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LifeLeap – Training the future – Connecting youth to real work to learn, find their passion, and earn money

Create a mobile platform to connect youth with project based work they can learn real job skills and earn money to support their families and education. In the way that oDesk.com connects employees to project based work we can connect youth to project based in-person to learn and make money. Working with youth in low income neighborhoods, many told stories of dropping out of high school in part because they needed to financially support their families, at the same time they are in need of experience and training to start their careers. Employers can receive entry projects and fresh ideas while youth gain real world experience.

Photo of Sergio Marrero
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Written by

Team: If you are interested in joining us email me at sergiomarrero1@gmail.com. We are looking for individuals willing to conduct prototypes and interviews in their area with youth to figure out how connecting them to real world projects would change thier life!

Also SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK! We have integrated from the comments people leave. Thanks again for those that contributed. Keep it coming!

How will it work?
Businesses -small and large, will post projects. Youth can browse the project opportunities on a phone or website and select the projects they are interested in. When youth complete a project they recieve money from the business that goes toward their tuition or/and support their family as well as feedback on how to improve.

Why do you think it might succeed?
Partnerships with businesses that have project based work are key to helping it succeed. Companies can post projects that can be completed virtually or they can post project work that needs to be completed in person. Teachers can follow the project based work they do to help connect them with the appropriate academic material to support their success on those projects.

Why mobile for teens to have access?
Secondary Research
One in 4 teens are "cell mostly" internet users (and love texting)
37% of teens who have smartphones and growing, up from 23% in 2011
91% of all people have cell phones
"cell phone is the most quickly adopted consumer technology in the history of the world"
(Pew Research Center, MARCH 13, 2013, Teens and Technology 2013)

Stories/Quotes from youth interviews
"I want something that I can use where I am...so I can look at it on the train" -Female, 20, Brooklyn, NYC
Insight: She wanted something portable

"Can I apply directly to the job?" (By multiple youth) 
"So they are offering jobs right now? They are hiring right now? [He started putting number in his phone]"-Male, 19, Brooklyn, NYC
"This would be so easy, to go on an app and apply."-Female, 20, Brooklyn, NYC
Insight: They wanted to easily connect to work opportunities

Jobs associated with Target Project Types
Retail Salesperson
Cashier
Customer Service Representative
Waiters and Waitress
Combined Food Prep and Serving Workers

Models of success / Potential Partners
http://samasource.org
https://www.odesk.com/
https://www.taskrabbit.com/
https://www.elance.com/
http://www.webanalyticsdemystified.com/ae/
http://www.theaccessproject.org.uk/
http://thegirlsnetwork.org.uk/
http://scripted.org

Where is this happening already?
Common jobs for high school students are retail part-time jobs including working at a store in the mall, at a larger retail outlet like Target, Kohl’s or Wal-Mart, or as a cashier at a local hardware store or small business.

Restaurant and food service jobs may include fast food restaurant workers, cashiers, waiters and waitresses, servers, hosts and hostesses, bus persons, banquet hall servers, or pizza delivery drivers. Also jobs at a grocer store.

Administrative and clerical roles as an entry to business was a central focus for groups as well.

Examples of companies being central in creating school is the Pearl-Cohn Magnet High School where record labels have partnered to create the only high school with a student-run record label partnering with Warner Music Nashville for distribution of recordings. This is an example of the type of partnerships we believe we can be more common for companies and communities if we connect students to project opportunities that are avaliable to gain real work experience. 

Additional directions to consider
Cross regional communication to share best practices (Uwe)

Prototyping / Testing
  • Creat a mock-up of the user interface, put the images on a phone, and have a youth swipe through it to provide feedback
  • Find a company (or companies) that want youth to complete small projects for them and facilitate that interaction between the company and youth.
  • Also find high school teachers interested in aligning project based work with school work and see how the system can support and connect to learning in the classroom.
  • Find a school interested in running an experiment, and use the platform(s) as a source for jobs to try. (Patrick)
  • Interview students, companies, and teachers and discover opportunities for innovation (more research)

Business Model / Sustainability
Companies will pay for projects to be completed by youth. The model can either be that they pay for each project depending on how much work it is or a subscription service. We may also be able to charge for connections to students that are meant to be recruited or data on the youth that best align with their project. These could be additional services that are charged for to sustain the group.

The project payment by the company can go to the school, a student, or a combination. We would take a percentage of the earnings to keep the platform running (similar to how www.kickstarter.com and the other models above work).

Constraints / Considerations
Internet access (wifi) and internet through cell phone carriers (Janet)
Computers or smart phones (especially outside the US)
Based on Fair Labor Standards Act, 14 years old is the minimum age for employment with limits on hours. After 16 it is less restricted.
For longer projects, between age of 14 to 16, there are several school breaks (10-11 weeks in the summer, 1 week in the spring, 1 week in the winter). (Cindy)

Additional Research
Pew Research Center, MARCH 13, 2013, Teens and Technology 2013
Primary interviews with youth, Brooklyn, NY, Summer 2013
Employment Spot Website
Recording Studio Magnet School
School Business Partnerships - Anchorage
San Diego Unified School District
Partners in Education

Who does this idea benefit, who are the main players and what's in it for them?

Youth, Companies, and Teachers. Youth that are completing the projects will benefit because they can choose work that aligns with their interests and skills, develop real job skills, and earn money that will help support their academics or families. Companies will benefit because they will get entry level project based work completed, identifying potential entry level hires for full-time opportunities, and getting fresh ideas from youth to help their business. Teachers are able to see youths interests, see feedback from companies, and incorporate into lesson planning to help prepare them for real world work.

How is your idea specifically increasing access to employment opportunities and pathways for young people?

Young people will get the work experience necessary to get an entry level job and build a career. They can partake in different projects in multiple areas of interest in order to define what industry or type of work they really like. They can also get the work experience that will influence what they choose to study in school and will help motivate them to excel. Finally, they will earn money to support there education! (School can be expensive!)

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

(1) Interview students, companies, and teachers and discover opportunities for innovation. More in the 'Prototyping' section in the body of the email.

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to receive from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

Skills/Input/Guidance Input: -Youth that are interested in work and developing this project -Employers that have entry level, project based work -Teachers that are willing to integrate work based projects into the classroom activities

The idea emerged from:

  • An OpenIDEO Meetup

How do you envision your idea being implemented?

  • Keen to prototype it, find partners and pursue implementation

96 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

All, I added a presentation to the group called 'Jobber: Matching Businesses with Local Talent' by Hikmetcan Bilici. He worked on a project that was very similar to this and I think its a perfect opportunity to share learnings and maybe even combine efforts! Please share your thoughts, check out the presentation. Hikmetcan, your awesome! Maybe we can support you in the future research/implementation. Look forward to your posts.

Photo of Hikmetcan Bilici
Team

Hi Team,

First of all I am happy to be part of such great cause. Unfortunately, we have not had a chance to Implement the project as of now. However, from our initial field interviews, we had interest from local small-mid business owners as the project was targeted more towards small-mid business owners.

Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

Do you have any audio/video from the research I can upload? Or quotes from students and business owners you can share? Just to get insight for the challenges and needs?

Photo of priyanka botny
Team

Sergio,

I am on this. EOD I must be able to make some progress!

Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Hi Sergio, my blog featuring how you will be planning to take LifeLeap forward is up. Check it out here!:
https://openideo.com/blog/youth-employment-challenge-community-ambassador-update-6

I'm looking forward to see what may come out of your work with the students at Pearl Cohn Entertainment HS!

Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

Great work very one. The idea did not advance but there are 22 great ideas still being developed in the competition. Let's help them evolve and make a greater impact!

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thanks Sergio for putting up the idea. It may not have advance to the next stage but it is still a great idea that we should pursue further.

I am happy to have you continue with me in the refining phase.

Photo of Megan Morrison
Team

Sergio, this was a great idea and though I ran out of time to contribute, I enjoyed the conversations and energy that it elicited. I hope it's pursued beyond this space!

Photo of Uwe Schn
Team

If you like we can followup on this idea with our collaboration tools. If yes please provide me your email address to us.public@me.com. I would send you the ID codes for it. BR UWE

Photo of priyanka botny
Team

Sergio,
The idea is honored! Did you see that?
We are all a great team. Without this great team there wouldn't be any idea. But we can still implement the prototype. Isn't it?

Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

Hey Pri, Lots of potential! I think there is more prototyping that can be done and research as well. I am helping some of the other teams refine now and after the competition is over will move back to work on this and see from the testing and research what it evolves to be. If you are interested feel free to email me as well at sergiomarrero1@gmail.com!

Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

Target: Student
1) Project Description
You: Provide a brief project description
Hi, my name is [your name] I am a part of a team working on a project for http://openideo.com. We are trying to understand how we might build better create employment opportunities and pathways for young people around the world? Can we have 15-30 minutes of your time to answer some questions?

2) Introduction
Tell me your name and a little bit about yourself?
Where are you from?
What do you like to do? (Gets them comfortable with talking with you)
What do you want to become when you grow up?
Who is your role model for your [career] dreams?

3) School Day
What does your school day look like?
What is your favorite part of the day? Why?
What is your least favorite part about the school day? Why?
(Dive into areas of deep interest or deep frustration)
Do you like school projects? Why? Why not?
What is your favorite type of project?

4) Afterschool
What do you do after school? Why?
What do you do on the weekend? Why?

5) Work
Do you work?
(if 'yes') What your work day look like?
Do you like your job? Why? Why not?
What kinds of things do you want to do in a job after after leaving school?
What are skills that you think are important for work?
(Ask questions to understand 'why' they think what they think)
Do you feel school prepares you for working?

4) School & Work
Do you feel school prepares you for work? Why? Why not?
How do you think school can better prepare you for work?

5) LifeLeap
If business make projects available to students to complete during the year do you believe it would be valuable? Why? Why Not?
Do you believe work projects can effect classroom learning? In what way?

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Interesting idea Sergio! Do you envision companies targeting youth specifically for the"projects" that they need help with? I would think companies would want the best people for the job. How will youth compete for the work? How will companies choose who will "get the job?" Will the work be available to anyone anywhere in the world, or do you envision this being a local program where perhaps youth are actually interviewed in real time before they get the job?
Do you envision teachers/schools as an active component of the work environment and team? If so will they be compensated as well?

It seems like you are in NYC/Brooklyn. Are the kids you spoke with in the public school system? Are you targeting specific communities? I work with at risk teens. It would be interesting to get their thoughts on this idea. Many do not have computers at home. Many are behind in school if they attend at all. I wonder what skills they can bring to the projects. Do you have types of projects in mind?
There are many possibilities here. Looking forward to seeing where this goes and putting the pieces together.
Good luck! Bettina

Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

Thanks Bettina,

So many great questions, here we go:

Do you envision companies targeting youth specifically for the"projects" that they need help with?
-Yes, I envision companies posting small projects that students can do (mini jobs)

How will youth compete for the work?
-Maybe based on past ratings, evaluations, profile information, maybe there can be a sequence to jobs so you need to do easier ones before you do harder ones. How do you think they can compete for work?

How will companies choose who will "get the job?" -> "get a project"
Up to them, they select them.

Will the work be available to anyone anywhere in the world, or do you envision this being a local program where perhaps youth are actually interviewed in real time before they get the job? (comments are related to getting a 'project' not a job)
-I think it can be, but realistically I think the first projects can and should be local and in person. I think with a project or task that someone has to complete I think to start it should be simple enough to do without an interview, just based on previous experience and profile. Check out www.taskrabbit.com, like that, for students

Do you envision teachers/schools as an active component of the work environment and team? If so will they be compensated as well?
-How do you think they can be apart of the active work environment? Should they be?
I think teachers can support project based learning, bring learning into the classroom and tie lessons with the learning, but I will leave that comment to the teacher, check out 'Linda's' comments below.

It seems like you are in NYC/Brooklyn. Are the kids you spoke with in the public school system? Are you targeting specific communities?
-I was testing a program with youth in Brooklyn NYC. They were all through a program with an organization called OBT (Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow), all considered youth from areas in need and at risk at some point (many were mothers who dropped out of high school or working young adults who dropped out)

Do you have types of projects in mind? (simple simple simple at first)
-do stores need to advertise? (fliers handed out? , ect.)
-do stores need things organized?
-do stores need things cleaned?
-do stores need phone calls answered?

Tasks that can be done in 1-4 hours would be my range at first. I think that is up to the employer. They seem super simple, but they reach responsibility, time management, responsiveness, ability to work with a client, ect. Many of the skills match the skills identified in the 'World of Work' program by the non-profit OBT as critical items to work on.

I would love to interview some of your students. If we provided a question guide would you be able to conduct interviews to share with the group! You can send me the file and I can post it! Would you do one?

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Thanks for the info Sergio. OBT looks like a great organization. I am a physician and currently my work is with at risk teens. Great to know about these organizations that might be resources for these kids. Will definitely share this one. I won't be at work for the next 9 days so won't have the opportunity there to do interviews. If I am around some teens elsewhere I can try to interview them. Is the question guide above?

Have you considered surveying parents of teens under the age of 18 on their thoughts about the idea? I wonder if they will allow their kids to go to different job sites if they are not certain exactly where/what/ who is involved. Thinking about safety...

Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

Updated: Question Guide (added questions from REHMAH)

Interview questions
Target: Young women
What do you want to become when you grow up? What are 21st Century skills? Who is your role model for your career dreams?

Target: Youth (male and female): Do you think that you will get a job after leaving school?

Target: Teachers: How best can the young women be supported to gain work-relevant skills? What resources exist within the schools that will support the project implementation?

Target: Parents and people living in the Community: How best can we support the young women during holiday breaks?

Target: Private Sector: Are there possibilities of taking in young women for internship placements

Target: Business people: Will you support young women t gain Skills Apprenticeship and Mentorship?

Target: High School Teacher
1) Project Description
You: Provide a brief project description
Hi, my name is [your name] I am a part of a team working on a project for http://openideo.com. We are trying to understand how we might build better create employment opportunities and pathways for young people around the world? Can we have 15-30 minutes of your time to answer some questions?

2) Introduction
Tell me your name and a little bit about yourself?
What do you do?
What does your school/work day look like?

3) Student Interactions
How do you interact with students on a daily basis?
What grades and ages?
What are typical teaching methods you use in the classroom?
Are there particular methods that are more effective than others?
Do you use project based learning in your classroom?
Do you believe it is effective? Why?

4) School & Work
How do you feel school prepares students to enter the working world?
How do you feel school can better prepare students to enter the working world?
Do any of your students work?
How do your working students differ from your students who do not work?
Do you believe there ways you think school and companies can better work together to prepare students?
If yes, can you describe how?

5) LifeLeap
If business make projects available to students to complete during the year do you believe it would be valuable? Why? Why Not?
Do you believe work projects can effect classroom learning? In what way?

Photo of Hikmetcan Bilici
Team

Hi Sergio,

The idea can be refined by taking other factors into account such as employee mismatch data and community training school referrals to be eligible to work at a desired location. For example, when someone scans/texts a barcode from an employers' location, the app can either create a match between the employer and employee or refer the employee to a community training school to be able to gain skills needed for the desired job. The app can also provide the most desired skills given the users mobile location.

Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

Thanks great. I know you mentioned you worked on a previous project, do you want to share that with the group, share any learnings and insight from it as well! Those sound like tech considerations. Do you want to draft some of those considerations and I can add it into the summary above?

Photo of Uwe Schn
Team

Hi Sergio, cool idea. I am working with a team on such a prototype for digital volunteering and the third sector. One of the pilot projects is a smart learning / mentoring program for pupils and teacher in south america. An other initiative that we are heading for with a corporate foundation in Germany is a open innovation platform for cross regional communication and best practice sharing in Germany. eg one of the largest logistic provider in Germany has developed a local program for pupils who can´t get a basic graduate but to get an apprenticeship place. Maybe we can link some similar ideas on openideo to co-create for more details. BR UWE

Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

Uwe, thanks for the post. There must be great things going on in Germany especially with the alignment of professions with the education system. I like the concept of an 'apprenticeship' model approach. I will post more details and I would love to hear your thoughts. What do you think about companies 'paying' for these projects to create a sustainable system?

Photo of Uwe Schn
Team

Hi Sergio, regarding the school modell : there are different organisations, foundations and institutions envolved. So on the one side the development of the model was funded, but also the later day-2-day operation. It was founded 2001. I just read that it is growing also internationally in London and also in Vienna. In Germany it is running in 19 cities. I will try to find out more about it in english, as I only have the pdf´s in german.

Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

Hey Uwe, feel free to share the PDFs (or if you have .doc even better)! I like the 'cross regional communication and best practice' idea. I will try to translate with google translate and see how I make out.

Photo of Uwe Schn
Team

Hi Sergio, you can find some more information about the "Hamburger School Model" at the following links. The key initiator is the owner of Otto Group, Germanies leading retail company http://www.otto.com/en/index.php

They started this initiative in 2001 and up to now it is established in 19 cities in Germany and also in UK and Austria.

http://www.kas.de/upload/dokumente/verlagspublikationen/Chancen_fuer_alle/Chancen_otto.pdf

http://www.rechtsanwaltskammerhamburg.de/KammerReport/2005/04_2005/Anlagen/HH_Hauptschulmodel.pdf

Regarding the cross regional communication I will send later on some information.

Photo of Uwe Schn
Team

I am not sure how I can upload a pdf to openideo - can anybody give me an advice? ;-)

Photo of Luisa Fernanda
Team

Uwe,
You can only upload files to your own idea by clicking on "upload file" at the bottom of the contribution form.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hi Sergio,

I like your idea and think we can collaborate further.

Alex

Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

Thanks Alex, Love your idea as well. I love your peer-to-peer approach. Any thoughts feedback on the concept? What could be better? Do you have a high school student you are connected with that the idea was inspired by?

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hi Sergion,
I am currently working with group of graduates and University finalists who are either jobless, doing internship or are part time business owners. This is the super team. We are getting to the University students pretty soon.

Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

Team,

We should conduct user interviews (students, teachers, and business owners) to test some of our ideas and research what would work for students, teachers, and businesses.

Can anyone conduct interviews? We can record them and add them to the page.

I spoke to Linda who is a teacher and I am going to interview her. Also if you are able to duct and interview let me know and I will post an interview guide so we ask similar types of questions.

Here is a draft of an email/communication we can send to people we want to interview:

I am doing a project on OpenIdeo.com: How might we build better employment opportunities and pathways for young people around the world? I/our team would like to interview you to understand how school and work can help prepare students to enter the working world. Would you speak with us for 30-60 minutes and share a little bit about yourself?

Let me know what you all think!

Photo of Uwe Schn
Team

We will need a common interview template that we can upload eg on survey monkey and put it online via facebook and linkedin. Additionally to our "private" networks where we can engage via email. Can anybody of the team contribute a 15-20 relevant question where we need an inpute or should be ideate together to define the questions?

Photo of priyanka botny
Team

Sergio,
Here are some details that I have for the team:

1. Businesses are very much interested to hire part-time contract workers. Their projects are complex, all that they can give is a full-time internship for students. What can we do about this?

2. Hult International Business School conducts 1 year MBA programs to professionals and as part of hands-on experience, they provide projects connected with Sephora (other companies in SF, Boston etc.) The students do not get paid for it. But gain the experience and the professor discusses the project and students are given credits.

3. Christ University, India gives credits for students for volunteering. I guess many universities do.

4. Our model is reiterated like this : Students work >Complete doable projects >Discuss at School> Learn, Relearn, Unlearn> Get paid/Get experience

5. Teachers at middle school are interested in taking children to virtual field trips, discuss real life problems and help them with life skills. But funding is the constraint.

6. Students are damn hungry to get knowledge, experience and get REWARDS in someway or the other.

7. A school that I have identified : http://www.sfbrightworks.org/
Gever Tulley, Founder is active on Facebook. You could connect to him. The school is different, extraordinary.

Let me know what you think? These are examples to explain businesses that have similar models. Teachers complain about funds. Students want it. Government does little. School is busy.

Thanks,
Pri

Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

Hey Uwe/Pri,

In the spirit of the human centered design process, I believe the research/interview questions should be open ended to see if we discover insights that we may not be aware of at the moment. I am using this material as my guide:
http://plusacumen.org/human-centered-design-for-social-innovation-course-materials/
Specifically:
http://plusacumen.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Class_2_readings.pdf

Under page 8-9 it talks about interviewing individuals and one of the bullets is 'capturing quotes'. Lets see what we discover from them.

We are not in the 'discover/research' phase but I think including open questions more open will help us as we evolve. Also being more open ended the research may be able to help other 'idea teams' as well.

This is not a proper interview guide, but here are some general questions geared toward teachers to help an interview flow. Feel free to comment with suggested modifications.

----
Question Guide
Target Interviewee: High School Teacher

1) Project Description
You: Provide a brief project description
Hi, my name is [your name] I am a part of a team working on a project for openideo.com. We are trying to understand how we might build better create employment opportunities and pathways for young people around the world? Can we have 15-30 minutes of your time to answer some questions?

2) Introduction
Tell me your name and a little bit about yourself?
What do you do?
What does your school/work day look like?

3) Student Interactions
How do you interact with students on a daily basis?
What grades and ages?
What are typical teaching methods you use in the classroom?
Are there particular methods that are more effective than others?
Do you use project based learning in your classroom?
Do you believe it is effective? Why?

4) School & Work
How do you feel school prepares students to enter the working world?
How do you feel school can better prepare students to enter the working world?
Do any of your students work?
How do your working students differ from your students who do not work?
Do you believe there ways you think school and companies can better work together to prepare students?
If yes, can you describe how?

5) LifeLeap
If business make projects available to students to complete during the year do you believe it would be valuable? Why? Why Not?
Do you believe work projects can effect classroom learning? In what way?
----

This is just a guide, but in each of the areas above if the individual brings up something they want to speak about particularly feel free to 'probe' on that area if it seems like an area of interest.

Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

Pri,

Questions related to your comments:
1. Are there simple projects that students can engage in that are not long term and complex? Example, would a business commit maybe $50 for a students to complete a small project, advertise, organize something, ect.?

2&3. My inclination is that businesses 'value what they pay for', but that does not mean they can not get credit as well. I like the idea. I will put it in the model above, although right now colleges are not involved (as the focus was high school students) so I am not sure how it complicates it. Great place idea.

4.Great breakdown of the model, I made a few changes, what you think?
Students work >Complete doable projects >Discuss at School (or Discuss while they work to influence projects, so it is actually parallel)> Students Get Feedback & Get paid/Get experience > Students work (again, entering a loop)

5.Can you provide a reference for this fact so I can include above? I love it. It may be what funding is geared towards... you may be on to something.

6. Again do you have some research (primary or secondary) to support this, I would love to include it?

7. ->http://www.sfbrightworks.org/
Great example, I will wrap in with the other notes... try to include the links to sources of info or quotes from students

Do you know any high school students you can interview? I can draft some questions like the guide above.

Photo of Rehmah Kasule
Team

Sergio, I did some interviews with students, youth out of school, teachers, parents and business people for my project CATHY, will share later. Today is really tight for me.

Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

Rehmah, that is awesome. Do you have any audio/video from the interviews? feel free to share via drop box or email and I am happy to post! sergiomarrero1@gmail.com Also any insights from the interviews you want to share?

Photo of Rehmah Kasule
Team

Sergio,
Some questions that I asked the Community, see what applies here, have to sign off...
1. Young women: What do you want to become when you grow up? What are 21st Century skills? Who is your role model for your career dreams?
2. Youth (male and female): Do you think that you will get a job after leaving school?
3. Teachers: How best can the young women be supported to gain work-relevant skills? What resources exist within the schools that will support the project implementation?
4. Parents and people living in the Community: How best can we support the young women during holiday breaks?
5. Private Sector: Are there possibilities of taking in young women for internship placements
6. Business people: Will you support young women t gain Skills Apprenticeship and Mentorship?

Photo of Uwe Schn
Team

Dear Team-Member,

I am "listening and contributing" with great interest the development of the idea from life leap.

During the last days I chatted with Sergio and we agreed to post the following content.

As I am new inside openideo, I am not sure what impact it would have, if we will win the challenge or if not what should happen after the challenge at openideo.

Here are some questions, where I would be very pleased to get some feedback from you:

• Together with my IT partners I own a functional collaboration hub. We use the platform to facilitate collaboration in different use cases at companies and customizing it to there workflows. We started 1,5 yrs ago with the question “how can we be change makers or game changer inside societal impacts?.” Currently we are transforming the source code of our platform to drive an innovative use case of co-creation in the third sector. It´s is all about communication-collaboration-education.
• While reading the idea of life leap, I can say that we can deliver about 80-90% of the technology needed to make life leap happen. But to bring life leap to real life with the right impact, life leap will need some invest of about min. 2-3 Mio USD on tech site and about 2Mio USD on organizational setup. To have the right scaling effect it might by a further investment of about 15-20 Mio USD. This is not an idea for a “liaison of volunteers” – we are talking about a global corporative infrastructure, nevertheless if this is a NPO or a “commercial corporation for social efforts”.
• We are currently acquiring projects, business angel and seed funding for our collaboration platform also in the USA. We are strongly in contact to some core UN agencies and other NGO´s/NPO´s around the world. Which might also be multiplications for life leap. ;-)
• Yes, I could upload our use case and the tech presentation to openideo, but then it´s is open/public and not IP-protected. ;-)
• Yes, I can solve with my tech partners most of the IT challenges beyond the case of life leap, also on “consultancy side”, as we are "home turf experts" in digital transformation and socio-technology change cases.
• If we should help, we can´t do this fully pro bono - for a real pro bono the case of life leap is too big and too complex. So what would happen after we would win the challenge - would we get seed money or grant from the Clinton Foundation or do we need to raise other funding to make the idea of life leap real.

I am not a Designer or IT Developer: I am Senior Expert in Innovation Mgmt, Collaborative Infrastructures and OrgDesign, Digital Transformation and Change Mgmt. I am working with large companies in my daylife, but also mentoring startups and acting in social projects as "skill-based volunteer".

Where should life leap start? There is many input and team setup from Northern America - few in Europe or Asia. Do we like to focus on the "US market" to launch it or should it be globally? Eg. Unemployment or employability of young people in industrial countries have different circumstances than in developing countries.

Inside Europe we have great challenges of youth unemployment in France, Spain, South Italy, Greece,… Some of these challenges can be solved by engaging the young people as “cloud workers” “knowledge workers” in projects which are spread all over the world.
The “salary” can be made by paypal, bit coins,….

Youth unemployment in Africa, India, South America,… has a strongly “face factor”. For some young people in these areas, it would help to get a sewing machine to be more productive.

That is why I asked you in an other post about a hybrid model of life leap and the idea “pop up bus and boat” from Leigh Cullum. It may consolidate the impact of initiatives for youth unemployment.

Sorry about this chaotic questions, but I would be very interested to understand where all this can / should go. ;-)

BR UWE

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Given collaboration is the name of the game here at OpenIDEO, we hope you might ump in on conversations here: https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/ideas/digital-work-for-out-of-work-workforce

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Reaching youth through mobile devices is a great idea, and I appreciate your giving them real world experience. Is there anything you might learn from a site like Kickstarter, which is in some ways the reverse of what you're proposing? Good luck with your prototype.

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Maybe partner with someone like ScriptEd (scripted.org) who trains highschool students on how to code so that they can get access to careers in tech? Hopefully the app could help these students find jobs where they can apply their newly acquired skills.

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Laura, that is great. I am going to add them as a partner on the page. I think tech skills are at a great need. Any other partners you believe I should add?

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Laura, thx for the contribution - it´s an important fact. How can we get some research on that, to get a list of similar organisations like scripted. So we can split between common mindset and homogenous initiatives: industrial countries vs developing countries, local vs global, face vs non-face,...

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Hi, I just thought of another one - Analysis Exchange does something similar with web analytics on a volunteer basis http://www.webanalyticsdemystified.com/ae/

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And these two are UK specific:
- http://www.theaccessproject.org.uk/
- http://thegirlsnetwork.org.uk/

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Thanks Laura, adding them in!

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Sergio,
I was thinking about http://www.fiverr.com/ I have a profile there for creating "Business Plans" but I have not received a ping from anyone because there are at least 10 people like me. How can I be unique with my passion and sell my service better if I use LifeLeap?

Can your design (mobile app) help people to view my service amid the plethora of like-service providing people?
I was thinking about "Collaborative consumption" - Check this out: https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/ideas/collaborative-consumption-market-for-youth

While I was taking up the Gamification classes by Prof. Werbach the above idea was one of the assignments I presented using the 6Ds of implementation. How we can use gamification to implement the model and engage customers and host services. Recently, I kept thinking about the impact created for individuals.
Thanks,
Pri

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Sergio, I like the idea, but does it necessarily need to be a mobile platform? I would think that creating a web-based platform that's available on mobile devices would maximize accessibility and penetration. You're already largely doing that, but I think focusing first on creating a viable web-based platform that's accessible on mobile devices, then a mobile app as you have described, may be a more effective way of implementing the idea. 37% of teens who have smartphones is still a minority, and although that percentage is increasing rapidly, I would imagine that demo is skewed towards teens who are financially better off/have better access to job opportunities already. In other words, I think you may be missing the portion of youth who would benefit most from your idea by focusing on a mobile pathway of distribution.

I go back and forth, however, so feel free to disagree - excited to see how this idea develops!

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Thanks Chris, Thanks for the feedback. I think a mobile app may be it for some youth, all of the ones I worked with in New York that lived in communities had a smart phone, those numbers I cited, although low are from 3 years ago and were the latest I could get. BUT to your point I think that if there is a text based solution, that would be the most accessible. The numbers last time I checked were 6 of 7 people had a cell phone or access to a cell phone in the entire world. Crazy. Anyway, I think text based is a good test to run. Going to speak to some students and see what they are doing. Either way, the US will be more advanced on average, it all depends on the first community we serve.

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Congrats on this post being today's Featured Contribution!

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Yeah! Great work everyone!

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Tip: to activate links in your post, hit the Update Entry button up there on the right, then follow the instructions here: http://bit.ly/oi_link  

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Thanks Meena!

Photo of priyanka botny
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Sergio,

www.studentcompetitions.com uses similar idea for competitions. I personally got International experience because of the opportunities listed on this site as a student.

I am using games as a "Life Desk" to connect, get experience, solve problems, get paid for rewards in the arena. Check this out : https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/research/a-game-that-helps-read-problems-answer-complex-problems-using-design-game-thinking-and-helps-gain-skills-necessary-for-employment

The challenge at OpenIdeo is a single problem and the ideas, research are brilliant and looks like we all must collaborate and work. Looking forward to learn more!
Thanks,
Pri

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Hey Pri, Love it. Left a comment on your page. Connecting students to jobs is definitely a challenge, they use indeed.com, craigslist, monster.com, but for students in low income communities just starting out, during my research (Conducted over 100+ interviews and observation sessions with youth) even some of the entry level jobs on those databases are not entry level enough so they still near soft skill development and specialized training at times (we were working with a non-profit training for medical administrative assistance certification). Part of my impetus to break down to smaller units of work (projects) that they can complete. But I also think if they could browse jobs near them, that is great and they would value looking through jobs near them as well.

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Also let me know if you would be interested in being added to the team! Would love your thoughts as we keep going through this process.

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Sergio,
I am loving the specificity of your idea and it's potential for impact. I can't wait to learn more about the user interviews you are conducting. As you keep on fleshing out this idea and putting the end user at the center of the process, you might want to sketch out a User Experience Map to help you think through how young people will find out about the app, what feature would be most useful to them and how does success look like.

Check out this post by one of our community champions and this great tool by Acumen

https://openideo.com/blog/preparing-for-my-womens-safety-challenge-prototype-2

https://s3.amazonaws.com/oi2-openideo-rwd-prod/attachments/2c911d636249657916fa23d17adb57358385faeb.pdf

You might also want to check out the following ideas which overlap with yours and think of ways to join forces, collaborate and share learnings:

https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/ideas/network-academe-relationships-are-often-the-key-to-success-shouldn-t-everyone-have-equal-access


https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/ideas/get-a-job-based-on-your-daily-routine

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Hello Luisa,

This is great. I read the other profiles and I think there are great learnings and would be great to combine forces! I think the ability to match students to the best project is powerful, going to think about how to incorporate those learnings.

I think the experience map is a great next step for our team. We will post what we are thinking when we complete it... Thanks again for the links and the resources!

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First off, I really love this idea.

I can see this school model as being particularly effective by focusing on STEM education. From a funding perspective, many for profit companies would be eager to invest in the STEM pipeline. The US workforce is ill-equipped to meet the demands of the high-tech economy. This would also be an opportunity to invest in women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups, which would ultimately benefit the companies. I'm sure it would fit in with many existing corporate social responsibility agendas. This could totally be feasible. Looking forward to see you refine this more.

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It's certainly strongly needed in the STEM area. Math and science are often the hardest to connect to the "real world" (at least when you are a teenager) - especially in the upper levels when it becomes more abstract/harder to visualize. A potential roadblock I see in this model is the following: Because we , as a country, are generally weak in the STEM area, would employers be interested in work from high school level students? Would they trust it to be high quality? And in turn, would we have enough demand for the social change impact to be significant enough? And if the answers to these questions are currently "no", how do we change them to "yes"?

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In response to the first question, it is definitely a concern that would need more research and refinement. I'd like to see a school model like this from K-12. I think students even at a very young age can participate in real world projects. For example, my 5th students took part in playtesting an app for kids. It was very exciting for them to see the design process in action. Students that have this many years of exposure to coding can create very professional work. My initial thoughts are that students will also require a great deal of guidance.

Can you say more about the second question? Sorry, I don't think I understand it completely.

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I'm curious about that! What did the students learn from the experience? And how were you able to integrate it into your curriculum?

I have a dumb question, in return to your question - do you mean my question about trusting in high quality? If so, what I mean is, if I'm a business paying students to help me with work, I need to know they're going to do a good job. How will I be reassured that I'm getting what I paid for? And how would we get a critical mass of businesses to believe that in order to make this work?

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Full disclosure: we did that in the afterschool space. We had spent time thinking about the design process. However, there are engineering objectives in the NGSS that include "defining a problem; generating (aka brainstorming), designing, and evaluating solutions; and finally optimizing the solution." Essentially, the most important thing kids learned was the iterative nature of design. They also got to playtest Blockly for some Google engineers and see the improved version a year later which is what is now on the code.org website. They didn't gain any content knowledge, per se, but they did gain valuable process experience. And ultimately, those students viewed "failure" different and really approached problems fearlessly.

I re-read your question and got it finally. Haha. Would there be enough demand for students' services to create enough social impact for youth?

Hmm... I don't know. Web development immediately comes to mind. There are many small businesses that have needs there. I feel like students will have to create some sort of portfolio. How does any company ensure that they satisfied with a freelancer's work? There will definitely need to be oversight/ supports in place to help set kids up for success.

I feel like this idea needs to be combined with Libby Falk's Change, the Game. This is how students can demonstrate their skills. https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/ideas/change-the-game

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Hey Erica, Thanks for all the comments. I really like your comment 'I think students even at a very young age can participate in real world projects'. I believe this is true, the question is how to structure it differently for younger students as those below 14 are not supposed to work, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act, but that does not mean that we would not work with younger students, I believe the impact would be great. I believe initially our focus would be 14+, up to seniors in high school before extending to younger students, but it is the next frontier I believe.

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We are looking for high school students to interview over Skype or googlehangout...

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Uwe / Linda,

I added some of the research to the page and updated it. Let me know if there are any other examples you would like me to add.

Linda - if you want to add language around teachers, just let me know
Uwe - If you find the details around the international restrictions for youth working or any international factoids/considerations, just let me know and I will add it to the page.

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Thats a great idea. I think the biggest barrier is to persuade schools to join such projects from commercial companies. Most schools barely have the resoures to teach all their lesson plans required by government. So integrating such practial projects definitely requires an open minded school. Of course it is the best way for young people to learn, but the government must provide the flexibility for their schools. So would you want to integrate the projects into the schoolday or just offer it to the young folks in after school hours?

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Dear Kai, your statement about the "biggest barrier" is correct - especially for schools in the german speaking area and France. I believe it is not so critical for rest of Europe and USA.

One of the key success factors might be not to address schools "from the governmental" side. It is more about the intrinsic motivation of the teacher and the parents to support their children, building up working groups and teams,...
On the other side to bring the all this for the young people on the "gaming level" and not that it is sth what is dominated by the school environment. Schools should be more ambassadors, facilitators and multiplicators rather then "initiative owner".

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Hey Kai, Great question! That is exactly why we have a teacher on the team. I think there may be creative ways and new challenges we will face in terms of integrating with school and classroom learning. One item that came up was reducing workload for teachers' and the question of whether this 'would this increase the workload?'. I think that if there is a financial incentive, meaning part of the money maybe can either go to schools, that may be an idea that could drive participation and alignment, but that is just an idea, we have to interview some teachers and administrators to get more insight into how to set that up seamlessly.

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Kai, do you have any ideas for how to incentivize schools and teachers to engage?

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Sergio, the project offerer (eg company) could split the "salary" x% should be paid to the young people, y% as a donation to a school fund. so the school can invest in eg a new chairs in class rooms, sports hall, pupil events,...

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....I don't believe that reducing the workload of the teachers would work, because there are to many regulations by the governments and the labor unions. Some of my friends are teacher and they told me that in last years there workload extremly raised because of the PISA programm from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment. If we would made it, eg with the support of the Bill Clinton Foundation / Clinton Global Initiative, to link our ideas to the OECD initiative, that would be extremly helpful, to create a real impact. ;)

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Do you have information on those regulations? It would be great to post and share. I am definitely think its important to keep in mind. From the workload perspective, I was saying that reducing workload would incentivize teachers to use it, but the primary goal is creating employment opportunities/pathways for youth.

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Project based learning is a new teaching tool that is being heavily touted and although I certainly believe in its benefits, as a teacher it can be very difficult and timely to create an execute a project in the classroom. If I was able to pair with a business it would actually reduce the pressure on my shoulders and increase the value of the project. Work smarter, not harder :)

I think the question of during the school day or after-school would have to be handled school by school - and what it would really come down to ultimately is transportation availability and scheduling for that particular school.

I know in our school specifically we have four 90 min blocks, end at 2:05 and then another late bus at 5:15. So we would be able to accommodate both during and after school depending on what the project needed - another school may only be able to do one.

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Great idea! Youth with the need or desire to work while in school is typically hired for jobs with no correlation to career development. A program like this would help to connect youth to career exploration opportunities earlier. Have you given any thought to a "company" (as defined in your model) being a higher education institution? If this was an option, the youth involved in this program, can earn money, work experience and exposure to academics. The latter would likely have a positive impact in sending more youth down the path of higher education. Higher education institutions can also "recruit" from this pool of students and get work completed (to include research projects support) from these students for less.

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I think utilizing schools as a potential company is a great idea, that will be the easiest in terms of aligning the 'schools' and 'employers' and we could actually be a recruiting mechanism to find good talent. I think the 'school' would focus on the high school instead of the undergraduate focus, but the link between the two to develop a pipeline is great. I wonder how more rural or lower income communities around the world without access to the higher education communities near by may engage, my guess they will choose projects near regular businesses, but it does beg the question, what can be done to help high school students continue onto college or is that a different problem.

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This is a great idea! I like the project-based approach to learning and developing career skills. It is both practical for long-term professional development and it's addressing an immediate need by being a source of income for low-income youth. Question and suggestion: From a market research standpoint, have you looked into how this mobile application will be received within this demographic? In other words, are we taking into considering potential limitations with technological resources? It would be interesting to see how much/little mobile devices have been adapted/used within this demographic.

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Thanks for the support!

About 80% of my students are classified as economically disadvantaged - though many may not have internet access at home, the overwhelming majority have a smartphone with internet access.

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Hey Janet, Great question. Working with high school students in Brooklyn, NY most of them had a smart phone and to my surprise, over half had tablets. I was blown away. It was a small group, but representative of the population we are targeting serving. The biggest challenge I would say, relating to 'limitations to technological resources' was not the hardware, but the service, because the service is expensive. Some could not afford to keep the device on and would only use wifi, making there way to use the wifi at the McDonalds next store during breaks to reconnect. Pretty amazing. Thanks for the great point. I will add it to the profile of the idea to make sure we capture and track the technology limitations! Keep the thoughts coming!

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You are all right : technology limitation is a big challenge.

I have had yesterday a dinner with the former EVP HR Operations from DHL. They are supporting since several years the SOS Children´s Villages in about 40 countries. He visited some children´s villages in India and was extremly suprised that most of the young people have smartphones and notebooks.

He gave me the advice to differentiate between the challenges of employment opportunities in industrial and emerging countries:

Inside emerging countries it might be interesting to bring the openideo way on a mirco level: To ask young people or a group of young people "What do have in your box?" - an old 386er PC, different parts of a bike, wood, ... and to ideate in the crowd how they can transform out this a mini-business (products, services,...)

Inside industrial countries it might be interesting to talk to the mobile service providers, if they would provide special packages for people in low-income areas.

I´m not talking about better prepaid offerings. The MSP´s should donate "minutes and bytes" linked to "LifeLeap-Projects". ;-)

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Sergio,
Great idea. Are you going to do this as a social enterprise? How would you see this play out for sustainability. What kind of projects would the youth do on their phones?

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The phones is where they can browse and select projects, but they would have to go to the business to do the actual project in person or we can help curate virtual work like oDesk.com does, but I think we should start in person, but that is my assumption. I think we can run a quick test to see what companies need/value first.

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For sustainability we would need to charge an administration fee from handling the payment from companies or we can probably get creative and consider membership fees or recruiting fees for businesses. Right now I was using other companies and arrangements as models, but we are planning to interview businesses to get a sense of what they would find valuable.

I think a model were they can post a project for free and advanced features to filter or find candidates using more information they could pay for, but I think that is down the road, the core assumption to test: will jobs pay students to complete short term projects? If so what kind of projects? How can we develop a tool/center to facilitate this?

Photo of Meena Kadri
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Great thinking, Sergio. Have you checked out Samasource for some inspiration ? http://samasource.org Could be some good learnings from their approach. Could also be interesting to interview potential end users (youth + companies) to learn more about their needs and motivations as you evolve your thinking further. Lots of potential to grow this idea...

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Hello Meena, I have heard of Samasource.org, they are great. I will research more about them to integrate some learnings

Photo of Meena Kadri
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Nice one, Sergio. And we're guessing Task Rabbit may have some valuable lessons as well.

Photo of Meena Kadri
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Another tip as you continue to grow your idea: Perhaps you might consider helping people better grasp how this idea could play out by describing some example scenarios which describe user journeys through some of the proposed activities you've outlined. Check this example: http://www.openideo.com/open/e-waste/concepting/neighbourhood-e-waste-champion/ where a few simple scenarios were created in an attempt to explain the goodness on the idea in a human-centered way. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

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Sergio,

For more sites like Samasource, there's a huge list of microwork or crowdsource sites that was compiled on Quora.

http://www.quora.com/What-are-some-crowdsourcing-services-similar-to-Amazon-Mechanical-Turk

One or more of those platforms could provide you with an easy way to test your idea: find a school interested in running an experiment, and use the platform(s) as a source for jobs to try. I imagine you could learn a lot about the worker side of the equation—how to do it a classroom setting, overseeing the work, necessary teacher support, etc.—without having to drum up the companies and projects, too.

Nice work!

Patrick

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Great thinking on a lightweight prototype, Patrick – and thanks for the awesome list of aligned sites!

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Thanks Patrick, this is great. Linda and I were talking today about how to run smaller tests with students and teachers. Right now we are interested in running small tests and conducting user interviews with single students to gain more insight into what would work and see what they are doing today. Linda even said that her school has partnerships with companies in the area already so helping make the project post and selection process may be a potential benefit for partnerships already in place. ... Lots to learn, Excited about prototyping and putting it in place. Also I did not think about the difference between 'project based work done in a classroom' vs. 'project based work done at a job site' until I read your question.

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Great to hear, Sergio! And as you continue – i thought you might like to check out these prototyping tips if you haven't already: http://ideo.pn/pr0t0type

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I teach in an under resourced high school. Many of the challenges we face stem from issues within the community that we do not control and feel powerless to change. A platform like this would not only provide a service to businesses while educating students, but also could empower young people to change and shape their community. Furthermore, because the content we're required to teach in school is often disconnected from their day to day reality, this type of opportunity could also engage our youth in a positive, productive experiences.

The potential of this vision excites me!

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I agree! Totally exciting. As a fellow educator, I see the potential to make real world connections and the ability for students can gain practical soft skills in writing and presenting the ideas. Kids want to know how the content applies to real life. Oftentimes, the most important question is: why is this important?

Photo of Tim Okazaki
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Nice idea Sergio.
I feel it's also important to teach how to interact with clients to identify or refine the understanding of a problem so workable solutions can be formulated.
I wonder if this type of interaction is within scope of your idea.

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It is. Thanks for the comment. I am going to add more detail, that is great.

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Hi Sergio, interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story with higher impact. You should be able to use the Update Entry button on the right of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. We know occasionally people have issues uploading images so let us know by hitting the Feedback button at the bottom of most pages of our site if you face any problems. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.

And here's some tips on adding visual goodness to your idea: http://ideo.pn/vis-uals plus more on evolving your thought-starter: http://ideo.pn/oi-evolve

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Thank you! I will add an image soon!