge Transfer Office, and the Education Development and Gateway Education, the Innovation Commons serves as a one-stop resource center physically located inside the Run Run Shaw Library.  It is a draw for students and the campus community for quick and easy access to information about entrepreneurship and innovation. 

What I really wanted to learn more about was how the Innovation Commons situates community engagement in its academic mission.  One of the initiatives is holding competitions for business plans and government-funded venture programmes for students.  Its staff participates as jurors in these competitions. In addition, it organizes activities, inviting industry experts and speakers to hold talks and workshops related to innovation, intellectual property, and the entrepreneurial projects. The Commons also provides professional advice through its peer tutors from the School of Law to consult on patents and related legal issues.

As I'm conducting research on curriculum mapping, I was curious to see how the Innovation Commons has aligned its space and services to the City University of Hong Kong's curriculum called the Discovery-enriched Curriculum since 2012.  Under DEC,  students create new knowledge, communicate it, curate it and cultivate it to benefit society as a final project prior to graduation with the goal of giving students the opportunity to make an original discovery while at CityU.    The results of this research trip will be published in the upcoming issue of the Journal of East Asian Libraries.  Stay tuned.