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SenseiHub.com: a talent marketplace for the on-demand sharing economy

Through SenseiHub, users at enterprises like Verizon, HCL, Wharton Equity Partners instantly offload work to PhDs, MBAs, Undergrads at universities around the world. Students leverage local resources- professors, labs, libraries, databases, peers to deliver a high quality work product. Students gain valuable experience and get paid. Enterprises get quality work, brand recognition and future business leaders.

Photo of Aditya Sudhakar
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Written by

I launched SenseiHub in Boston because of  a need I had myself at school and then at work. I've always been interested in industry university partnership. Universities have fantastic resources that industry can leverage. 

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

This benefits enterprises (corporations and non profits) students (Undergrads, Grads, PhDs, MBAs) and recent alums.

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

Because engagements are short and handled remotely, we reduce the cost, hassle and risk. Enterprises are more willing to take a chance on a student and vice-versa.

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

SenseiHub.com is live and we have paying clients. We're far from the finish line though and are working hard to make more projects happen more frequently. Whether you're a registered non profit or for profit, hundreds of students are keen to get started. Do get in touch at adi [at] senseihub [dot] com.

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

I'd love to receive all ideas, input, guidance. The more honest the feedback, the better! Some specifics: 1) There are gaping holes in the marketing department: Press, Social and SEO 2) Much improvement can be made to the website: Pop-up help wizard for 1st time users, UX, A/B testing, back end automation, etc.

The idea emerged from:

  • A group brainstorm

How do you envision your idea being implemented?

  • Keen to prototype it, find partners and pursue implementation

21 comments

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Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

Great concept, have you considered high school students, lower income schools, communities in need?

Photo of Aditya Sudhakar
Team

Sergio, I would love to do that (I saw that that is what you're working on). It's unfortunately been hard enough to convince enterprises to work with Harvard and Stanford students. I'm hoping to be able to build a brand first and definitely move into those markets. Maybe there's a another way.

Photo of Cindy Toh
Team

Agree with Sergio, there is a huge opportunity to extend it to a larger pool of students, and they do not necessarily need to be from harvard or stanford.

I was fortunate to be offered such work/project opportunities while i was in school. The ability to work on actual products and events make the learning so much more meaningful and realistic. The opportunities came from the lecturers' personal contacts, which means projects are few and sporadic.

In the previous organizations i worked with, I approached my ex-polytechnic for students to work on a medical e-book project. The lecturer swiftly gathered a team for us. We provided the content and the students would work on the graphics/animation and content layout. The output was great and at a fraction of the cost if i had used a design house or publisher.

For university students, we offered them to conduct a health awareness research. The students conducted the field surveys and shared their analysis (though the project was caned midway due to unforeseen circumstances).

You could possibly look at different type/level of tasks to match with the appropriate level of students. For example, a firm is looking to celebrate its 10th anniversary with a big celebrations. Students taking event management could be brought in to plan and run the event together with the firm, students taking public relations and communications can be roped in for PR and social media efforts.

Hope this helps ;)

Photo of Aditya Sudhakar
Team

Cindy, all great points! Who do you recommend reaching out to in an enterprise? How did you get their attention? How did you get them to keep the ball rolling after you finished your conversation with them and they got distracted with their everyday work?

Photo of Cindy Toh
Team

It would vary based on what the students can offer and what the organizations need. Perhaps you want to consider grouping your offerings into categories, e.g. Research (Surveys, Focus Group, Consumer Trials, etc), Design & Animation (logo, advertisements, etc), Event management, etc. The event management task can be pitched to various audience ranging from the corporate communication team, marketing team or even the HR team.

in terms of keeping the ball rolling, it would be mutually beneficial to sum up the working experience with some feedback/review. Not only does this help them to recollect their "good/bad" experience, it can help others to make their decision on engaging students. I personally think Email newsletter are not dead and are still vital communication piece where you can remind your audience of your presence and offerings. ;)

Photo of Aditya Sudhakar
Team

Thanks Cindy, appreciate your thoughts and help : )

Photo of Liz Duffy
Team

Congratulations on launching a great service. Many successful companies start with founders trying to solve their own needs --e.g the founder of LLBean was sick of getting his feet wet when fishing. It seems like your trying to solve your own problem may have helped to launch another successful enterprise. Good luck.

Photo of Aditya Sudhakar
Team

Thanks Liz! : )

Photo of Tony Gross
Team

Very cool and much needed.

Photo of Aditya Sudhakar
Team

Appreciate it Tony!

Photo of Arpitha Shetty
Team

Great idea, Aditya and great comments here!

Connecting university students to enterprises is a great start. A platform like this has a potential to expand to youths outside of universities as well to give them the unique experience and open up employment opportunities.

Look forward to seeing how SenseiHub evolves!

Photo of Rehmah Kasule
Team

Hi.
Great idea, check out what TechnoServe does, they have a paid Internship PROGRAM: http://www.technoserve.org/our-work/stories/supporting-enterprising-women-with-training-in-uganda

Photo of priyanka botny
Team

Aditya,
I guess you are trying to convey the idea of "shared economy". Here is some build https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/ideas/collaborative-consumption-market-for-youth and also you could follow some tips for presentation mentioned by Meena and others for the page.
I think your idea is a working project as of now?
Thanks,
Pri

Photo of Aditya Sudhakar
Team

Priyanka thanks for writing in and pointing me to those resources. Yup, we're open for business!

Photo of priyanka botny
Team

Aditya,
What I meant was that the collaborative consumption work space needs to be defined well. What are those specific activities that your stakeholders will perform?

I tried my hands on the 6Ds proposed by Kevin Werbach fromWharton on Gamification and I am using the concept in the shared economy. Please let me know about the key activities conducted at your company?
Thanks

Photo of Luisa Fernanda
Team

Aditya,
Interesting idea. I particularly like how the initiative leverages existing resources in colleges and universities.
What would you like to do next with this idea? What are challenges that you are facing that we can all help you look at? What are new directions that you would like to try with this idea through this challenge?
Also it might be helpful to do a user scenario to get a sense of how young people find, use and change based on their interaction with this platform,
Check out this great post for some tips on how to do a user scenario:
https://openideo.com/blog/community-prototyper-storyboards

Photo of Aditya Sudhakar
Team

mm, Priyanka you lost me! Students work on projects that users at enterprises give them (marketing, research, innovation). SenseiHub is a broker that connects enterprises with students. Was that your question?

Luisa, thanks for writing in. There's a lot that needs to be done. I have hit a marketing and technology wall, any ideas in either department will be amazing.
I've found that students like the idea (many sign ups). Enterprise sales though takes time (legal, HR). I'll check out the link you sent, thanks!

Photo of priyanka botny
Team

Aditya,
Are you using the shared economy work space to complete tasks? Say a Ph.D from America needs to conduct surveys in China and a students in China do the survey on his behalf and gets paid by the broker company SenseiHub?

Photo of Aditya Sudhakar
Team

The enterprise requesting the project pays the student. They also pay SenseiHub a fee.

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great to hear you're open for "all ideas, input, guidance" :^) Here's a few suggestions to start maximising input from others here:

You might consider outlining some really clear asks in the section of where you'd like help from the OpenIDEO community – and as Luisa suggests – digging deeper on some of the challenges you've faced could be helpful there too.

Unfortunately our site does't current make links active in the text you enter on the submission form questions (we're working on it for a future release :^) Meanwhile – could be useful for you to add the link for SensiHub to your pots's Description area where you are able to format and add links. (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 )

And as an inspiring example of someone else who's leveraged our OpenIDEO community to further build their *existing* idea – check out the conversations that flourished here: http://bit.ly/189B2VU

We also hope that, with your experience in this domain & our focus on collaboration, that you'll join conversations across the challenge to help others strengthen their ideas as well. Looking forward to seeing more of you on OpenIDEO!

Photo of Aditya Sudhakar
Team

Meena, thanks for all the input. Check, check and check. Some fantastic work and energy! Dropping character count would really help guide users communicate their ideas succinctly (5000 is too many in the twitter age, just my opinion)!