The GRADnet Winter School took place on the 8-10 February 2016 at the Discovery Park in Sandwich, Kent for 24 SEPnet postgraduate researchers to build their leadership potential
Alan Beesley, Director of Sensors Engineering, Selex Electronic Systems opened the first day with a talk on leadership and management from a personal perspective. In the afternoon Dr Julie Reeves, University of Southampton, presented the Belbin Inventory where delegates looked into their preferred team roles and how they were perceived by others.
Laura Herbert and Ben Norton, HR, Thales Group, began the second day with an insight into leadership and team working in industry followed by an assessment centre style challenge which delegates found very useful. One delegate described this task as “awesome”!
Trevor Long, University of Reading gave a presentation on the nature of leadership and looked at the key attributes of effective leaders. This was followed by an activity looking at the real life multi-media case simulation, exploring a wide range of leadership and team issues during the Columbia Space Shuttle mission. Delegates were immersed in the actual events that unfolded in NASA during the ill-fated mission and experienced the complex interplay of individual, team and cultural dynamics.
There was time to relax at the Penny Theatre in Canterbury with supper and a physics quiz on Monday evening!
The Marshmallow Challenge proved to be entertaining. This was a simple team-building exercise where delegates had to build the tallest free-standing structure with 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow in 18 minutes. The Marshmallow Challenge is a fun and instructive design exercise that encourages teams to experience simple but profound lessons in collaboration, innovation and creativity.