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Student blog: Working in an interdisciplinary team

22 Jul, 2021

We've now completed four weeks of the summer project and are halfway there. With a team made up of diverse personalities with different attributes, not to mention different working styles, it'll be natural to look back on how the collaboration has progressed over the past four weeks.

A higher level of integration of the circular economy necessitates cross-industry collaboration. The same is true for our project, in which we are attempting to incorporate circular economy into Statkraft's strategy. In order to solve the problem, cross-disciplinary collaboration is required. During our summer project, we've encountered few roadblocks in the form of poor collaboration or communication skills. How have we been able to work and function so effectively together? I'd like to share four observations I've made about why our group works so well.

1.How we interact with each other

The ability to communicate well with others and share your knowledge in a simple and understandable manner for someone who may not be as knowledgeable in your field are unquestionably important factors. If you are able to communicate your knowledge to others on the team, you have removed a major impediment to the project's progress. To illustrate this, our project focuses on wind and solar power plants, which raises a number of technical issues that we must address. Then it's fantastic that we have someone on the team who can translate the somewhat complicated language into something the rest of us can understand.

Working on our communication skills.


2.Trust that your co-workers get the job done

Most of us have felt the need to stay on top of and in control of everything that happens in a project at some point. The fact that we trust each other is perhaps the most important factor in explaining why we work so well together. We have faith that the job we have been assigned or the job we have taken on will be completed satisfactorily. We strive to maintain an open line of communication in which everyone can be honest about their current mental state so that the rest of us can adjust. So, what is the message here? Create a work environment that is transparent and open.


Even though we sometimes work from the office couch, the rest of the team trust that Kenisha and I are working.


3.Get to know each other and take breaks!

Now that we've been working together for four weeks, we're getting used to each other's working styles, what expertise each of us possesses, and getting to know each other outside of work. When working as closely as we do, it is critical to be able to do things other than work in order to maintain motivation and efficiency. At the very least, I believe that a large part of our success stems from our ability to balance how much we work with fun lunch breaks and trips out of the office to get ice cream.

Sometimes we listen to music during our breaks!


4. Take advantage of the differences

We have throughout this project seen the advantages of interdisciplinary collaboration. We learned how different educational backgrounds can complement each other while working on the project. Because of our diverse professional and cultural backgrounds, we have taken a variety of approaches when addressing discussion topics that have arisen during the project process. The insights we have gained were almost certainly not gained solely as individuals or in a group of students with the same academic background. This is a direct result of interdisciplinarity, and we would like to thank Statkraft for this opportunity!

Now we are looking forward to a week of vacation!

Kaja and the rest of the project team.