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pizza for everyone_update 2 - 12/4

breaking down the services for the students to choose from and an opportunity for the colleges to improve on

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

Admitted students and colleges The services offered by a college are charged as a whole. like the library, gym and other amenities. not all use them. When the student is left to choose what he wants with the resulting price reduced, one can at least save some of it. The other being finding the right match between online and classroom teaching.

                                Digital Prototype   -

    Our idea is simple. Take out all the extras and you are left with a basic educational plan. we are targeting the students who are fine with just getting a degree if it means a reduction in tuition.

    With the plain pizza being the basic plan and you add the amenities you want as toppings with each making necessary changes in the tuition. This puts the power in the hands of the student to choose from and the financial freedom needed. The colleges get valuable instant feedback to make better use of allocated funds.

    The other being online learning. This doesn't seem to stand on it's own. One thing we've observed is the lack of proper discussions and time for the students to get their doubts clarified. So integrating online teaching with classroom experience, divided into a certain ratio as 3 to 1 for example, where for every three online classes there will be a class with the professor to discuss things they didn't understand or have doubts about, we can significantly reduce the cost.

    Education has become more than just exchange of information among intellectual beings, so we are trying to bring it back for those who need just that. 

    This doesn't mean no fun! One can always find a way in the outside world.

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

gathering information about all the things tuition goes into and testing on students by designing a prototype app or online surveys to see if students are interested in it and benefit from it.

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm
  • A student collaboration


Join the conversation:

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Interesting idea Akhil and team (and congrats for being a featured idea). Your idea also resonates well with some of the insights from the research phase which suggested that for some people the full experience was not worth the cost, and suggested that focusing on the educational / academic experience was what mattered for some (at least that's how I interpreted it).

Gavin (in his comment) is right to note that not all higher education institutions might be interested but some might be. It is important for you to think of what would be the incentives for a university to offer such an option: how to increase the diverse pool of students for example? Universities are key stakeholders for this idea to succeed so you need to find out the incentives that can motivate them to create such options.

I think you might also want to try to see how much people do currently use the services offered (you can do quick interviews with your friends and other students at NYU and in other universities). For me an analogy would be: people who live in big cities like New York, London, or Paris (to name some where I lived) often say that they like big cities because of all the cultural opportunities it offers, but often time people would admit that they rarely go to the theatre, the museums, etc. At least much less than they "could". This is what you want to figure out: how much do people are really using the services?
You might realize that in fact they do use these services more than you thought...
You then want to explore whether there will be willing to pay "a la carte" rather than the full university menu.

Ways to prototype would be to develop different "menus" (it can be with paper) and show it to various students and see which one they would want to select.
The "menu" analogy seems to work well but you could also use different types of credit card: basic, diamond and golden (or you could use "academic only", "academic and gym", "the full experience" or "deluxe experience"). These are things you could also experiment with: what are the analogies that work well?

To Gavin's point about communication: I guess the idea is not to communicate it as you're paying for the new stadium, but just "are you using any of the gym facilities"?

Different though related ideas would be:

I also think that the model experimented by MIT is an interesting one:
Maybe one slice of the pizza could be online?

I also think it would be great if you could try to articulate your idea further by developing an experience journey (with probably different options). This would help community members but also it might help you when you try to get feedback from other students.

Looking forward to seeing your idea evolve.

Photo of Alper Ekmekci

Hi Anne-Laure and Gavin,
Thank you for detailed feedbacks. They've helped our persona, user experience and prototyping stages. We actually began testing our prototypes' of Team's two main ideas of 'Get Paid' ( and 'Pizza for everyone' today. First we created a persona, experience map, screenshots and developed the rest accordingly. We thought that combining these two ideas in one application/website platform ease our process in conducting the idea to our target personas.
First impressions from our first adopters (mostly Brooklyners studying at NYU) are definitely promising. They highlighted that this is a untempted and absolutely different approach to our tuition and credit-based payment system. They're looking to use and save some money through this. The only concern of our interviewees is, as you also pointed out, its' integration with the college's system. As another big stakeholder of this idea, we'll surely check the regulation and the stance on this innovative idea. If any of the openideo members has a strong connection/view on college admission or bursar office who's willing to contribute to the advancement of the 'pizza for everyone' idea, you're more than welcome!

Photo of Shannon Holloway

Thanks Anne-Laure and Gavin,
I think it's a great point that universities rely on their amenities for prestige to attract quality students. The analogy of living in a big city for the cultural attractions but not having enough time to go to them really hits home for me! I agree that getting stakeholder buy-in for this idea may be tricky and requires more research on their motivations. One incentive would be offering real-time analytics on the use of resources to optimize university budgets and offerings. Up to this point our focus has been mainly on the student experience and definitely could use more experience mapping on the university administrative side. Thanks again for the valuable feedback!

Photo of Shane Zhao

Fantastic to hear team, we're looking forward to seeing the Experience Maps and early stage prototypes!

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