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Flip the script

Completely revamp the model by paying "students" to be part of higher ed consulting firms that work on real-world projects

Photo of Andrew Ciszczon
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Who is the target audience for your idea and how does it reimagine the cost of college?

The idea targets everyone. The cost problem cannot fully be resolved without addressing the value and the overall model. What if we had students working on real-world problems working alongside companies, government organizations and nonprofits or providing the necessary seed funds to start their own companies? Paying the students rather than having them pay completely flips the script.

Addressing this challenge from a pure cost standpoint will address a symptom of a larger problem. The value of higher education has decreased substantially with soaring costs and an end product that has not changed significantly over the last 50 years.

Many students graduate without the skills to handle living on their own and/or adapt to changing circumstances.  What's worse is that many more are graduating without the skills that employers truly find valuable or help them exceed in the workplace.

That is why udacity exists.

Employers aren't getting what they want or need. Students are coming to the workforce with minimal experience in the real-world and employers aren't leveraging that lack of experience to develop game-changing products, services or organizations.

Why are we waiting for them to contribute to society? Why are we asking them to pay even more for an outdated education? 

What if we paid them to contribute to society now? What if we used that lack of experience to challenge assumptions and solve problems in ways that many of us who have been in the workforce too long are capable of? What if we provided the platform for them to teach each other?

Let's create a platform for projects and ideas that truly challenge both students, organizations and society. 

Issues/Questions - sorry, no answers

how does this help lower income students? 

who pays the students? how much are they paid? 

how are the projects determined or obtained? 

how do you get buy-in from firms? other org's? 

what happens to the old model? teachers? research? institutions and campuses?

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

Recruit a group of high school students and a local forward thinking organization to collaborate on a project that helps either the organization itself or addresses a local social challenge such as hunger, poverty, etc. Interview the org afterward to determine what benefits they perceive to have received and interview the students on what they learned.

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

Filling the gaps. This idea is radical and it would be impossible for one team to not miss something. Modeling for different scopes, ideas for experiments. web development to assist with recruiting and storytelling.

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm
  • An OpenIDEO meetup
  • An Individual

Are you interested in the Path to Pitching track we've developed for this challenge?

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Joel Gingery

Hi, Andrew,
Nice idea!  It seems we think very much alike, at least comparing your idea with mine (It was never about (only) cost.)   It would be great to know your thoughts.

Photo of Andrew Ciszczon

Thanks Joel! We definitely think alike. As soon as I saw the name Steve Denning in your idea, I knew our mindsets were going to be similar. I love his Forbes articles.

I'm no systems thinking expert, but I totally buy in and it's clear that approaching this challenge from a purely cost standpoint is missing a larger and more profound opportunity to improve not just the product/service, but the community and perhaps even society as a whole.