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The MatchMaker

Matching educators and classes to real-world projects.

Photo of Rana Chakrabarti
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Context : 

In our goal to discover how to introduce design-doing into the higher education experience in the United States, we stumbled into a foundational insight about the American college experience: IT'S A BUBBLE.  

While it is has its value, we also discovered a darker side to this benefit : Students are coming out of the system out of touch with industry realities, qualified, but missing critical skills.

One student told us : "we're qualified to lead the team in companies, but not to join them".


Every insight is also an opportunity in disguise. We discovered that students have an insatiable appetite for solving real-world problems, probably in response to being inside a bubble. Most students we spoke to are clear that they're there to get a job and are finding ways to stay relevant to industry. Hackathons and design clubs are mushrooming at colleges in response with the support of faculty, who tacitly acknowledge this.

However, our second insight is that this is no where close to enough to prepare students for the real-world.


Problem Space: 

Today we see a "big bang" approach taken by universities to introduce their students to a real-world experience.  These are the capstone projects — expensively put together and for all its benefits, a one-time thing. We see preparing students for the real world as a repeated process not a terminating one.  What is needed is not one big bang project but many "little bang" projects over the duration of the college experience — also called corner stone projects in some literature. 

A useful analogy would be to think of the capstone project as capital expenditure — large, one time, mammoth. And the corner stone project as operating expenditure — small, repeated, bite sized. We need more op-ex style projects.


However what stops educators from introducing real-world projects into their classroom ? The problem seems obvious enough. Why not ask industry for small projects which students can do and learn in the process?

Our third insight was that educators do not trust industry to do the right thing. At the very least, they have a fear of being used as extended workbenches for corporate managers.  

We found numerous successful examples of service learning projects where the engagement benefited the community and the students but these were the exceptions.

The pattern we see : A professor looks up his alumni in a company, assured the alumni knows how her class works. They agree on a project. The project is re-cycled ad nauseam. In a variation , the educator creates a project she feels represents real-world and that is re-cycled ad nauseam.

Pretty bleak.  Every professor was hand building their own apparatus.

There was one glimmer of hope. Our fourth insight : It's not that the educators mistrusted the industry. It was the fact that they needed flexibility in re-framing the problem which industry was reluctant to give. They wanted to either abstract the problem one level or take a sub-problem. Their goal was to create a teaching problem, not simply an industry problem. If that was made possible, our bet was the Educator and Real-World could be matched appropriately, resulting in students coming our better prepared for the real-world.


Our final insight which tipped us into the solution space was : for the design-doing mindset to "take" it is necessary that the mindset be taught rigorously, and the student get sufficient "mileage" in solving real-world problems on an increasing ramp of complexity. This ensures they develop a "felt sense" of the design process, essential for practitioners. Both must happen in class to ensure good evaluation


Solution Space :

Our bet was IF we matched Educators and classes with real-world problems with appropriate flexibility and commitment THEN Educators would be encouraged to try out new and different cornerstone projects in class RESULTING IN students coming out better prepared for the real-world 

Our embodiment of this hypothesis is the Matchmaker.

See the full storyboard: here told from the Industry's point of view. We have a separate storyboard representing the Educators point of view. Available on request.

The core value is lowering the barrier of entry for real-world projects by ensuring a match between the levels of commitment and flexibility Industry is willing to offer and the levels of commitment and flexibility the Educator needs. 

This is two sided market, with Educators putting up classes and Industry putting up real-world projects.  

Once a match is made, the matchmaker temporarily takes the project and the class "off the market". Once an agreement is reached it is permanently taken of the market. If not, it is put back on the market.

Nudges are provided by the matchmaker to both parties to let them know that there are parties interested on both sides where relevant. 

The matchmaker also provides the necessary templates for terms of agreement etc to make signing off on the statement of work easier. 

Meeting requests are sent by the matchmaker to both sides, locking in time.

During the engagement, assets are uploaded or linked by students for the client to see. 

After the engagement, both the educator and the client rate each other. The average rating is visible against each, making it easier for a new educator or a new client to decide to take the plunge. 


The highlights of the solution are :

  1.  Automatic matching of client and educator based on "jobs to be done", flexibility and commitment levels
  2. Templates to make negotiation and communication easier
  3. Uber-like rating system to lower barrier of entry for new parties. 

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

For Educators who want to bring in real-world projects into their classroom on a regular basis and "real-world" partners - communities, non-profits, startups, enterprises and others who want to engage with universities to have their problems solved as a learning challenge by students. This creates a marketplace mechanism between industry and universities allowing for smaller universities to compete with larger universities in the strength of one good class, and a new interface to colleges

This idea emerged from:

  • A group brainstorm

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

We have validated the Matchmaker with over 20 Professors from 6-7 colleges. The value proposition holds. We are looking for partners or colleges who might be interested in developing this concept to a prototype level, or interested in hosting the matchmaker in their college, if the prototype is available.

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

We did a wall-walk with over 20 Professors from 6-7 colleges and had them comment on every stage of the storyboard with post-its. The resulting post-its told us the storyboard is valuable, and needs refinement in a few places. We can repeat the same online by sending out the storyboard and having educators leave comments on different stages of the the narrative.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am a self-taught engineer-turned-designer since 2007. I work as an experience designer, design facilitator and mentor for startups. I follow a design process I call Startup by Design and love designing interventions for Big Systems. I've worked in spaces of enterprise, entrepreneurship, non-profits, healthcare, education, manufacturing and a few other sectors. Since late 2015 we at SAP have been on the journey to introduce design-doing into the higher education system in the United States.

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

Solving real-world problems while in college is the path to design-mindedness and resilience. One capstone project is simply not enough for this. What is needed is access to real-world "cornerstone" projects - smaller projects that can be easily introduced into classes and done in weeks : from problems on campus, in the community, at a non-profit, at a for-profit or in an enterprise. We match educators with real-world partners with a high "fit" in their flexibility and commitment levels.

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

Matching educators with classes to real-world partners with problems that need solving in order to give students the mileage necessary to reinforce and deepen their design-doing mindset.

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

In two ways : 1. We address the issue of trust and fit : Educators reuse the same problems because they don't trust industry to give learning problems. We match educators with real-world partners based on their degree of fit in problem flexibility and commitment levels. 2. We help introduce the projects into the classroom : Most other approaches leave it up to the educator to figure this out. With our Course Design process we help the educator do this, making adoption easier.

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

By the number of real-world projects students are solving. That is the final metric which tells us whether the design-doing mindset is taking hold. To begin with, we need 10 universities who would be willing to try this on, and at least one that would be willing to help build this.

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

The Matchmaker is a platform. Once this is proved in the initial cohort of universities, this can easily be scaled to universities all over the United States. Every university can then access real-world problems for its students (locally as we see it). We see the University Corporate Relations as the key actor which find new real-world partners to on-board and makes new classes available for matching on the Matchmaker

What are your immediate next steps after the challenge?

Find a partner who is willing to build out a prototype. The high-fidelity prototype has been validated by 20 odd educators and we know its valuable.
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Attachments (2)

Matchmaker Competitive Analysis.pdf

Competitive Analysis done by UC San Diego students for the MatchMaker

Home.png

Proposed homepage for the Matchmaker

43 comments

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Photo of Anna Beridze
Team

Hi Rana,

This is a great idea which presents a broad set of opportunities for students! What would the incentives for educators be to work with companies and present their challenges and projects to students? Also, do you think students will provide more valuable solutions to challenges if they are rewarded for them?

Photo of Joel Nicholson
Team

Hi Rana, check out what the team at Riipen are up to, it might be of interest and inspiration. Please let me know if you'd like to connect with them.

https://riipen.com/

Best,
Joel

Photo of Rana Chakrabarti
Team

Joel Nicholson  :awesome find ! Yes, please !

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Thanks for this. Hi Joel Nicholson , would you have an idea on the business model for this?

Best,

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

My favorite idea :) Lets make it happen!

Photo of Leonardo Sabo
Team

Hi Rana,

First of all, I think this is a great idea for educators seeking good quality work. Not sure if I didn't understand correctly, but where exactly do the students come into the equation? I see that problems and educators are matched up, but where can people come to learn? I think this is a great idea for people to test their skills with real-world problems; I feel like it is missing an aspect of learning, however. One suggestion would be to create open forums for educators to receive ideas (kind of like OpenIDEO) from other people interested in the subject. I think it will bring more people who are willing to learn.

Just a couple of questions for you:
1) How does the selection process work?
2) How are companies incentivized to continue posting questions for educators?
3) Can multiple people work on the same project simultaneously?

Good luck!

best,
Leo

Photo of Rana Chakrabarti
Team

Hi Leo,

The educator represent a class of students. If the educator and the real-work partner agree to work together, it is because there is a class full of students who are looking to solve the problem.

On Selection :
Beyond the matchmaking algorithm, it would be a free-market process. The parties decide to work together or go back on the market for the next match.

On Real-World Partners Incentive:

We foresee communities, non-profits, for-profits, and enterprises small and big.

The first few get help with solving a problem they don't typically have the resources to tackle. The last gets a class full of bright students and multiple options for a problem s.he is facing.

On Working Across Projects :

Good question. The system should / would cap this to a max based on the students schedule or arbitrarily to 1-2 projects. We know it doesn't work in real-life.

Thanks !

Rana

Photo of Helen Wang
Team

Hi Rana,

This sounds like a great idea for students to get some real-world exposure, without the commitment of an internship. I see the benefits for employers as well - generating new ideas for very low cost. I have some concerns about the "automatic matching" through the Matchmaker platform. Is it based solely on the criteria you outlined ("jobs to be done", flexibility and commitment levels)? Are there other factors considered? How does the software analyze matches, based on such simple criteria? Is this software proprietary and already developed?

Also, have you considered if this Matchmaker platform would cover all areas of academic studies? Perhaps, it would be better suited for certain areas. For example, what type of work would a firm ask from a biology class? What type of work would be asked from a finance class? Music class? English class? A narrower academic scope may help refine the platform. Let me know your thoughts!

Photo of Rana Chakrabarti
Team

Hi Helen Wang ,

Thank you for your observations.

No, the algorithm has not been developed yet. We're looking for a partner / home for this.
The criteria I mentioned came as a result of our research.
Do you see additional criteria which you feel would build trust on both sides ?

Given that the Matchmaker intends to match real-world problems / partners to classes it is discipline agonstic. It is likely that some discipline get more attention than the others. This would be one measure of success - that a few disciplines pull it.

A deeper question, which I see in your observation is whether we can somehow form inter-disciplinary groups across campus in this process. From finance, music, english and biology as it were. For now, there is a suggestion - the design jobs, but not a method. One way would be to have group formation built into the design. i.e. Matchmaker sends a "you've been matched" mail to students with matching skills and schedules who then opt-in.

Another answer of course is - would biology benefit from exposure to a real-world problem ? If so, there is likely a real-world partner who would pose a problem. The same for finance, music, and english. The goal here is reinforce the design-doing mindset but exposing them to real-world problems. This pre-supposes that you have introduced your learners to the design-doing process, which would quite naturally required that you use a real-world challenge to get things going.

Warmly,

Rana

Photo of Jenny
Team

Hi Rana Chakrabarti  and team,

The Matchmaker is a great idea that is well articulated, especially with the mockup from the industry perspective! Earlier this week OpenIDEO San Diego chapter selected this project to explore further as we see great potential. After discussing the project in depth, we decided to look at it from the point of view of a specific company to map out the potential journey. From this we came up with a few additional questions that perhaps you have already considered or may want to reflect on further:

• Can you provide additional clarity about the selection process? Are the submissions blinded/anonymous as to what institution they come from? For example, could it be an issue if a company only wants to work with one institution (i.e. top ranked school)? How does the decision algorithm work? Which criteria are deemed to be of greater importance?

• Are projects only available to be completed by class or could projects be completed cross-faculty, cross- year, cross-class? We discussed the great learning potential for students with different academic backgrounds/ faculties and levels to come together to address the real-world problem. Perhaps this could be an additional option?

• In the current model once a match is made it is essentially taken "off of the market". What is the rationale for this? Would it be possible for multiple institutions to work on the same project at different times or is each project restricted to one institution?

Congratulations on making it to the top 30 and we look forward to seeing this idea move forward!

-Jenny (on behalf of the OpenIDEO San Diego chapter)

Photo of Rana Chakrabarti
Team

Thanks Jenny !

We couldn't have done this without the UC San Deigo student team. It their effort I'm representing.

On Selection :

The algorithm looks to check a few key criteria :

a. How much flexibility is the real-world partner willing to offer on reframing the problem : i.e. is s.he willing to allow abstracting the problem or solving a sub-problem. This turned out to be the central concern for educators.
b. How much time commitment is the real-world partner willing to offer : Educators need the partner to show up in-person at key moments. This is essential to the students seeing them as actual clients.

c. Local / Non-Local : The algorithm might check this, but in the long run we see local ecosystem driving this, not remote ones.

The central concept however, is that the real-world partner are the problem givers and the educators with classes attached are the problem-solvers. Partners provides problems, Educators provide classes, Matchmaker makes a "high trust" match.

On Top Ranked Schools :
A partner may choose to work with a top ranked school of course. The matchmaker aims to provide a level playing field so that smaller colleges with bright students have a fighting chance on the strength of the educator and her students. In general I forsee free market dynamics at work. The best classes, wherever they are, find the best real-world partners.

On Cross-Class, Cross-Year, Cross-Faculty Projects

The initial goal is to provide "cornerstone" projects which provide the necessary mileage to students across the years. I foresee a situation where every year from freshman to senior has projects with increasing complexity, and even different real-world partners.

It would be an added bonus to have the same project to be done across four years, but I suspect industry attention is much too short.

On Cross-Disciplinary Problem Solving :
We have this built into the current storyboard as a suggestion. We call them design "jobs" e.g. research, prototyping, etc. It makes sense to develop this into a pathway where students from all over campus self-select into the appropriate job. The best approach would be the ability to form inter-disciplinary teams based on the design jobs and the student schedules, and send mail to the students saying " you've been matched". We considered it. Needs more work, though.

The way it stands now, the educator would have to assign the design jobs to the suitable students in class. Also good for developing mileage on the design process, so that the researchers don't always get assigned to do the "fuzzy stuff"

On Going Off The Market :

The rationale is - in a free market mechanism you want to keep the pressure on both sides to prevent complacency, but you also want to keep safe limits to know when a project is taken. So we imagine tracking how many real-time partners want to work with one class and how many classes want to work with one real-world partner.

This is used to create pressure on a first-come-first-served basis. If one class and partner have been matched and agree to the next step : discussing on whether they should work together, we want to respect that this pair met first and stop the pipeline as it were. If they agree to work together we don't need any more in any case. Going off the market saves the newcomers from potential disappointment. We want as many parties get as many matches as possible. This requires keeping the waitlist short.


If they don't - and we let them know that other people are waiting, so they are incentivized to commit - then we open up the pipeline again so more partners and classes can find each other.

On Multiple Institutions working on the same project +

In principle we see this as an ongoing flow of short term projects, since the mechanism for longer term projects is capstone projects, which should stay. There is no obvious reason why one real-world partner presents a problem, one class in one university takes a shot at it and after thats done, a second class in the same university or a different university could not take a shot at it too.

This is a possible sequence, for example if one real-world partner feels she hasn't got what s.he needs from one class, or during hiring season wants to "test" the students across different universities in the same discipline. It is an adaptation of the original intent, but a legitimate one.

Because we see the involvement of the real-world partner in turning up in class a few times, I imagine this should only be done serially and not in parallel. That would make this an online challenge website. There are plenty of those around who likely do it better.

What makes this different is the engagement of the educator and the real-world partner in solving a problem that helps the students learn while helping the student. Testing the resilience of the students is fair. Outsourcing work would break trust.

Warmly,

Rana

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Rana and team,

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

Photo of Rana Chakrabarti
Team

Thanks Kate Rushton ! Done

Photo of Afrin Bhuiyan
Team

Hi Rana,

I agree with your idea that multiple smaller projects rather than few large projects would provide a more meaningful learning experience for students. I see that you plan on working with alumni at companies to get access to these real world problems. With that approach, how will a company be incentivized to comply? There may be issues that arise with the transfer of intellectual property and I believe it could be difficult to manage that. In addition, would an institution that has a smaller alumni network be at a disadvantage compared to one that has an extensive network?

Photo of Rana Chakrabarti
Team

Hi Afrin Bhuiyan ,

Thank you for your comment. My mistake if that's what the narrative suggests ( would you let me know which section ? ). In general, we see this as a response to the current situation : which depends heavily on alumni.

The matchmaker suggests the opposite : that finding real-world projects for your students should not need alumi, but only client who have real-world problems they need solved, that are good for students to learn with.

We forsee actors from communities - ie. service learning projects, non-profits, for-profits and enterprises all submitting real-world problems, because they have a chance to have a class full of bright student - say in marketing managment - take a crack at it, under the supervision of an educator.

That should be the incentive, rather than the alumni network - which can help with this, of course.

IP is handled simply by the real-world partner not submitting problems which are IP sensitive.

Warmly,

Rana

Photo of Leonardo Sabo
Team

Afrin,

I agree with your question about incentives. This idea is great for educators, as they will be collecting more experience and skills, but where do the institutions benefit? With no guarantee that the problem will be solved, it could takes months for them to get a solution. Not to mention the difficulty of ensuring that IP will be protected. Is the information going to be public?

Photo of Ernet M Williams
Team

Hi Rana,

I think service-learning in the higher education classroom is of great benefit to students, and usually of much more benefit to the partnering firms because they are basically receiving a wealth of ideas and feedback at very little cost. However, I am wondering if this initiative really tackles the problem of post-grad preparedness. How does this initiative differ from an internship or fellowship that many students acquire during their college careers? Wouldn't an internship lend a certain amount of preparedness to any student especially if that student intends to work within that same field? Potentially even that same office? While I totally agree that higher education is currently a bubble that has been inflating since the Reagan era of the 1980s, I wouldn't conflate the average higher education student's need to get into better schools and stay in school longer with unpreparedness. On the contrary, wouldn't highly educated students who felt the need to acquire tons of leadership experience, extracurricular activities, and internships arguably be extremely prepared to enter their target companies? I would implore you to consider that perhaps highly educated college grads are only perceived as not "ready for the real world" as there is a lot of literature detailing the negative stereotypes that currently befall the millennial generation especially in the workplace.

source: http://college.usatoday.com/2015/07/09/opinion-the-problem-with-the-millennial-problem/

Photo of Rana Chakrabarti
Team

Hi Ernet M Williams - thank you for a thoughtfully written post.

In my view, the matchmaker does and and should not take the place of internships. Internships are, for better or worse, the pathway to a job for most students. I see the matchmaker as a natural complement to the internship.

While the internship embeds the student in the real-world environment, the matchmaker brings the real-world into the classroom. This allows the educator to control the degree of difficulty s.he exposes her students to, to create the best conditions for learning. So for example, freshmen learners would get less complex problems and senior the full range of complexity.

I imagine a scenario, where a series of real-world matchmaker engagements with a local company, in fact brings them to the classroom to offer internships, since they've experienced the problem-solving ability of the students and are now looking for a cultural fit.

On Preparedness : Pardon me, if I seem harsh. As one of our advisers told us : " The purpose of the university is to provide maturity. They look at the same problem very differently when they come out". We believe this remains irreplaceable and should not be touched. Maturity is one kind of preparedness.

What we struggle with is the missing focus on innovation, intra / entrepreneurship and ability to take on complex open-ended problems. These are now considered essential by industry. Because these are essential for industry to survive. The matchmaker aims to fulfill this need by providing exposure early and often to real-world problems on an increasing scale of complexity.

Warmly,

Rana

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Rana and team,

There are a few hours left in the refinement phase if you have any questions feel free to reach out to me.

Photo of Rana Chakrabarti
Team

Thanks Kate Rushton ! Done !

Photo of Aziza Virani
Team

Rana Chakrabarti - this is a truly fantastic idea. I'm seeing so many parallels in my own work with the challenges you've mentioned above. I'd like to take some more time to go through what you've written, including the storyboard. However, the one piece that stood out to me immediately is the value of having educators take on a project with their whole class, rather than having the student forge forward alone and take on independent projects.

I'll be in touch with further reflection. I would love to ideate along with you, should you have room for more contributions.

Kate Rushton Thank you for the tip!

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Aziza Virani and Rana.
Great idea Rana! Congrats on moving into refinement. I am curious about the academic fields the professors that you surveyed are from. Was it a diverse group? Do you envision real world projects incorporated into liberal arts classes, as well as more science/tech or business classes?

Re: The value of having educators take on a project with the entire class there was an Idea in refinement in a previous challenge on OpenIDEO, "The Youth Employment Challenge," which focused on this. The ideator was a university student in Colombia. He prototyped the idea with a professor in one of his classes. It was a very interesting idea. Maybe there are 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

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Hi Rana,

Great idea. Will borrow bits of your approach to help refine my submission Solve4Work Challenge . While doing further research, I came across this edtech startup (www.realtimecases.com). They are doing well. Maybe something that has not come out clearly for me with them is the aspect of design thinking. What are your thoughts?

Photo of Rana Chakrabarti
Team

Hi Issac,
Thanks ! I like your work Solve4Work Challenge as well ! I see realtimecases.com as an essential first step in the process. This addresses the demand side of the conversation : real-world problems. This has advantages in that it allows professors from any style - lecture based or project-based to take on a real-world problem without having to organize themselves around a design process. You could be doing a class in marketing that could get super-charged by knowing you're solving a real world problem.

The supply side : how students are organized or organize themselves to solve the problem seems to be outside the scope of realtimecases.com. It provides resources for educators, but leaves the teaching upto them. That's where a design-led approach can be powerful. It gives project-based classes an "operating system" to organize around. Typically this gives better outcomes than individuals working on it because the client gets 4 good options instead of 40, which can be overwhelming and higher quality because of the design process. Thanks for the link. I'll pass it along to educators I know.

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Great analysis of the approach. I totally agree a design-led approach is more powerful

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Welcome to the Refinement phase Rana! 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
Team

Hi Rana and Lucy,

I hope you are having a nice day.

There are an idea from a previous challenge that you might be interested in looking at:

Go Between from our Food Waste Challenge - https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/financial-longevity/evaluation/incubator-club-for-credit-union-members . It is a crowdsourcing app to allow food-packaging designers to collect in-depth insights from users, in order to reduce food waste in households. It has a great example of prototyping and feedback.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Aziza Virani ! You might want to check out this post 'The Matchmaker' which is also connecting companies to students. They are interested in prototyping at University level.

Photo of Aziza Virani
Team

Hello Kate, thank you!

Photo of Rana Chakrabarti
Team

Hi Aziza Virani : thanks for stopping by.
Happy to chat further.
Warmly,
Rana

Photo of Aziza Virani
Team

Hello Rana,

Thank you!

Aziza

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Rana and team,

Welcome to 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 Rana Chakrabarti
Team

Hi Kate Rushton ,
First a big thank you !
Wouldn't be possible without you.
And yes, will reach out.
Warmly,
Rana

Photo of cyndi jeong
Team

Finding "real world" project for students to get involved with sounds grand.

Seems that if the company or proposer of the project could be involved with some of the discussion and be able to provide "real" feedback to the students, and clarify direction as a reality check during the "development" time, it would/could be a win-win situation. the Teacher/ professor and the company would hopefully be doing “progress checks” to make sure all is progressing toward the real goals, with the teacher being the mentor, facilitator, collaborator for all.

I could see that without this check-in, the students and company could be going in different directions. And if so, negates the purpose and goals of the project for both sides, resulting in disappointment (and wasted time and effort) for both – i.e. a failed project.

Results: the students via the teacher would have developed some well thought out hypotheses. The company would end up with some research and ideas for them to ponder which potentially could be put to a real implementation test. The students would have been a part of a valid project issue/ problem to solve, providing a true sense of value and accomplishment, worthy of their time and efforts.

Photo of Rana Chakrabarti
Team

hi cyndi jeong  - thanks for the post.
Completely agree !
Check-in and strong guidance from the professor and the "client" are essential to quality, useful results. Even if that result is simply deep learning for the students. That is why we see project-based classes as the pre-requisite for introducing design-doing into classes. With this comes the necessary scaffolding you mention.
Warmly,
Rana

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Rana and Lucy,

Great idea!

This is super comprehensive and in-depth. Would the companies be paying for use of the service or be able to offer the latest equipment to the Universities for the students to use during the projects?

The reason I mention is that Tyler Hughes mentions that the material and equipment he used during his undergraduate degree was outdated and not relevant to the real-world in his post What I Learned in Boating School is ... Old 

Photo of Rana Chakrabarti
Team

Hi Kate Rushton 

Thanks for looking up Tyler Hughes post !

Since this is still a concept we're looking to convert to a prototype, we haven't arrived at the point yet.I can however explain how we're thinking about it.

The goal of the matchmaker is to level the playing field for universities looking to introduce small real-world projects into their classes. For us it serves the greater purpose of giving students the necessary mileage in design-doing to deeply ground them in the discipline. This has the immediate advantage of creating more design-minded graduates, something that is in very short supply for industry in general

So I don't forsee this as a pure revenue generation opportunity. It's providing value outside of revenue and forcing revenue might simply stall it. However, I do forsee covering operational costs in the process of matching - e.g having an agency check credentials of both parties, keeping the lights on etc.

If we see that the matchmaker has a high flow-through, with a wide range of projects being offered and consumed, we can then explore if *some* categories of projects are generating revenue for the colleges. Remember, colleges want to be able to re-cast the problem for learning not solve it for industry. This takes away some of the revenue creation opportunity. I think this is a good thing, since capstone projects are typically revenue generating. We don't want to cannibalize that.

If we see that is the case, we will consider a fair percentage of the revenue earned for hosting the platform from these projects. But we expect there will be smaller projects from communities and non-profits which will never take this route, and nor would we want them to.

Long answer to a short question - do we intend to charge ? Depends :)

On the other question: Will companies offer equipment ? I don't expect so, since it raises the barrier of entry. Instead I expect the market mechanisms and feedback will handle that. Projects will flow to classes and colleges with better equipment encouraging others to upgrade their old equipment, if they don't want to be left behind.

Warmly,

Rana

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Rana Chakrabarti This is such an exciting way to get the Matchmaker idea into the world!

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Thanks Grant Chinn 

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As a student, I can attest to the value of working on industry related projects. It's a different dynamic that provides great opportunities for growth. The Matchmaker is a neat concept for tackling this challenge.

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Thanks Elmer Barrera : couldn't do it without you, Grant and Rahul. Have them join in.

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Lucy Chen : do take a look ?

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Hi Rana and Lucy,

Great to have you onboard! We noticed your post is currently unpublished. Was this your intention? We'd love to have it be included in the challenge. You can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your post by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top. We're looking forward to seeing your contribution in this challenge.