What is a CrossLab?
Hidde: CrossLab is part of the Start-Up Factory. The Start-Up Factory is an offer to all students of the International Business School of Fontys. Within CrossLab, students from different disciplines, such as International Business, Marketing Management, International Finance & Control or Fresh Business Management, work together on a company issue. We are looking for crossovers between these subjects, because this is in line with the hybrid professional practice.
What do students learn by participating in a CrossLab?
Janet: With this offer, we want to achieve that students get to know entrepreneurship better, in all its facets. The students are given a great deal of freedom in the performance of their tasks and we at Fontys find it very important that students develop their creativity. HBO education is increasingly concerned with practice-oriented research. Students can gain experience in learning research, finding solutions and developing social skills. Nowadays, knowledge is outdated very quickly and it is increasingly less about know-how and more about understanding. It is therefore important for students to learn to investigate, to find solutions and to develop social skills.
Hidde: With CrossLab, students learn to recognise business models and to be entrepreneurs in learning by doing. Moreover, they work together with all kinds of students and staff with different backgrounds, expectations and expertise to find inventive solutions. Our students are very enthusiastic about the CrossLabs and enjoy working on a real assignment. The students have 10 months to solve the company’s question and spend an average of three hours a week working on it.
Why is it interesting for companies to participate in a CrossLab?
Hidde: For the professional field, being a partner in a CrossLab is attractive in several ways. We help companies to innovate with the help of our students and coaches. Students offer free consultancy solutions to Dutch and German companies. CrossLab is ideal for companies who want to improve processes within their company or who want to use innovation for new business models for the future. It can be interesting for companies to get answers from a different perspective.
Janet: Each CrossLab project has one teachers, each with a different background and their own expertise. Incidentally, clients are not obliged to actually do something with the ‘solutions’ offered. The companies that participate in CrossLab projects are very diverse. At the moment there are 26 companies participating from different industries from tourism to e-sports, from health to financial services.
What kind of questions does CrossLab deal with?
Janet: The questions are very diverse. For example, one question is how to get more tourists to Spain and vice versa; how do we get more Spanish tourists to North Limburg? Another CrossLab project revolves around the question of how to solve the truck problem around Venlo. Furthermore, we now have a CrossLab that deals with e-sports. We have 8 projects in this CrossLab round and another 10 will start in September.
Do German and Dutch companies deal with CrossLab differently?
Hidde: The companies participating in CrossLab are keen to get in touch with young people and are curious about their insights. This motivation is similar for German and Dutch companies. In the Dutch companies, we often see that they use CrossLabs to look for future employees. But directors also use it as a tool to teach their own managers how to manage an international group of people. It is a great added value for companies that they can gain intercultural experience with international teams within the project
CrossLab Fontys Venlo