Reflection on Wetskills experiences in Copenhagen
Copenhagen, Denmark – 27 August 2021 – Wetskills Challenge Day 13
By Magnus Johansen (Danish Technical University)
Wetskills is over – now begins the digestion of all the impressions I have had during the past two weeks. I have learned about solutions within the water sector. This is what Wetskills is about, and it has been great, but honestly it is not the thing I will bring from here. What I will bring from the past two weeks are experiences from real cross-disciplined teamwork and memories from the meetings with all the new people. And this has been really great!
I am doing a master’s in environmental engineering and usually I work with the technical aspects of the solutions. How big should it be? What data are available to measure and evaluate it? Can you achieve the same result with a smaller, cheaper solution? I have been challenged in putting these things aside and focus on the innovation. Going to the extreme, unrealistic solutions and then adjusting them to fit the reality rather than starting with the reality and adjust from this. The time has been too short for us to actually calculate and investigate if the solutions are realistic which has been a challenge. I miss my calculations and models, but I am sure that it is very important to be aware of all the other steps that are required for the real-life challenges we are facing within the water sector. This is something I do not get from my normal education.
From trying these different approaches, I would say that my take home message is that I’m doing the right thing. I like to go into details and fiddle with the computations and optimize the solutions. This is of course individual and therefore something you must experience for yourself, but for me it is great to go into the final chapter of my education knowing that I’m on the right track.
And then to the social parts that are without a doubt at least as big a part of Wetskills as the actual program. It has been so fun to meet likeminded people from other countries and talking about language, culture, and habits in your own and other countries. Both the dinner together and the beer in the evening are as important as the scheduled activities. And something special happens in the group when you work together all day and come up with crazy ideas and even though there were both ups and downs during these two weeks, we had a lot of fun! Even though I am Danish and lives in Copenhagen normally I usually forget to be a tourist in my own city. You realize how much the city has to offer and how many questions there are that you never asked because that is just how it always was.
It is not possible to describe the Wetskills experience without mentioning the finale day. After the deadline day, Wednesday, I was tired. We had been working hard to deliver good a good and detailed paper, a visually attractive poster and a sharp pitch that covered the essence of our solution. Honestly, I did not really have the energy for a full program on the finale day with presentations, a workshop and off course our pitches followed by the celebration with a boat tour in the Danish canals and dinner at the residence of the Dutch ambassador. The formal conference-style setting made a certain atmosphere that I cannot really describe. But without a doubt it was in a good way! This day turned out to be full of inspiration and impressions and in the evening, I was lying awake in my bed trying to collect my thoughts about the day. That was not possible, there simply were too many impressions and thoughts going through my head.
So Wetskills is over, and I return to my normal studies with new people in my network, many memories and inspiration and most importantly for me a confirmation that I am doing the right thing for me and that we are many who are all working towards the same goal.