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Solve4Work Club (final update) 27.02

Diverse student teams collaborate with communities and businesses to solve local challenges as a way of making learners “future ready”

Photo of Isaac Jumba

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The Context

In Kenya, about 300,000 graduates enter the job market each year with less than 10% guaranteed of jobs. Over 50% of the graduates feel they are not prepared for the next phase of life. A prior project/work experience is often required, even for entry-level jobs from employers. Companies are increasingly looking for ways of cutting costs associated with recruitment and talent development. A disconnect between the learners and the local community is limiting innovation, collaboration and development. Learners are increasingly looking for opportunities to create impact, engage with each other and gain practical and life skills. Achievements and graded in school still matter to learners and to the society.

The Problem

  1. Students in higher learning institutions find it difficult accessing opportunities that will better prepare them for the job market while still in school.
  2. Local organizations and businesses lack adequate and trusted channels to engage with learners early enough.


Our solution is starting the Solve4Work Club for learners in Kenya.

The Solve4Work club seek to prepare learners to be “future-ready” both for the labor market and entrepreneurship. We are a trusted platform where students from diverse fields work together to solve real local challenges, with guidance and partnership of the local communities, local organizations/businesses and mentorship from industry experts.

Our goals are to:

  1. Enable students gain real-world experience by collaboratively tackling real local challenges and designing solutions that have social impact.
  2. Be a link between the learners, the industry and the local communities
  3. Spark collaboration among students from different fields and schools, something which is not being done at the moment.
  4. Equip learners with 21st century skills and have them experience a glimpse inside a company’s culture and innovation process.


For companies, we are connecting you with motivated, smart, innovative, talented and well-trained students who are your future talent.

For local communities, we are sparking innovation, development and impact, by connecting you with learners and businesses.

How it works:

Solve4Work- How it Works

People & Connections map

Parties in the Solve4Work club

Note

This is an updated and revised version of our Solve4work submission. You can find the original submission of our idea here

Insights from our problem space validation

During the first and second week of February, we set out to talk to current college and university students (both junior and senior), recent graduates, startup founders, business owners, recruiters, ready for work organizations, lecturers and the community. The main goals for the field research was to:

  • Validate exactly what gap exists between higher learning and the industry
  • What current solutions are addressing the gaps
  • What the future ideal solutions could be

We also roughly validated our idea from our submission phase.

Here is the summary of the insights that came out of our field interviews.

We also took detailed notes (including audio in some cases) and insights during our interviews with the different targeted individuals. You can have a look at it here.

With the iterated solution, we see:

An all inclusive system that will enable learners be better prepared for the needs of the workforce and entrepreneurship where:

  • The industry and the local community are collaborators
  • The educators and experts are facilitators
  • Learners from diverse fields work together on real-world challenges
  • The system integrates with the existing higher learning approach, where grades, titles and degrees still matter; rather than replacing the whole education system.
  • There is flexibility for the parties involved (students, businesses and communities)
  • There is room for failure for the learners
  • Learners are excited about the challenges they want to solve


Inspiration

The Solve4Work idea has evolved mostly because of feedback from learners, the faculty, the local businesses. A big part of the concept is also credited to Anne-Laure, our team member, who is part of Design For America - New York University, an almost similar model with lots of successes.


What solutions currently exist?

Lots of programs, startups and initiatives have been set up to address the skill gap in Kenya.

  • The 2Jiajiri program by KCB which has picked 10,000 youths for its first cohort and aims at enabling youths to become self-employed.
  • The Presidential Digital Talent Program DigiTalent focusses on giving ICT graduates practical skills through placement in both public and private organizations
  • The Junior Achievement program, mainly focuses on high schools and enables students make the right career choices by giving them early industry exposure
  • Barclays Ready to Work program which is also being carried out offline at Strathmore University gives students life and work skills.
  • The TVET program by Kenyan Government and the DOT Kenya program
  • Yusudi - a startup providing skill development for those above 18 years old
  • Skilled-based institutions like Andela, Moringa School producing top class world talent
  • Hubs such as iLabAfrica, C4DLab are school hubs to incubate student ideas while in school.


Our uniqueness

While most current solutions mostly focus on graduates, we focus on learners. Also, for the real-world projects, we have a bias towards solving local challenges with the goal of connecting learners to the local communities. Lastly, interdisciplinary collaboration is aspect that makes Solve4Work stand out. Whether its undergraduate or graduate students or whether it's between junior and senior students, we provided the much needed environment for teamwork, failure and learnings.

More:

Our ideal user

The user experience map


Insights from our light prototype experiment

On Saturday 25th Feb, we brought together 9 students to help co-create the Future of Giving Back, a design challenge by Chagua Charity. It was an amazing 3 hours for the students who did not realize they were using a HCD approach to problem solving.

Here were the key highlights:

  • Students found the approach really interesting and helpful, and different from their traditional approach to problem solving
  • They highlighted the aspect of collaboration as also being key to their final ideas
  • As some noted, they felt the 3 hours were not enough, but they liked the constraint on time
  • Since they came up with the final ideas, they were interesting in actually prototyping and testing out the ideas. “What Next?” is what most of them asked.

Some of the key questions we asked were:

  • Why they had signed up for the event
  • What stood out for them during the workshop
  • What would be their next steps after the workshop
  • What was difficult during the workshop
  • What other sort of challenges they would like to solve
  • Whether they are interested in future meetups
  •     What would motivate them to be part of the Solve4Work club

A key learning was that motivation and commitment for the students to stay engaged in the club is something we really have to think about. 

Here is a summary post about Saturday's design event.

Also here is a short video on part of the feedback we received.

Potential Revenue Streams

  1. Consultancy fee/commission on sponsored challenges
  2. Company membership/subscription fees
  3. Student registration fees
  4. Revenue from research reports and publications
  5. Shared revenue from learners on maybe securing a paid internship/job through the club


The next big steps

The bigger steps

Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine higher education to support the needs of tomorrow?

The idea is designed for university and college students (mostly), local organizations and the local communities.

We are providing opportunities for students to go outside the classroom and put their learning to action through innovation that creates impact while fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and connecting learners to the local community and the industry.

This idea emerged from:

  • A group brainstorm
  • An individual
  • A Design Jam or Workshop event

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

For now, help in understanding the value the club will have for the local businesses and how best to approach them. I'm working with the local OpenIDEO chapter here in Nairobi in helping prototype and test the idea.
Another help would be questions/comments on why the idea will/will not work.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

We have facilitated a design challenge in partnership with Chagua Charity - a community platform whose goal is to make it easier and fun for individuals and organizations to give back to the community. The challenge sought ideas on how to better engage Nairobians in giving back, and with the goal of getting members to fully implement the ideas generated from the workshop.

Tell us about your work experience:

I love using technology and design to solve local challenges. I'm currently a co-creator at Mideva Labs (http://www.mideva.co) working on introducing and incorporating design thinking in schoools in Kenya. I have previously co-founded two for-impact startups.

How would you describe this idea while in an elevator with someone? 2-3 sentences.

We create viable transition from school to the job market for learners by providing a platform where learners can gain real world experiences, collaborate with each other, get connected to the industry and create social impact in their communities.

What is the specific problem your idea is trying to solve? 1 sentence.

Students in higher learning institutions find it difficult accessing opportunities that will better prepare them for the job market while still in school.

How is your idea different or unique from what is currently on the market?

Our uniqueness:
While most current solutions mostly focus on graduates, we focus on learners. Also, for the real-world projects, we have a bias towards solving local challenges with the goal of connecting learners to the local communities. Lastly, interdisciplinary collaboration is aspect that makes Solve4work stand out. Whether its undergraduate or graduate students or whether it's between junior and senior students, we provided the much needed environment for teamwork, failure and learnings.

How do you plan to measure the impact of your idea?

Number of students who get jobs/internships or go ahead to start their own businesses.
Measuring the number of participating organizations for the challenges
The level of investment by the school
Successful prototypes from the challenges

How might your idea be transferable to a large number of people?

The Solve4Work club can be replicated across the campuses and schools in Kenya and Afrca.
Also an online platform will have the power to reach a bigger population

What are your immediate next steps after the challenge?

Basically set up the Solve4Work club. Get a local university, work with 2 faculty members, approach 2 local organizations and have about 12 students to begin with. Also collaborate with the local OpenIDEO chapter when starting. Try it for a few months.
View more

Attachments (8)

idea.png

Next steps over the next 2 years

CC-meetup.jpg

Eventbrite Photo

Co-create Chagua Charity DesignBrief.pdf

Light Experiement - Co-create the Future of Giving Back by Chagua Charity

user experience map.pdf

User journey for Solve4work - 1st draft

Summary Persona.pdf

Our targeted users for the Solve4work club

ProblemValidationSpace-SummaryandInsights.docx

Insights on problem and solution validation

Solve4WorkChallenge-OriginalSubmission.docx

Original idea for the challenge submitted for the first time

Interviewsanddatacollection.docx

Information gathered from interviews and research

109 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Isaac Jumba sorry to see that the idea was not selected as a top idea but this should not prevent you from keep iterating and refining. I'm always happy to give feedback if needed. Please keep us posted on your progress. Solve4Work really has a potential to make an impact. Team it was nice working with you!

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Hi Anne-Laure Fayard thanks. I will keep refining it and testing it out to get it running. Thank you for your great contribution and help, and it will be great to continue having your input.

The Team did an amazing job and I'm really grateful I got to work with each one of you.

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

I would like to thank each one of you for your amazing thoughts, insights, questions and contributions to the idea. In this next stage, I do really need lots of help in further refining the idea. I have created a Google folder where we could all collaborate from :) My email address is isaacjumba@gmail.com . Best, Isaac

Photo of Rana Chakrabarti
Team

Congratulations Issac! happy to help. Warmly, Rana

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Congrats! I will write an email. My semester is crazy but I will do my best to make suggestions and answer questions especially as I've been doing a lot of similar things with DFA NYU and other programs at NYU.

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Team Hey team,

Here is the shared folder for the Solve4Work idea: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B3EwhS1pOvbjbXBJc3JFV2RVcXc?usp=sharing
Feel free to add questions, comments and insights.

Best, Isaac

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Isaac.
I just read the updates and Google documents - Interview Notes, and Summary of Insights. Great work!!! You gathered lots of information from different users. I saw notes from interviews with university students, business owners and recruiters. Were you able to speak to any university professors or administrators?
The graphic is also great!

Team Great comments on the Google Docs! I just added to the conversation on the Insights Document and put a few comments on the Interview Notes doc as well.

A few things stood out for me from the insights and comments. (Re-sharing thoughts here.)

1) Most students feel that who you know, your network, is an asset for getting a job.

Both Isaac and Anne-Laure pointed out that in their experience it is not easy to get students to work together in multidisciplinary teams on projects. Might pointing out to students that working with others across disciplines broadens their network be a way to nudge them to connect on projects? (It will broaden their network as well.)

How about creating a series of lectures early in the Solve4Work year, during "Immersion", where university lectures working collaboratively across disciplines are invited to lecture on whatever topic they want as a way to "set the stage"? a) to model professional collaboration b) bring diverse students together. (Isaac mentioned that most projects now are club based and clubs are subject specific.)
Perhaps alumni in the workforce can participate as speakers as well?
Maybe this series could be open to "community members" who will participate in Solve4Work during the coming year and as a way to connect students students and community, and also as a way to be hospitable to community members? Could there be a social aspect to these lectures?

2) "There is room for failure." - as part of the Solution Space.
I imagine that students who are working diligently on their coursework will have a hard time embracing the idea of failure. How might Solve4Work create an atmosphere where failure is expected and celebrated as part of the process?

3) Can reflective exercises enrich this experience and also become something tangible that might help students with job interviews and job acquisition?
Might reflecting on what they have experienced during the process of Solve4Work help learners prepare themselves for the transition to work? Might journaling during the year give them insights that they can then share via storytelling?
Maybe learners are required to write a final group of stories highlighting aspects of their experience that were meaningful to them? Might this prepare them for job interviews and create opportunities for learners to share aspects of themselves that they might not otherwise recognize?

Have you seen this Idea in Refinement? https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/future-of-highered/refinement/what-have-you-learned

Thoughts?

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Hi Bettina adnd team, thanks for the summary and insights that you have captured so far. I'm meeting up with the educators end of this week and the faculty to share the idea. Will report back on the findings.

I like your idea of "setting the stage" and creating a series of lectures that will well introduce the concepts to the students and also start creating a room for interaction. Looking on ways this can work without the lecturers feeling they are committing alot of time for this. The aspect of storytelling is a brilliant one. I read the idea https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/future-of-highered/refinement/what-have-you-learned
on refined and I see it as an addition to the model. During the demo day, students could integrate this as part of their presentaion.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Bettina Fliegel all great ideas (as always!). On the setting the stage lecture series, it's a great idea but based on my experience (I spent a year at Imperial college in London. While there, I worked on a project where tried to create connections between faculty in the engineering and business school and with faculty at the Royal College of Art. This is not an easy task - mainly for institutional and personal reasons). However, if there was the possibility to do even some of it that would be great. I think it makes sense if it was for a course with the university support. Maybe another way would have to have small lightning talks by faculty or simply invite to the club project critiques... I love the story element (we've been discussing a similar model with DFA NYU). I personally asked students in my design thinking class to write reflections during the class and particularly at the end on what they learnt, what was surprising, what they will keep using or not using from the methods we learnt, etc. I found this last reflection to be really powerful.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Isaac,

It is great to see how Solve4Work Challenge is developing and all the collaboration that is taking place.

I wonder if John NDUKO might have some thoughts on Solve4Work.

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Thanks Kate for looping John in. Next week I'm meeting up with faculty to take them through the idea. Thanks. And please keep asking the hard questions :)

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Isaac Jumba  I was thinking about the light prototype and I was wondering if you could organize an ideation jam with a local organization and students. You could set up something for 2 hours. See what we did last Spring with OpenIDEO NYC, DFA NYU and some students from Parson New School: http://www.nycopenideochapter.com/news/2016/5/11/redesigning-community-member-culture-ideation-jam-for-the-center-for-social-innovation

And at the end of the event you could have a flyer describing what Solve4Work is and proposes and a sign in sheet for interested students (and possibly companies or organizations who might be interested in providing challenges).

You could plan this in a short time and test quite a few of your assumptions.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

AL,
Did the students in the design jam already know the design thinking approach, or did you introduce it to them within the 2 hour design jam?

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Bettina Fliegel good question! In that specific case, some students knew the process (those who helped organize and facilitate) but other participants (students and professionals) did not all have any experience with design thinking / human-centered design and they participated to learn. The way we designed it was very much learning by doing with some guidelines to take them through the process. In fact, that's often what I do in my workshops and I found it's the best way to teach the process. I have done something similar with an NGO in Prague and NYU students last spring. We had 3 hours in that case. I hope that answers your question.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Bettina Fliegel good question! In that specific case, some students knew the process (those who helped organize and facilitate) but other participants (students and professionals) did not all have any experience with design thinking / human-centered design and they participated to learn. The way we designed it was very much learning by doing with some guidelines to take them through the process. In fact, that's often what I do in my workshops and I found it's the best way to teach the process. I have done something similar with an NGO in Prague and NYU students last spring. We had 3 hours in that case. I hope that answers your question.

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Thanks again AL. I was actually talking to one of the organizations I used to work with whether we could work with some students to design new ideas for their program. My biggest worry was that the students will be new to HCD and that the workshop could take a day or two. Your article on what you did with the CSI shows this is possible. I would be interested in knowing how you broke it down to 2 hours (basically a guide)

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Isaac Jumba Ideally you would want the project to be at least a semester long. I've learnt over time that 2 semesters (sometime more) is more realistic to get something that can be really implemented. And of course, even one day or 2 days allow for more richness and depth than 2 hours. However, you can still generate some interesting ideas in 2 hours and this can be a great way for you to test the interest of the students as well as of organizations. On the how, I can send you what I developed for some of these workshops.But here is the general idea. You need to spend time with the organization to define the brief and challenge question. Depending on the kind of organizations, either you get some users to come for interviews (that's what we did with CSI as some of their members participated) or you do research and create personas to help students generate ideas. The workshop is structured around the design thinking process and you basically get them through the process and then tell them, what they did. At the end, you can debrief and wrap up with students. Each time I've done that with an organization, I've changed it a bit but I'm happy to share examples with you.

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Hey Anne-Laure Fayard would love the guides :)

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Isaac,
The update with the description of the Light Experiment is great! I also looked at the Experience Map and Ideal User. One of the 3 users mentioned wanting to learn how to better present his work. Have you seen Sylvia's Idea post on - Pitching - Bridging an Idea to Reality? She is an educator at a university in Rome. Maybe that idea can be incorporated in some way to the Solve4Work Club?

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Isaac Jumba I just sent you an email with the outline / agenda for 2 different workshops. You can let me know if you have more specific questions.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Isaac Jumba great to see the design brief and see that you have found an organization to partner with. The eventbrite did not work for me. When is the event?

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

25th. - It is on the Design Brief.

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Just seen it and going through it. It will be a great guide for our Saturday's session. Thank you!
One of the things we also noticed from a past design challenge event we held in January was that only a few attendees actually took time to familiarize with the challenge before the event.

I will reach out just in case I need more clarifications.

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Thanks for pointing it out. I have made edits. The link should be working now.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Thanks!

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Great! It is indeed better to not assume that people have looked at the brief too much and to spend some time upfront either providing personas (that you create with the sponsor) or creating an opportunity for participants to do interviews.

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Hi Bettina Fliegel I have just checked out the idea. Sure, pitching is something that could be incorporated in the club - especially during the project presentations. Also it will be great for students to have elevator pitches as they continue to work on their projects.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Anne-Laure. Thanks for the real world feedback on the "Setting the Stage Lecture Series" idea. It really helps to get input about what might actually be possible. I wonder if there is an opportunity for alumni, or even industry partners/sponsors, to participate in this idea as well, thinking about bringing in professionals/working people who can share stories of collaboration in the "real world."

Isaac Jumba did you have an opportunity to meet with any university professors or administrators to share the idea with them?

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Yes I did meet a professor, last week during an entrepreneurship forum. He requested we arrange for a meeting later this week. His immediate feedback was aligning the challenges with a bit of class projects as well.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

In that case students might link what they are learning in class to ways they might impact the community, if presented with opportunities/challenges. I guess the challenge for the Club, or students in the club, would be to find these local opportunities that overlap class learnings? (This seems to align with Terry's idea?)
If you have a chance to meet the professor again please share his feedback.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Finding challenges that really overlaps with class topics is complicated but not impossible. Because the process, design thinking, is a core component of solve4work, it might be easier to find faculty members who are more interested in using the process than by a specific topic. Just a thought.

Photo of Terry Hosler
Team

Isaac,
I really like the new formatting and discussion of your prototypes and feedback.  Are you interested in teaming up with insights with Pick a Problem?

I am interested in seeing how you work with transferable skill sets to adapt student readiness for changes in the job market and their adaption to needs within their community.



Terry Hosler

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Hi Terry Hosler , thanks for checking in again. Yes, I'm definitely interested in teaming up. And you have raised an important point on the comment. Willing to learn as much as possible

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

One thing we are looking at is for the student teams to be introduced to HCD and Design Thinking where they can build the 21st Century skills. This could be through club sponsored challenges. A difficult part for this is how to maybe communicate such student capabilties to the companies.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Isaac,
I think it would be important to be clear in the description to all participants of Solve4Work - students, educators and community members/organizations/industry that design thinking will be a method that students will learn and engage with during the process of approaching projects/problems/challenges as part of the Club. In the User Experience you mention it clearly during the Immersion Phase. (It is less clear on the "How it Works" graphic.)
If it is known to be a method employed during Solve4Work Challenges perhaps when students transition to employment they can reference it on their CV, and mentors or sponsors might mention it in Letters of Reference for students?

Have you considered including professors and university instructors in a design thinking workshop as part of the Club, alongside students, as a way for them to learn about the process as well? Maybe the OpenIDEO Chapter might help/participate in some way?

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Hi Bettina,

Thanks for outlining the importance of design thinking. It is actually an approach we used during Saturday's session. I have included "People & Connections map" to show the kind of partners we need for the platform to work. Does it make it easier? I can redo the "How it works graphic" too

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Isaac. Yes I saw your design brief, and the follow up/feedback from Saturday's session. Really great updates! One bit of feedback you noted was that the students felt that collaboration was key to their accomplishments. Were students from a variety of academic backgrounds?

I was thinking that what makes the Club unique, plus the tools that will be taught and practiced, that can bring value to the students going forward in the job market - such as design thinking, storytelling? might be highlighted as a way to create interest among possible participants - students, educators and community/industry partners. That is why I posted the comment above.
Did you get any feedback from the Chagua Charity that hosted the Design Jam, about the process and/or the ideas that the students came up with? What was their impression about Solve4Work? Would they be interested in hosting a challenge with the Club?

Also, I just wanted to say that your progress and the amount of work that you have done is amazing! I really like the user experience journey!

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Hi Bettina Fliegel Thanks for always asking the tough questions and for digging deeper into the model. Yes, the participants were from two different universities, all of them studying different majors. And Chagua Charity is happy to work with the club in prototyping some of the top ideas from the event in their future meetups.

Moving forth, I do agree the need to clearly make the club unique, especially in the way we approach the challenges. I hope I can get more insights from you and the team on how best to communicate this value.

Thank you so much for investing your time and skills on this. You have really helped the idea evolve

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Great updates indeed. I agree with Bettina Fliegel that highlighting the approach is crucial for both students and companies. If design thinking or human-centered design is at the core, it is key to let students know that this will be a skill they will learn and hone (and provide them with information about how companies are increasingly interested in these skills. Add to this collaborative skills and communication skills that are best learnt in practice and that companies are looking for). You can definitely also highlight to the companies the value of an HCD approach but you also need them to understand as it includes some ambiguity and it's important for them to buy in that process upfront.

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Team Aziza Virani Anne-Laure Fayard Bettina Fliegel Madiha Ahmed 
Thanks team for the great thoughts, suggestions and contributions to refine the idea!

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Isaac Jumba my pleasure! Happy to keep helping.

Photo of Adrien
Team

Hi Issac,

I think that your idea is great! Your strategy to link higher education to professional work will truly help both sides of the market - the students and the communities. Your platform and the way you anticipate to run the entire scheme seems well thought out. Having studied outsourcing at school, I would recommend you to think about intellectual property, which might be an issue for firms trying to solve challenges. For your strategy to work, and specifically for firms to hand out relevant challenges, they will have to trust your platform. This starts with the ability for the firms to keep the intellectual property associated with the work the teams provide. I understand that the work the teams will provide will also pertain to communities, therefore, my recommendation is only for the private, business side of your platform. However, I do think that this business side will prove to be more important for the success of the platform, because private companies will have more to offer than the government will in Kenya. Therefore, I personally would recommend focusing on private businesses (even if it will create less social good for the community).

I hope this helps.

Good luck with everything!

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Thanks Adrien. Part of the learnings we got during the time we shared the idea was that companies were willing to pay so long as we can assure them of the quality of solutions from the learners, and that the solutions would in a big way be helpful to them. Sustainability can be an issue when dealing with communities, unless the projects are part of company's CSR. Would love to further explore the model for businesses as suggested. https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/future-of-highered/refinement/the-matchmaker tries to also explore this model

Photo of Kaiying Chen
Team

Hi Isaac,

As a college student at a school with a pretty well developed career search platform for students to apply to internships and jobs, I think this is a fantastic idea for schools that don't have such ubiquitous platforms. Regardless, I believe this is a fantastic platform for students to make meaningful relationships and make an impact in their community. I believe that it is good to test your ideas out more on small scale organizations and "competitions" because scaling could be an organizational issue if there are a lot of different parties involved. Just thinking about the immediate impact of the program, you said that the inspiration for this was the lack of experience that many Kenyan students have in the job search market, do you think that the focus should shift more to partnering with corporations, NGO's or other similar organizations to provide direct pipelines for students to get more work experience?

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Hi Kaiying Chen thanks for jumping in. You have highlited two critical issues regarding how the club can best work. First, the aspect of closely working with corporations and organizations to provide a pipeline for students to be future ready. We basically want to be a trusted platform that can provide this link, and as you point it out, this should be our focus. Our second key aspect is about linking learners to their local communities, something which cuts across most of the learning institutions. Learners can only be future ready if they are able to connect and solve local challenges. That's the need for having community involved. Its a big risk, given the ability to scale, but we are learning a lot from the Design For America model.
Best, Jumba

Photo of Priscilla
Team

Hi Isaac,
I just wanted to say that I think this is a great project! As a college student myself, I support the idea that connection between a student's education and the community is extremely important, not only for the learning process but in terms of human growth and socialization.
I especially like the idea of focusing the project not just on graduates/college students- but 'learners' in general.
I wish you the best of luck!

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Thanks Priscilla for the great feedback. We hope the club can help connect learners to communities and to the industry. Would be great to also understand from you, what would be the motivation to be part of the club?

Photo of Priscilla
Team

Hi Isaac,
As a student I would have been motivated to be part of the club for the real-world experience that it would provide, I would be interested in learning how the community functioned and to start being an active member of the community. The service aspect would have also appealed to me, being able to do some social good. I would also have been motivated to join to see what industries are available and to know what future career paths I can take- which is why I think its great that you are opening the floor to all 'learners' instead of just college students.
I hope my answers are helpful!

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Yes :) Thank you so much for highlighting some of the key pillars that need to be there for the club to provide value to you. Will surely love to be in touch for more feedback as we bring the idea to life.
Best,
Jumba

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Isaac Jumba great updates! So exciting that you were able to do a challenge. I'm really looking forward to the learnings you collected. Did you ask students to "sign up" for to participate to a project with an organization or join the student club? Also thank you for the mention to DFA NYU 

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Hey AL, I have just made the updates about the event. Basically we asked them if they will be excited to actually test out their final ideas and if they will be excited to join in for future challenge.

Photo of Madiha Ahmed
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Isaac Jumba it is such a lot of inspiring work ! I just checked out the User Experience Map-I like how you've thought out the details !

Regarding the data you collected and shared as google doc,I think that is insightful too ! I've commented there.
Good luck ! I really hope this idea is selected for the next phase because I can see it developing and working out eventually after more prototyping. I pray for your success !

Yes,one more thing I like about this idea is how you are working with another member of OpenIDEO and from the team in another part of the world and trying to apply some of the good things in your model !

It is great !

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Thanks Madiha, for being part of the team and for helping out refine the idea :) We have learned alot throught the steps.

Photo of Isaac Jumba
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Hey Freyja Oddsdottir Eric Kariuki Victoria Nyakundi needed to tag you guys for comments, suggestions and anything!

Photo of Kate Rushton
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Hi Isaac and team,

There is just a week left of refinement. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Isaac,
I was reviewing the graphic. Just to clarify, do you envision this as a club, outside of one's academic work, or as a project that a student will get credit for?
How do you envision the mentoring aspect? What would the structure be?
What would the structure be for team participation?

What are you thinking to prototype?
The update looks great!

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Team

Thanks Bettina. so far from the learnings, I have narrowed down to the following persona type:
1. A junior university student just looking to gain experience from projects, and also looking to interact with other students. Their main goal is to always get a good internship or connection to the industry.
2. A senior university student - 3rd year student-who is about to join his final year of school. He has done an internship already and is thinking, what next after school. He is looking for a meaningful project to work on during his final year, with the hope that it can be proof of his ability to secure a job. To him, collaboration with other students isnt a big thing. He is more concerned about getting industry connection and working on a great project.
3. A student who is more concerned about perfecting his/her field and who might use: www.realtimecases.com

From the two main personas, two ideas emerged. Persona one fits well on the updated solution for solve4work clubs while persona 2 fits well for the original submitted idea.

Is it possible to prototype both ideas?
Lastly, might need some help in creating a simple user journey map

Photo of Isaac Jumba
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For the prototyping we are looking at these ways so far: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1wyHbCfO9IbjixtpArifFVV9sCCtYAfokz-vtg1JV7Zc

Feel free to add your thoughts as well as what you visualize as the user journey. Thanks.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Isaac based on my experience with DFA NYU I think the club idea could fulfill the need of both of your users / personas. If you are able to develop some projects with organizations and have professional mentors joining in, it will provide the connections that your persona 2 is looking for. She / he will also get a project to add to her / his portfolio as well as experience in team work and project management. From what I've seen with my students, being able to show real project experience is also key.

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Anne-Laure Fayard thanks for this. From the explanation, I totally see connection. Early next week I'm meeting up with a faculty member and dean of students to take them through the ides. Will update on the progress.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
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Glad this helped! :-)

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Dear Isaac and Kate Rushton . I'll get time to contribute. Regards. John Nduko

Photo of Isaac Jumba
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Thanks John Nduko . We will be looking forward

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Isaac and Team 
There was an Idea in refinement in a previous OpenIDEO Challenge, The Youth Employment Challenge, that was also explored how to bring real world projects to university students. In that case the proposal was to bring the projects into individual class settings. The ideator was a university student in Colombia, at that time. He prototyped the idea with a professor in one of his classes. Although there are differences to your idea Isaac maybe there are some learnings from his experience?
https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/ideas/integrated-model-of-smes-students-a-program-that-unites-the-real-modern-and-local-challenges-faced-by-local-companies-with-the-learning-process-of-universities-students-to-increase-student-professional-preparation-and-smes-competitiveness

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Hi Bettina,
Thank you so much for the link. The post answers so many questions that I had in mind and offers lots of learnings. Like what will motivate the students to take the challenges, what will keep them engaged, what their reward is, the role of the educators, and how the industry comes in.

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So glad that it was a helpful share! One thing that I thought would be relevant here was their focus on working with local businesses. I found it interesting that the businesses wanted to pay the students - "to get a full commitment", as they said. Not sure how common this is or whether it is easily organized. What in particular stood out for you?

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Juan Pablo Castaño  Hi. I wanted to tag you to let you know that I shared your idea. I remembered your great post from the Youth Employment Challenge! I shared it with Isaac here, see above, as he is working on a similar challenge in terms of how to best prepare university students for transition to employment. If you have a few minutes it would be great to hear any follow up that happened after the initial prototype ended in your university class.

Photo of Aziza Virani
Team

Hello Isaac,

I think this idea is really great. Would you have space on your team for one more member?

I'm currently part of the University of Toronto's postsecondary Innovation Hub, and we're grappling with many of the same questions. We're looking to create viable transitions from school to the labour market, while also fostering interdisciplinary work cultures and opportunities that allow students to create social impact, engage with each other and collaborate with employers. Please let me know if I can come on board, I'd love to contribute!

Thank you!

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Hello Aziza Virani , yes it will be great to also have you on board :) Just added you to the team

Photo of Isaac Jumba
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Hello Aziza, as part of the Innovation Hub, what ideas have you thought about so far? Are you already trying out some ideas? Would love to hear your thoughts.

I like how you have reframed the value proposition "to create viable transitions from school to the labour market, while also fostering interdisciplinary work cultures and opportunities that allow students to create social impact, engage with each other and collaborate with employers."

Photo of Aziza Virani
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Isaac! Thank you very much. I am looking forward to this!

Photo of Aziza Virani
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Hello Isaac,

I am part of the Future Ready Students team. In the Fall, we went out and asked students/staff/alumni and employers what Future Ready meant for them. We then ideated based on all of our data. We came up with 13 different ideas, and 6 of them have made it to the refinement stage, if you will. We'll see which idea, if any, we can actually take up.

Some of the initial group of 13 ideas included:

-A university-wide framework on mentoring and experiential learning.
- A studio-based course for arts and social science students, to allow them to team up with employers and work on discipline-specific projects, facilitating a transition into the labour market.
-Students acting as vendors for the university, in which the university would hire teams of students to complete work.
-A funding initiative for internships, so that students would not need to work without pay in order to gain experience.

Photo of Aziza Virani
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At this stage, we are working together to see which idea will move forward. We will see what happens! The next challenge, as Anne-Laure articulated, is the implementation.

Photo of Rana Chakrabarti
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Congratulations Issac !
Let me know how I can help.
Feel free to give a shout out.
Warmly,
Rana

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Hi Isaac. I think this is a great idea! I have a few questions and thoughts.
Maybe encourage students to ask themselves what societal problems they are interested in solving as well, in addition to looking to industry for challenges they are facing, and see if they can connect with industry, non profits, community? What might happen if university students were joined on their projects by community members, business workers, etc.? Can these projects become collaborative and educational vehicles for other folk outside of the university - industry workers, local business people, community members, non traditional students within the community? I am not sure what is feasible /possible….
It would be great to have a course for participants in human centered design!

Check out Terry's idea. It is interesting.
 https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/future-of-highered/ideas/pick-a-problem-not-a-job

I liked Jim's approach to identifying opportunities in this post. https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/future-of-highered/ideas/theme-oriented-continuing-ed-focused-on-regional-development

Are you familiar with the Design For America student club? If not, here is some info.
http://designforamerica.com
https://www.facebook.com/dfanyu/
There is a chapter at NYU and sometimes their events are co-hosted with the NYC OpenIDEO Chapter meetings. I have attended a few of their project presentations. They were great! Club students are from a variety of academic backgrounds. Some of the challenges that students have worked on have been industry sponsored. Anne-Laure Fayard is the faculty advisor for the NYU DFA club.
Might a club be one way to involve students in your Idea here earlier in their university years?

Looking forward to seeing your idea develop! Good luck!

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Thanks Bettina Fliegel  for mentioning DFA NYU. Isaac Jumba I love your idea and believe there is a lot of potential. If you want to check some of the projects DFA NYU teams work, you can check http://dfanyu.com/ As Bettina mentioned, DFA NYU works on multiple projects. In all cases, teams work with local organizations and with a professional mentor. Our club also tries to connect with different groups: co-organizing OpenIDEO meetings, teaching design thinking to K-12 students, etc.
Moreover our club is open to all schools at NYU, to both undergrads and grads and we try to make sure to have multidisciplinary teams. This is a great way for students to connect across programs and schools.
Students participating to DFA NYU projects not only create social impact on their community, but also learn to work collaboratively in multdisciplinary teams, hone their design thinking skills and end up with projects for their portfolio.

I think you might also be interested to hear about the model used by Gujarat Technological University in India where the final project year is in fact planned since the first year (using a design thinking model). Adhish Patel can tell you more about this.

Regarding your idea, I think that Bettina has a good point by suggesting that you might want to have different options in terms of defining the projects' briefs or scopes. I believe students might also have their own ideas about problems they would like to solve at least for the social innovation part. Just to check you're thinking of having either business or social problems?
I think that the most difficult part in your process is point 7, the implementation. If you look at studies of hackathons or crowdsourcing challenges, they are great at generating ideas but implementation is the different aspect. Based on several cases where I had students teams participating to sponsored challenges with organizations, while they received positive feedback on the quality of the ideas, turning the idea into a pilot has not been very successful. You might be able to find ways to support better the process but you might also be open to different paths for the ideas, and for sure put some efforts in thinking about that element.
Another way to get prompts for challenge is to use openIDEO. I've been doing this in my Design Thinking course and it's been a quite successful model.

I like the idea of a club and / or a class with a project component to start testing the idea.

Good luck as you push the idea further!

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Hi Bettina, thank you so much for the detailed feedback. I have picked up some ideas on how to re-imagine the concept.
1. Ask students what problems they are really interested in solving, eraly on, as well articulated by Terry Hosler 's idea Pick a problem not a career/major 
2. See ways in which community members would be part of the projects - this can really be great.
3. Potentially start the model as a university club as an easier way to get started - (Inspiration from the Design For America club).

Jim's approach on Theme-Oriented Continuing Ed Focused on Regional Development  is an interesting one, and an area that could be tapped on for the club as well.

Based on these, I'm refining the idea and will hopefully try the light experiment in the coming months with a potential university we are in contact with

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Thanks Anne-Laure for joining in. I have checked out some of the projects by the DFA NYU teams, and they are interesting! Real challenges being solved. Our approach was also to work closely with the Nairobi OpenIDEO chapter this year, so they help also in starting the idea.

We hope to start with social challenges as opposed to business challenges (business challenges require more groundwork - IP rights, what the students get as appreciation and the question on how far the students can iinovate). With social challenges it's easier to ask students what causes they care about.

I totally agree that implementation of winning ideas is a big pain. I can potentially look at how successful ideas have been implemented over the last few years here in Kenya. Thanks for suggesting OpenIDEO, we can tap into their model as well. As we test out the model, I would use your experiences and insights throught the process. Thanks

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Isaac, great to hear about your collaboration with Nairobi OpenIDEO Chapter.
I agree that social challenges are different than business challenges. I know that some of my engineering colleagues have done partnership with companies for senior projects but IP often comes up as an issue. With some of our sponsored challenges with DFA National, which are not really business challenges but still address areas that companies are interested in exploring further, we have been faced with IP issues as well as how students's work can be acknowledge. I know Toyota is doing a one day challenge in February at NYU and the winning team has the opportunity to have a paid summer internship to work on further developing their idea.
I suppose that you might also want to think of different potential learning outcomes for students (experience in working in teams, communication and project management skills, developing and testing an innovative idea that they can use in their portfolio, working with a real world challenge and professional actors, etc.) and they are not necessarily connected to the idea being implemented. Looking forward to the next steps.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Isaac, great to hear about your collaboration with Nairobi OpenIDEO Chapter.
I agree that social challenges are different than business challenges. I know that some of my engineering colleagues have done partnership with companies for senior projects but IP often comes up as an issue. With some of our sponsored challenges with DFA National, which are not really business challenges but still address areas that companies are interested in exploring further, we have been faced with IP issues as well as how students's work can be acknowledge. I know Toyota is doing a one day challenge in February at NYU and the winning team has the opportunity to have a paid summer internship to work on further developing their idea.
I suppose that you might also want to think of different potential learning outcomes for students (experience in working in teams, communication and project management skills, developing and testing an innovative idea that they can use in their portfolio, working with a real world challenge and professional actors, etc.) and they are not necessarily connected to the idea being implemented. Looking forward to the next steps.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Hi Isaac. Great!
 It will be interesting to get feedback from students on some of these things.
What do they think of focusing on a problem, rather than choosing a subject/major to build competency in?

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Isaac,
Thanks for adding me to the team.
Congrats on entering the Refinement Phase of the challenge!

Photo of Isaac Jumba
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Thanks for accepting to be part of the team. Would love suggestions on how to move forward :)

Photo of Kate Rushton
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Hi Issac,

I hope you are having a nice day.

There is an idea that was an idea in the refinement stage in our Food Waste Challenge - https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/food-waste/final-feedback/go-between-get-involved-and-let-s-reduce-food-waste It is called ‘Go Between’. It has a nice user journey and SWOT analysis.

I would recommend really digging down into what is the problem, how is this solution and think about what the competitors are to demonstrate that this a ‘need to have’ and not a ‘nice to have’.

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Welcome to the Refinement phase Isaac! We've added new Refinement questions to your original submission that we'd love for you to answer. Please check out the Refinement Phase Toolkit for instructions on how to answer the new questions and other recommendations we encourage all idea teams to consider in the upcoming weeks.

Refinement Phase Toolkit: http://ideo.pn/2du9sf7

Lastly, here's a useful tip: When you update the content of your post, it'd be helpful to indicate this in your idea title by adding an extension. For example, you can add the extension " - Update: Experience Maps 02/01" to you idea title. This will be a good way to keep people informed about how your idea is progressing!

Photo of Kate Rushton
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Hi Isaac and team,

Welcome the refinement phase, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me by using @ and typing my name.

Take care,

Kate

Photo of Kate Rushton
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You might want to check out The MatchMaker 

Photo of Isaac Jumba
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Hi Kate,
Thanks for the link. The matchmaker looks very much a workable online model. They have really interesting insights that would help in reshaping our model. I also came across this edtech startup: www.realtimecases.com doing an excellent job in the space.

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Team

Hi Isaac,

Great idea! Yes, our contributions are similar!

"1. At the moment, there is so little interdisciplinary collaboration among the students in schools. With this model, we are enabling students to collaborate early and to understand team dynamics."

I appreciate this aspect of your proposal - working in interdisciplinary teams is just as much a part of everyday life as it should be included in the educational system!

I wonder what sectors you're thinking about testing this in. There's incentive for students and organisations if this is laid out easily enough for them to get on board and solve problems. It would be very fulfilling to work with students in coming up with these ideas and seeing them succeed.

Photo of Dathane Turner
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Great Idea. Your Idea has an affinity with my idea. Intriguing.

Photo of Isaac Jumba
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Thanks Dathane Turner ! I'm checking out your submission as well!

Photo of Kate Rushton
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Hi Isaac!

Thank you for sharing another great idea.

Do you know what the rules around intellectual property ownership for anything the students develop? The only reason I ask is that when I was at University (years ago), the University had rights. It might be interesting to see what the rules are.

I wonder. How would the projects be assessed? Would the students still have to do the traditional-style write-up as well as the pitch etc.?

Photo of Isaac Jumba
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Hi Kate, thanks for the feedback.

I had not thought about the issue on intellectual property ownership for what the students develop. Thanks for bringing it up. It's something to dig deeper and maybe have a conversation with the school leadership. I was part of an entrepreneurship school and we had a similar model where companies will talk about the areas they are looking for innovations, but for every successful idea that teams come up, either during the school program or after, the school owned the IP rights but which could be exchanged for a 10% equity in the new business (they termed the 10% as part of giving back to the school for the support and insights you gathered while there)

On how the projects will be assessed, it may largely be dependent on what the local businesses see as the most ideal solution that best addresses their needs, since the challenges are framed by the local businesses. The school can help in assessing things like team dynamics and maybe individual soft skills.

We could have a demo + pitch day, just like the Thinkubator Challenge when the solutions are pitched back to the businesses. But prior to that, we could have periodic updates on how the teams are doing. I invite your thoughts on this as well :)

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Hi Andrea Zelenak , what was your experience with what Kate Rushton has raised above?

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As for property ownership, the school was allowed to use our ideas for promotional purposes. The companies were also allowed to use our ideas. Sometimes the winning ideas came with scholarship money or free items from the company as compensation for ideas being used. In all of the "sponsored classes," we were allowed promote or show our ideas in our portfolios or on our websites.

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Thanks for this Andrea. The idea of "Sponsored Classes" and your model makes it possible to prototype the idea locally, and maybe once the prototype has proven successful, IP rights is something that can be worked on, so as to scale up the idea. I appreciate your thoughts :)

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Great minds think alike! I do believe this is the best approach to praper students to for work after graduation and help solve local businesses & community problems too. It is a win win situation for all parties involved.
I think the next step we can collaborate on creating a work model for this approach in order to make it easy for universities & industries to implement . What do you think?

Photo of Isaac Jumba
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Yes, definitely, lets collaborate to come up with the model. my email is isaacjumba@gmail.com

Photo of Mozah
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Happy new year Isaac! I just sent you an email and looking forward to turning this Idea into reality :-)
mozahs@yahoo.com

Photo of Isaac Jumba
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Happy new year! I have seen your mail and responded. Madiha Ahmed  is also part of the team and she joins us from Asia (India). Lets see what we can come up in the next few days

Photo of Madiha Ahmed
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Hi Mozah and Isaac-I am excited to be a part of this ! I will create a Google Hangout Group and email you both so that we can begin soon ! Thank you for making me a part of the team!

Photo of Andres Felipe Vera Ramirez
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I like the idea of connecting Entrepreneurship and Education. I recommend you to learn more about System Dynamics (http://www.clexchange.org/) - I am just learning, and just the basic concepts have openned mu mind to new ideas.

I would highly appreciate feedback on my idea of an OPEN Media Lab because in a sense we are going in the same direction.

Kind regards from Colombia

Photo of Isaac Jumba
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Hi Andres, thanks for the feedback and for sharing about System Dynamics. I will spent sometime looking into it deeper. What's the correlation between System Dynamics, System Thinking and Design Thinking?
I have checked out your OPEN Media Lab  idea and the direction is somehow similar. I have shared my thoughts on them as well.

Photo of Andres Felipe Vera Ramirez
Team

I'm glad to find interesting this topic.

I've found that Design Thinking - or Human Centered Design- is particularly useful in different contexts and for different solutions, but what have worked for me is not having boundaries, but mixing different methodologies (for instance, the Job To Be Done is a valuable complement for the early steps of Design Thinking).

System Dynamics gives you elements for better thinking systemically (System Thinking). Even if you are not an expert modeling, learning the concepts of feedbacks, stocks & flows, cause-effect will be valuable for open up your mind to think on systems.

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Thankks for the explanation Andres. I'm interested on learning more about System Dynamics. Share with me more resources if you have them! And Happy New Year from Kenya!

Photo of Andrea Zelenak
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Hi Isaac!

In my experience in college, we had "sponsored" classes where companies would come in and tell us their problems. We'd form groups and have four phases of presentations with them. We'd have 1. A research phase: coming up with themes we feel we might run with 2. An ideation phase, more concrete ideas based on the research 3. A rough example of our final idea 4. Our final concept. It was cool to have input from the companies at different times to head us into the right direction. In addition, at the end, three people had internships through the company.

However, I think it was really important that the companies had a "design brief" and presentation in the beginning of what was going wrong with their companies.

For example, my group's brief was about Buick. Buick had a negative stigma of an older audience, how might we appeal to a younger age?

Hopefully this can help or support in some way!

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Team

Thanks Andrea Zelenak  for sharing your college experience with regards to the idea. We hadn't though earlier about companies doing a design brief, but now I could see the importance.
 Could you elaborate more maybe on what happened to the projects or solutions that you finally came up with? Also how long were the sponsored classes(from research to solution)?

One of the other challenges we were foreseeing is how best the model would work for the different parties involved(students, the school and the companies), could you also elaborate on the "sponsored" part. Thank you so much

Photo of Madiha Ahmed
Team

Hi Isaac !

I love this idea.

This is very interesting-
"At the end, we have either new companies solving real problems or we have graduates joining companies as problem-solvers."

I'd love to be a part of this. Infact, for local application now,if you need help from my side,please tell me. We can discuss !

Thank you for sharing the idea and making me a part of the team !

Photo of Isaac Jumba
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Hi Madiha,

I'm glad you love the idea. It will really be great for you to try it locally :) We should definitely discuss. Thanks for agreeing to be part of the team.