Demola is an innovation platform that connects businesses and students. The concept was created in Finland, but the platform and the Demola Community has developed into an international network involving more than 60 universities from 16 countries around the world. University of Pécs joined this platform in 2019.
In the online period of last spring, Demola PTE, in cooperation with Green University Programme of UP launched a challenge aiming to support the strategic work of the GU Program. The project team including five students from University of Pécs, successfully worked together and created several innovative ideas for GU Program. Due to the Covid-19 situation, the entire challenge had to be put in the online space.
The project team of GreenIdea challenge was very diverse regarding the cultural and scientific background. Mokhinur Tolibova is Russian, she studied Earth Sciences and has recently graduated with a BSc degree from the Faculty of Sciences.
What motivated you to apply for the GreenIdea challenge, did you have any prior expectations?
As it was my final year here before going back to my home country, I wanted to make some contribution towards making my Alma Mater more sustainable. Participation in the GreenIdea challenge provided me with this fantastic opportunity.
How did you feel, could you become a cooperative team soon? Did you feel difficulty working in an online team? How could you cowork, what was your strategy?
This was my first experience with Demola and what I appreciated most was the diversity in both cultural and scientific background. All these differences allowed us to compare the situation in the world and to come up with the best ideas for our university. In my opinion, utilising the opportunities of digitalisation has been accelerated these years, especially because of the global pandemic. One of the peculiarities of working online was that we sometimes “met” each other while editing our project files at all times of day and night, without prior agreements.
What is your most defining experience with the project, be it professional, collaborative, technical or even personal? Do you think you have learned some practical, professional skills that you can use later in your work?
Working in an online team requires persistence, discipline and ability to recharge before every meeting. I enjoyed that every time our meetings were different in the sense that we had various creative tasks: online interviews, creating mind maps, tables and graphs.
What advice would you give to UP students who are thinking about joining an international innovation project?
I would definitely advise anyone from the University of Pécs to join these kinds of innovation projects, as being active gives the key to developing hard and soft skills as well as creating valuable connections. And once you have started something, please do not give up, no matter how busy or perplexed you are. Ask questions whenever you need it, be brave enough to express your ideas. Someone will always be there to appreciate your efforts and one day you will say “thank you” to your previous self for just keeping going.
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