I thought the Ideathon was a formative experience in my understanding about interdisciplinary collaboration. Needing to work on this project with people that seemed to be from every different type of discipline obviously had a lot of different barriers. We all had different approaches to how to solve the problem from the outset, as we all had our own perspectives about what problems were the most pertinent to solve. However, after coming together and deciding to base our proposal around the idea of accessibility for remote learning, our own perspectives seemed to merge into a theme that each discipline had its own way of interpreting. My previous idea of interdisciplinary work was that because everyone has different perspectives, each perspective would “keep the others in line” so to speak. Because the proposal shouldn’t go too far into one discipline, the interdisciplinary whole has a sort of average of all of the disciplines and it makes for a very solid project. However, our project taught me that each of these disciplines can be solving offshoots of the same problem, so there is no need to “reign in” any of the other disciplines.
The way that communication really flourished in our group was to continue tying whatever we were saying back to the main theme of the proposal, and to use a lot less jargon. We had that common denominator (the theme) and were good about discussing what we were thinking for our portion without using too much jargon. Needing to communicate in this way actually helped us in our actual pitch because we were already used to talking in a way that people outside our disciplines would be able to understand.
This didn’t really alter my conception of my own project, but that’s just because my project exists in a niche where communication and interdisciplinarity, specifically with the more scientific community, isn’t really much of a factor. As my project is mainly independent historical research and musical composition, the only real cross-synthesis is the historical and musical, which are already so intertwined already.
It did, however, alter my conception about the more scientific communities’ projects. Many people have told me that they have labs and are discussing actively with other people their project, and this experience made me better understand what that whole process is. Even though these people are mainly working within groups of a specific discipline, that general ethos of collaboration and different ideas applies, and has changed my idea of how they conduct their research.