Unleasher Meetup: Collaborating

Unleasher Meetups are a fortnightly casual networking opportunity to find your innovation project soulmates! A new addition to the Unleash Space artillery, these Meetups serve to connect like-minded individuals and facilitate finding necessary talent for your projects. Each event proposes an in-depth look into a key theme of entrepreneurship. In the first Unleasher Meet-up of Semester 2, our theme was Collaborating. Jessica Chiang, a master’s student with plentiful experience working in teams, shared her insights into what makes a successful team that practices good communication techniques.

Collaborating’ was a great theme to kick off semester 2, as teamwork and active communication are very important in the journey of unleashing your full potential. Unleashers gathered to network around the snacks and beverages tables before Frederick Ma, our event coordinator, welcomed everyone and introduced the icebreaker activity to start the event. Attendees formed two lines facing each other and were given a minute to ask each other a question displayed on the screen. As soon as minute was up, the first line would shuffle along to face the next person. Through the activity, Unleashers were able to discuss their hobbies, passions, studies and teamwork experiences.

Frederick then introduced guest speaker Jessica Chiang. Jessica shared what it was like being an undergraduate student looking for experiences to help her professional growth and development. She did not let her lack of knowledge at the time hold her back. Instead, she found the help she needed; putting together and managing New Zealand’s first genetic engineering team to compete internationally, attending the finalist conference in Boston. At another conference Jessica worked in an international team of four, with teammates from
Ecuador, Italy and Sweden. Through this experience, she learnt the importance of understanding each other and making compromises. Time-zones proved to be very challenging, with Jessica having to wake up at 3 AM to get her mind prepared for 4 AM meetings. Jessica also talked about how her “big personality” clashed with that of one of her team members. Clashing personalities, can cause conflict, precluding a team from achieving success.

However, Jessica’s team was able to overcome this through effective communication, and the realisation that they each had their own qualities and attributes to use to their advantage. In the end, their idea won first place and, now a master’s student, Jessica continues to work on this idea in the form of a start-up.

The key lessons learnt through her experiences that Jessica shared are:
● Make friends – find like-minded people with initiative and strong passion
● Show your best self
● When recruiting for your own project, find people whose eyes light up when they hear about your project
● Go to networking events, such as an Unleasher Meet-Up! These are great casual events for students and university staff alike
● Even if you are not particularly interested in a company, use their events to practice putting yourself out there – this will help you build confidence and develop networking skills
● Ask people for coffee, or for a drink at networking events, to pick their brain and learn more from them. The talk does not have to be strictly about business. Instead, it is a good idea to find things in common as a way to bond and form a stronger relationship. This can be a catalyst and potentially lead to future collaborations.
● Lastly, you must allow yourself to make mistakes – do not lose what makes you who you are. Simply be yourself in a professional manner. This may mean you don’t always say the right thing, but you will learn from these experiences and (hopefully) not make the same mistake again!

Unleash Space is an amazing place which you can utilise your own innovative ideas. To join the Unleasher community, click here. Like our Facebook and Instagram to keep updated with events occurring at Unleash Space. Alternatively, you can sign up to our newsletter here.