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Homepage / ‘Grill the Aspiring Geeks’ – Cranfield University stories from the Disruptive Innovation Festival

‘Grill the Aspiring Geeks’ – Cranfield University stories from the Disruptive Innovation Festival


Grill the Aspiring Geeks at Cranfield University - part of the Disruptive Innovation Festival

We recently took part in The Disruptive Innovation Festival (DIF), a three-week-long online festival of ‘disruptive’ ideas (from November 6th to 24th 2017), which is free and accessible to everyone.

The festival challenged us to think about “What if we could redesign everything?” in a world where repair, reuse, remanufacturing, refurbishing, and recycling are becoming increasingly important, disrupting our conventional way of doing things. Within the festival, our Cranfield session focused on the Circular Economy, and we were interviewed in a session called ‘Grill the Aspiring Geeks’.

‘Grill the Aspiring Geeks’ has the aim of bringing research to general audience, in a 50 minute back-to-back question and answer from the public where we approached the topic from different perspectives. In my session other two PhD researchers were involved, Tobias Widmer (part of the Circular European Economy Innovative Training Network, Circ€uit, under the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska Curie Action 2016), and Oke Okorie (PhD Researcher in the School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing, Cranfield University).

Previous to the DIF session, we had a brief preparatory chat with Dr. Mariale Moreno (Academic Fellow at Cranfield University, and also the organizer of the session), where we discussed the format of the interview and expressed our ideas regarding the potential question from the audience.

It has been a great experience but it was also very challenging; the questions were live, we had to formulate an answer in few seconds and we had to interact with ourselves as well! An interesting kind of multitasking which we hadn’t done before, but it was worth it. It was also a lot of fun, and the time passed a lot faster than what we were expecting.

We all had different and complimentary feedbacks about the DIF event. I thought that taking part in these activities could be a good preparation for my PhD viva and could serve as practice for potential job interviews, since questions which were asked were varied, and were not strictly related with what I does for my PhD a daily basis. Oke and Tobias enjoyed being pushed to think outside the box, enjoyed simplifying the detailed part of their research to easy-to-understand forms for a general audience. Generally, we all enjoyed contextualizing our work in a larger setting.

We enjoyed being part of DIF and we believe more researchers should challenge themselves and putting themselves out there to discuss their work with a wider, varied audience. Who knows what could come out of it? However, as a suggestion, we recommend to keep the ideas simple, and focused to the general background and research questions that characterize your research (Why? What? How?).

Certainly, we are looking forward to hearing about and possibly participating in next year’s DIF Aspiring Geeks session(s)! The videos are up on and can only be viewed till the 4th of January –a perfect Christmas treat, we would suggest!

Written By: Sabrina Cipullo

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