Active plasmonics

Supplementary content information

researchers in a hedge maze

Objectives

The shared programme grant entitled ‘Active Plasmonics: Electronic and All-optical Control of Photonic Signals on Sub-wavelength Scales’ at King’s College University, Imperial College London and Queens University of Belfast was one of the research groups that accepted Creativity@home funding. They aimed to use the funding to "train researchers in creative problem solving techniques and idea generation in order to efficiently progress with the project work" – Professor Anatoly Zayats (principal investigator). A secondary aim was to improve the efficiency of project work via the use of virtual world collaboration approaches.

Activities

The research groups working on the grant arranged a facilitated sandpit-type event 18 months into the grant where activities on team building and new idea generation took place. This event also allowed for the trial of the web-based collaboration portal to assess its effectiveness.

Outcomes

The feedback from the group was extremely positive. “I was quite sceptical at the beginning and planned to use the event to achieve well defined objectives in the team building. At the end the impact was much more significant, the facilitators persuaded us to try something that has led to generation of new ideas and new ways of interactions between the team members.” – Professor Anatoly Zayats. The event also had a large impact on team building by bringing together geographically split research groups to strengthen personal links which consequentially led to a team forming method which was "proven to be much more efficient than via pure administrative process" - Zayats.

The assessment of the virtual world collaboration portal concluded that the software was "too slow to be effective and would require a lot of development beforehand" – Zayats – this assessment would not have been carried out if it wasn’t for Creativity@home funding and may have proven costly if run without trials.