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Innovation Centre: Fresh Ideas for Success by Youth for Youth

Innovation Centre is a University affiliated Nutrition Leadership, Mentorship and Business Incubation project targeting to reach at least 196 University students of age 14-28 years in Uganda during its 18 months pilot. The centre will address employment and leadership gaps in the youth by providing the youth in and out of University with employment, business skills, leadership training, coaching, mentoring, peer and employer networking opportunities. The centre will also build the capacity of the youth in social marketing and social change for improved community health and development. Whereas we desire to roll out the project to high schools and vocational training institutions, we will start with the Universities for the prototype.

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Updated and detailed description of the Innovation Centre

The centre is designed to build and capitalize on individual strengths, develop their 21st century skills, provide them with resources and support with the goal of empowering take charge of their own long-term professional growth. The centre’s strategic approach will use an innovative and experiential learning methodology that will inspire, equip and skill youth to ignite their self-discovery, confidence and self-esteem, leadership, communication, cognitive skills, critical thinking, innovation and inter-dependence (team work) for them to confidently and competitively enter the global economy and job market as employers or employees. Notwithstanding the employment, the centre will energize the desire of the youth to make the world a better place by giving them skills for social change and social marketing.

The centre’s theory of change therefore is that as a movement of inspired, active, skilled and engaged youth is built, their thinking, feelings and vision will be framed to confidently take charge of their lives, build strong partnerships for collective actions towards community development while creating income earning opportunities for themselves. Our theory of change also has it that because of the inspiration gained from the mentors from the centre, the youth will also follow the suit and get to inspire other youth in and out of University as mentors and coaches.
 
Burua, a student of BSc. Human Nutrition and Dietetics user experience map:
At the centre, mentors will guide the youth through an innovative, fun filled experiential curriculum in socio-economic empowerment and transformation.

The centre will link the selected students to organizations and companies for  a six month internship to gain practical employment experience and mentorship by experienced host organization/company mentors.

To gain skills in social change and social marketing for improved nutrition and health of communities, each youth in the centre will conduct outreaches to at least ten households. In the outreaches the youth will provide social change interventions including behaviour change messages and health and nutrition products such as water guard, food stuff, etc. This way these teams of professionals will learn how to support the country to address increasing nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) challenges. The centre will our sister team's Pop Up Bus model for community outreaches.

Through the centre the youth will have access to information, space and resources to actualize, launch and grow their businesses, increase their earnings and create new jobs in their communities. The centre will also work with various financial institutions to develop the youth’s business plans and financial literacy so that they get access to affordable financing for their enterprises. Additionally, the Innovative Centre will partner with agencies focused on community mobilization to support the youth with outreaches. By forming Youth Savings and Loan Associations and Innovative Business Clusters, the youth will gain peer-to-peer learning and collectively produce and market their products and nutrition related services.

The youth enrolled in the centre will participate in bi-annual Mentoring Walk and attend a one-week Boot Camp at which they will pitch their ideas to investors, exhibit and sell their products or services. The youth will graduate to join the strong alumni of Inspirational Youth of Uganda and become role models and mentors for other youth in their communities.

As we learn from the implementation of the idea, we will consider engaging alumni from the centre to reach our students during classes to provide them with preflight challenges using Gavin's proposed model. Check out the idea here . Challenging University lecturers' attitudes to embrace these kind of experiential learning approach will take time (see the article in Aljezeera by Professor Calestous Juma on the call for action for African Universities to change their approach to training students by President Museveni). Hence, it is necessary to generate evidence that the idea works and this is what the Innovation Centre will focus on during this phase.
 
What problem is the Innovative Centre solving?
Uganda has the world’s highest population of young people under 30 years—78 percent. The country also boasts of the highest youth unemployment in Africa at 62 —83 percent. Although enrolment in schools increased from 29.2% (1991) to 42.2% (2009), formal education alone does not empower youth (UNESCO). It is estimated 40,000 graduates are passed out of Ugandan Universities each year. But only 8,000 or 20 percent get jobs. Those who get jobs often get them at the lowest level of the value chain where they earn less than $50 a month (Uganda Bureau of Statistics and ILO, 2013). Additionally, only 1 out of 30 youth-owned businesses survives beyond 2 years due to lack of basic business skills and access to proper financing (Enterprise Uganda, 2012). The Uganda's Leading daily paper 'The New Vision' of August 30, 2014 in a special feature provided detailed analysis of internship crisis facing the youth (see the extract below). 


Youth unemployment causes social and economic losses to government and families. Ugandan government loses tax payers’ money annually rescuing jobless graduates lured into prostitution in foreign countries, loses revenue due to drug trafficking and road accidents caused by frustrated unemployed graduates[1]. Families are psychologically and socially tormented for educating children who fail to get jobs after University. International Labour Organization[2] blames unemployment of graduates on the mismatch between the skills the graduates are equipped with what the market demand. Lack of guidance at home/university, absence of role models/mentors for inspiration and guidance; lack self-confidence and other 21st century skills make today’s youth more vulnerable in spite of acquiring lots of technical skills.  Gone are the days when it was easy for students to find internships in organizations and companies. Today Ugandan companies and organizations are not keen to take on students for internship partly because of the burden it comes with and also due to poor attitudes of students that disgust many agencies. University students have been accused of having poor etiquettes, time management and other soft skills and employers do not have time to babysit them. Hence, their employability is very low. Without soft skills even those who venture into business often do not make it.

Business experts and leaders believe every young person in Uganda has the potential to create jobs if only they read the right literature and associated with people who can uplift them in their struggle. Coaching of youth in soft skills like team work, leadership, communication, critical skills and entrepreneurship could rescue unnecessary losses and promote GDP for governments, income for households and individuals. Professionals matched to market demand are likely to succeed in all dimensions of life and contribute to health and economic wellbeing for all.

Nutrition is forms a strong foundation for any nation and greatly contributes to GDP. With increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) coupled with hunger, creation of qualified champions and teams to help governments, private firms, individuals and communities adopt good public health behaviors is global agenda—including in the draft post 2015 MDGs. Yet, developing countries are struggling with creation of necessary leadership and skilled work force to tackle the challenge multi-sectorally. The negative attitudes of professionals such as medical doctors towards nutritionists coupled with poor soft skills like team work, leadership and communication make it harder to solve these pressing global development challenges more so in Africa. Perhaps starting the molding of the youth to understand what it takes to work in teams of different professionals with the same cause would help bridge the gap and exploit market opportunities for employment.

The graduates who make through the haddock and get employed are in better position to influence their young brothers and sisters to take up the necessary skills while in University. For instance if the 217 nutritionists who graduated in Kyambogo University from 2009-2013 were all employed in diverse fields and worked with other technocrats, Uganda would have gained higher GDP and community health and nutrition challenges reduced. The skills and networks acquired by the youth from the centre will directly translate into and create employment pathways.
 
What is Innovative about this idea?
The centre is the first University affiliated nutrition innovation that focuses on building networks of the youth to create innovative business centres for employment while catalyzing social change through appropriate social marketing in Uganda. Most incubation centres are focused on creating business and employment for the youth without focusing on addressing pressing community nutrition and WASH challenges. By applying Pop Up Bus model where facilitators and community pathfinders (the youth enrolled in the centre), the centre will empower the youth to bring about social change in their communities. The centre by the end of the first years will have helped 270 University students gain at least 3 years’ work experience.

Who will benefit from this idea?
The primary target for the centre are students of age group 15-35 years in academic and vocational training institutions in Uganda. The students who have completed and graduated from training institutions and those without any formal training are also targeted.The secondary target audience are Universities, vocational training institutions and high schools within where the primary target are obtained.  The other secondary target audience are potential employers (such as catering industry, schools, foods and beverages processing companies, NGOs, media houses, research institutions, consultancy firms, agricultural farms, hospitals and clinics, sports, telecommunication companies, banks, gyms/physical activity establishments, and other relevant business establishments). The centre targets government and development partners (such as USAID, DFID, Irish Aid, WHO, FAO, UN women, etc) as tertiary audience to provide technical, policy and other relevant support to the youth, the Innovative Centre and training institutions.
 
How to monitor the progress of the idea?
To enhance the learning process and targeting for the intervention, documentation, monitoring and evaluation forms a big part of the Innovative Centre. The following are the performance indicators the centre will measure (adapted from the Benchmark Incubation Globally):
  • # Active coaches/mentors in the centre
  • # Applications for enrolment into the centre received
  • # Youth graduated from the centre after 5 years
  • # Contacts with seed capital firms
  • # Contacts with business providers
  • # Contacts with venture capital firms
  • # Contacts with large corporations
  • # Contacts with the government
  • # Mentor walks held
  • # Hours coaches/ # Hours mentors
  • # International partners/sponsors/investors networks in the centre
  • # Jobs created
  • # Size alumni network
  • # University staff involved in the centre
  • $ Funding available (clients) 
  • $ Seed fund
  • % Youth acquired and enrolled into the centre after 5 years
  • % Youth still running operations
  • % Youth that utilize mentoring
  • % Youth in the centre that don’t need funding for their business
  • % Level of change in nutrition and WASH behaviors in targeted communities attributable to the youth in the centre
  • % Youth innovation business centres surviving up to 5 years

How to sustain the idea and who are the main players and partners?
The Innovative Centre is deemed self-sustaining because strategies are in place to ensure it does not entirely depend on external funding. The following strategies are in place to sustain the idea:
  • Leverage existing resources: The Innovative Centre believes in creating synergies and leveraging existing resources locally and internationally.  These resources include financial, material and human. The centre will tap into existing youth development initiatives in the country and communities to reduce cost of mobilization, development of materials, M&E and overall buy-in. There is some development initiatives creating some employment for the youth in the country that the centre will bench mark on. See: http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/653037-u-s-tells-ugandan-youth-to-cause-positive-change.html
  • http://www.thecommunityagenda.com/index.php/youth-a-woman-voices/188-new-project-to-empower-women-in-ugandan-slums
  • http://observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=29447:centre-throws-deprived-muslim-youths-lifeline&catid=85:education&Itemid=106
  • http://ceda-uganda.org/programs/youth-engaged-program-yep/
  • The government started a youth livelihood program where youth can access credit: http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/649649-gov-t-starts-youth-livelihood-program.html
  • The centre will enter into partnership with universities and schools to reduce cost by using their facilities where necessary. Century Entrepreneurship Development Agency-CEDA International’s work with many of these institutions around Uganda and has offered to introduce the Innovative Centre to them.
  • Entering into partnership with companies and organizations: Working with corporate companies that have a link towards youth empowerment such as financial institutions to sponsor financial literacy and business planning. The centre will also enter into partnership with Uganda Health Marketing Group (UHMG) and Marie Stoppes for social enterprises for the youth in the Innovative Centre.  The youth through the partnership will sell health products like purifying water tablets, mosquito nets etc. for these companies and earn money. Through community mobilization activities such as road shows organized by these companies the Innovation Centre will also market its products and services.  The Centre will strategically partner with foods and beverages companies (such as Coca Cola, Rwenzori Beverages, Pepsi, Rihaam, Unilever, P&G, etc) to promote healthy life styles and nutrition.  Additionally, we will align with corporates that are doing road shows and market activations such as Uganda Telecoms, Rwenzori water and banks.  We anticipate the Pop Up Bus (the centre’s partner) can become their moving bill board when they brand it, it promotes their brands, products/services and at the same time teaches communities. Thanks to Uwe who has advised us to consider partnering with leading CROP SCIENCE companies  that are looking for some outstanding projects in context of agricultural innovation and social efforts in human nutrition. By working with these companies, the Innovation Centre would help increase production, marketing and utilization of high value foods for improved health and nutrition. Knowing how important the media is in promoting these kind of initiatives, the centre will explore partnerships with the New Vision,Daily Monitor, NTV, Urban TV, NBS, UBC and other regional and international media houses to widely spread information about the initiative and how it helps the youth (see how the media publicized the Pakasa--entrepreneurship forum in August for some insights). This partnership can also help in capturing and showing testimonials of the youth, employers, mentors and University lecturers about the initiative.
  • Enter into partnership with  Century Entrepreneurship Development Agency- Century Entrepreneurship Development Agency-CEDA to provide Leadership and Entrepreneurship training to the youth.  Together the partners, the centre will tweak manuals to fit to the centre’s needs of transforming the youth and giving the practical skills.  The mentors from Century Entrepreneurship Development Agency-CEDA International will help train the Innovative Centre’s team or work directly in project implementation.
  • Application for proposals for funding is another avenue the centre will use to implement its activities. The centre will contact US Missions in different countries as they have various grants targeting the youth but also developing countries. Other development agencies such as UN, European Union, DFID, Irish Aid, Norwegian, Canadian and other international developmental organization will be contacted
  • Product and service design, marketing and implementation: the Innovative Centre through teams of youth will produce nutritious food products and other health and nutrition services and market them to generate income to sustain the centre. The innovation here is the centre will identify the market first and then get to tailor the product or service needed. The centre will consider picking up innovations in production and selling of food by adapting some of the ventures that have worked elsewhere in the world such as: https://openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/ideas/mamacarts-empowerment-through-street-foodhttp://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/conquering-food-deserts-with-green-carts/http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/27/nyregion/fresh-produce-comes-to-the-bronx-via-a-veggie-mart-on-wheels.htmlhttp://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/11/nyregion/11carts.html?_r=0
  • Outsourcing employees for corporates, NGOs, and other companies will generate money for the centre as the centre trains the youth suited to the needs of the employer. The employer does not have to manage the employee directly as that remains the task of the centre. The employer pays the centre monthly for the services of the employee
  • Implication of donor projects: The centre will into partnership with large NGOs so that it is sub granted to provide specific interventions in given projects.  Given that most NGOs implementing projects in Uganda are international and now days donors encourage at 40% of the grants get channeled to the local organizations, the centre stands high chance of getting sub granted for social mobilization and social marketing, livelihoods, nutrition and other economic strengthening activities
  • Establishing outlets: We will run low cost outlets with great branding where a doctor comes in to check people for diseases like high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, diabetes, etc – for free. People will sign up to get continuous information, but at the same time for consumer health snacks, drinks, porridges, etc, that the centre’s nutritionists and food technologists make. The centre will establish and run its own consulting/coaching business for clients within Kampala and the neighbouring districts. This way clients seen will pay for the services provided. Through the coaching program, the centre will also charge for supporting other service providers who are not part of the Innovative Centre to establish and run standard nutrition and health services for clients using quality improvement approaches. The centre plans to make use design and sell social marketing and social mobilization tools for NGOs, individuals and companies. These include video testimonials and teaching aids made out of crafts. We will also provide similar trainings for agencies at a fee.

How might you prototype this idea and test some of the assumptions behind it?

The Centre will sign memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the targeted training institutions and potential employers (including business establishments) to clearly spell out the terms and conditions for engaging with the Centre and the youth. The Innovative Centre envisions using strategic partnerships with established agencies, businesses, individuals and centres to leverage resources.

The Innovative Centre will adopt, update and refine existing training materials to suit the unique needs of the centre’s targeted audience. In addition to training manuals, the team will produce video testimonials of the youth, mentors, employers and students sharing their stories as means of keeping the target audience motivated to embrace the idea. Once all the training materials are ready, the centre with support from its partners will conduct training of mentors and coaches. The objective of the training is to impart the necessary leadership, communication, inspirational, entrepreneurship, team work, critical thinking and resource mobilization skills to core team of the Innovative Centre.

Equipped with the ideas, the mentors and coaches will reach out to the University students (we plan to start with one University—Kyambogo University in Kampala Uganda) with the objective of inspiring them to seize existing opportunities in the job market. The students who successfully complete the training will get placed in different projects with the Innovative Centre to plan, implement, document and monitor. Each project or idea will have a coach/mentor to support different team members to successfully accomplish their projects as required in the agreement with the employers. To address the gaps in hands on experience of the students, the Innovative Centre through its coaches will identify and match the students to different agencies where they are placed for internship for a period of at least 6 months. The coaches will develop a scope of work for each student and will share the scope with the identified agencies for review and approval. Given that agencies especially those in the private sector are not comfortable dealing with interns, the Innovative Centre will sign an agreement with each agencies so that the centre takes full responsibility of managing the intern while in the specific agency they are placed in. The centre will organize series of workshops with the students, coaches, mentors, employers, government and development partners to share the innovative approach and how each of them will engage with the centre. The first workshop will bring together these important stakeholders and will act as a platform for the students to share their dreams and hopes for the future.

The employers will also use the workshop to share their expectations of employees, challenges they are faced with today and suggestions for improving student training. The subsequent workshops will focus on the students that get recruited into the program and the facilitators/coaches will use these workshops to impart the 21st century skills into the recruits. The centre anticipates holding two workshops for one day in each semester of study for University students. At the completion of the first set of the workshops, the recruits get rewarded for their workshop with certificate of completion. The recruits will receive the certificates from top university leader in witness of other students, professors and young professionals as means of motivating others to get involved in the program. The centre will organize a grand workshop to graduate those members of the centre who complete one year of implementation. These graduates will thereafter receive special training as coaches to reach to the younger generation in schools and Universities. The same cycle will get followed year in year out.

We target to recruit and mentor 30 students from four departments of Kyambogo University in the first year of the implementation of the innovation. We prefer to start small, try out, learn, develop a change package and then scale up to more students, departments and Universities in the subsequent years of implementation.

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Literature review leading to refinement of our idea:
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Where we came from with the idea to refinement!!

Motivational aspects of our idea: Achievements are celebrated and rewarded individually and in team!
  • Level completion certificates
  • Funding of great team ideas
  • Internship placement for students still in University
  • Employment placement for team members excelling in specific ‘projects’
  • Leadership positions in new sub teams
  • Television, radio and print media features for outstanding teams
  • Trips
  • Achievement belts: Black belt
  • Additionally, we will approach companies to provide other forms of prizes that team members can compete for just like the case with Young Enterprise http://www.young-enterprise.org.uk 
Stage I: Setting the stage for success
  • Lead Innovator: great team creator, motivator, planner and influencer with diversity in private sector, government, NGO and academic experience
  • Inspiration champions: private business entrepreneur demonstrating great leadership; NGO guru to share experience and employer expectations of employees; unemployed graduate to share their struggle for jobs; team building experts to inspire members to learn the art of forming, maintaining and working together with teams; government representative to share policy environment and employment needs for the youth and social entrepreneurs like Rehma Kasule
The  challenges for the Lead Innovator and inspiration team:
  • Challenge 1—Identify 5-8 committed and enthusiastic young professionals willing to take part in the program
  • Challenge 2: identify at least 4 champions to invite to share inspirational experience with the team during training
  • Challenge 3:  coach the super team through 30 days until each gets to the next level of the team challenge

Stage 2: Inspiring the super team to growing their teams
  • Super team consists of a mix of experienced and less experienced graduates with different professional training—human nutrition, food technology, ICT, statistics, sports science, medicine, social science and marketing
  • The team is presented with three key challenges to accomplish:
  1. Working as a team, they conduct market research by interviewing employers and consumers about highly needed yet less supplied services or goods e.g. healthy fruit drink to help people with diabetes. The super team critically and analytically review the data from research and come up with proposal on how to address the gap and create jobs for the team. The team markets the proposal and goes out to look for employees for the project in the University. This leads to the next challenge
  2. Each member of the super team gets to one department of Kyambogo University which trains students of their professional alliance, negotiates with heads of department for access to students either directly or through student associations. The member of the super team markets the idea to group of students in their second year by presenting to them the model of the project and how they fit within the project. The students are told there are only 3 slots available for members of their class and that they have to address specific sets of challenges as a team to qualify.
  3. Each member of the super team upon successful completion of the first task of getting a team of course mates in second year of study to work together to accomplish the given task, provides coaching to each student in identifying and developing a viable idea—which in this case is demand driven from the market needs—most likely will focus on nutrition related services or goods. Once each student has an idea, each is guided to share the idea with the rest of their mates and with support from the super team member the students vet all the ideas and refine to one final idea that is perceived most viable according to market demand. 2-3 members of each class whose ideas or contributions are outstanding from the perspective of their mates are identified for inclusion in the final sub team of the super team.
  4. The last challenge entails all the members of the super team bringing together the final ideas from different departments of the first targeted faculties of Kyambogo University—department of home economics and human nutrition, department of food science, department of information technology, department of art and design, department of sports science and department of agriculture and working with support from the Lead Innovator and the students themselves vet the ideas and come up with the final refined one. The final ideas leads to the next project for the super team and their sub team to find funds for and implement.
  5. Depending on the needed number of ‘employees’ the super team helps identify 1-2 from each of the members of the sub team identified from different departments of the University. This way students feel the scarcity effect of the project and want to work had as teams so as to get to the team.

The final team celebrates their success by getting into the Innovation Centre.

Stage 3: Getting into the Innovation Centre and sustaining innovation for more employment
  • By the time the final round of getting the new project from the university, there is only one team in the Innovation Centre—the super team.
  • The super team is joined by the new members who constitute the sub team. The super team is charged with coaching and mentoring the sub team as they are linked to external potential employers—NGOs, private companies, consultancies, government, own enterprises to help with implementation of the existing project created by the super team.
  • As the sub team helps the super team, they are coached to refine and operationalize the idea that qualified them into the Innovation Centre
  • The sub team are guided to repeat the same steps the super team were taken through by the Lead Innovator. This way sustainable employment, coaching and mentorship of the youth within and outside University is enhanced.

What are the next steps for implementing this idea?

To get real user experience of the idea, the team conducted interviews and discussions with eight young graduates from Kyambogo University, nine currently enrolled students in Kyambogo University , two University lecturers and two prospective employers about the idea. Evidence of the discussions with the young professionals and students is available in the linked videos above. Our key findings indicate the idea is very much welcome and highly needed by students and young graduates as they see the centre as valuable in addressing employment, team work, networking, leadership , mentorship and entrepreneurship gaps in the country. At least the students would leave University with their heads up knowing they can carry on with their innovations or easily use experience acquired to get employment. It was desirable that the centre does not discriminate against students and gives them equal opportunities to participate. It was also desirable that time constraints of the students are taken into consideration so that they can balance between the centre activities and academics. Discussions with potential employers were fruitful too. They welcome the idea but would want to see that the centre is up first in order to channel their support further. Related we had discussions with two lecturers about the idea. They are looking forward to supporting the centre in any way possible. The lecturers confirm how overwhelmed they are to solve all the skill needs for the students and would work with the centre to provide any linkages to the students. They would want to have Memorandum of Understanding signed with their University soon. Now we are confident the idea is viable and has market. Our next steps include piloting the idea in Kyambogo University in Kampala Uganda for the first eighteen months. We have chosen Kyambogo University because it is a credible University as far as producing graduates with the vocational skills needed in the job market. Kyambogo University was an vocational institute 10 years ago. We have also chosen it because it pioneered the Human Nutrition and Dietetics degree in Uganda, and we are using Human nutrition as entry point for this idea. We have started discussion with the University administration to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to pilot the idea in Kyambogo University. We expect this to get completed by September 30, 2014. Once the MoU is signed, our team will reach out to student associations, think tanks and lecturers to organize sensitization meetings with the students about the idea and how they can engage in it. We expect to accomplish this by October 15, 2014. Our team has also started discussing with potential employers on how they can support the centre by entering into partnership through memorandum of understanding (MoU). The team expects to have signed some MoU with potential employers by October 30, 2014. Related we are currently seeking partnerships which can support our idea so that we can operationalize it. We hope through this challenge (OpenIDEO) we can leverage partnerships with interest in youth leadership, human nutrition, entrepreneurship, non communicable diseases, food industry, information technology and computer science, mobile health, social mobilization and social change, documentaries and digitial media, incubator centres, food security and agriculture to work with us. We are hopeful by October 30, 2014 we will have some partnerships in place to work with us. To help us create teams of mentors and coaches from the current local team of the young professionals I am working with to reach out to University students, we will conduct training of the team to acquire basic skills needed for coaching and mentorship. Acquisition of these skills requires classroom based training and active continuous coaching of those being coached. We will identify senior coaches to help with training of the current team. We have entered into discussions with CEDA International, an entrepreneurship agency in Kampala to support in the training of our team. Thanks to Wekesa and Rehmah for offering to help our team with mentorship and training already. IWe are hoping to have training for the mentors by October 15, 2014. We hope to design all the documentation and training tools for the idea. We are determined to make this a global program but are starting small, learn from the pilot, refine it and scale up. Hence, documentation, standardization and sharing are key tools for making it a success. Our current team has talent in curriculum development and documentation. We hope we can have some of these accomplished by October 15, 2014. We are targeting to design terms of reference for the students engagement in the centre and call for applications by October 15, 2014. We estimate the process of applications, shortlisting and recruitment of the students will be done by October 30, 2014. Our operations will start by November 2014. Finally, we hope to have acquired a home (centre) for the idea at the start of October 1, 2014. Our team is looking for houses within the locality of Kyambogo and Ntinda for rent for the centre. We want a place which is convenient for the students, employers, partners and other community members to reach.

Briefly describe a user scenario which illustrates the specific need that your idea is trying to solve.

Young students say of human nutrition in first year to the final year of study in University have little hope of making it in the world after campus. After all many of them ended up studying degree courses they really did not want as the first choice. Without much exposure to what happens in the real world of work, in addition to limited training in the skilled highly needed in the current job market and without much practical involvement, these students most often resolve to the attitude of come what may. The young students who finally graduate leave campus with their heads down not knowing exactly who they will make it as professionals in the job market. They are shunned away by potential employers because they lack the needed experience, attitudes and skills. They keep wondering where on earth the experience can be bought but do not get the right answers! Those who see several money making opportunities lack the resources such as skilled personnel, capital and necessary connections to seize the opportunities. Others who have some start up capital lack other resources and cannot produce quality goods or services to meet the market demand. So these graduates are frustrated, their parents are frustrated, the country is frustrated and the government is losing revenue due to failure of over 150,000 graduates to get jobs each year. Employers are equally disappointed in the Universities because they are producing 'half baked cakes' who are not trusted to produce quality goods or services.

Complete a User Experience Map. This will help you visualize how a potential end user will interact with your idea. Once you have completed it, upload it using the Upload File button at the end of this form. PDF files preferred.

  • Completed

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

The idea benefits teams of youth who are in Universities, graduates who have completed University or college but are unemployed, other youth without education certificates but are talented, NGOs, private companies, government, Universities and development partners. The youth in University will get chance for mentorship to create jobs and get employment in the Innovative Centre while the graduates will receive leadership and social entrepreneurship training, get employed in the Centre and extend their skills to younger youth who are still in University and college. The private sector will get the chance to have these dedicated and talented youth offer them solutions to improving their performance by developing new products, receiving health care services and by saving money often spent on management staff. NGOs will receive services from our dedicated team and they would not have to hustle managing and spending lots of money on the team as the centre will manage them directly. Development partners will provide funding to the Innovation centre to help them implement more sustainable programs as opposed to what is currently funded. Our team uses private sector approach to implementation and will overcome the barriers of giving out all aid freely to people and government. The Universities and colleges will benefit from free coaching and mentorship our team will provide to their students. The centre will also take on students for internship and in the process will create opportunities for employment for the youth. The team will also volunteer to train students using visiting lecturer approach. The government is stuck with many youth who have no jobs and are becoming a menace. Our team will help address some of these challenges by creating employment opportunities while empowering the youth with leadership and social entrepreneurship skills. I am partnering with Leigh Cullen and Rehma Kasule to pilot their models with my centre and I am sure these partnerships will cement the models. Using this model, everyone benefits and everyone helps.

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

The centre will start recruiting Kyambogo University students and young professionals and fitting them into Innovation Centre. Each of the new recruits will work with mentors to and undergo standard training curriculum (see the detailed description of the idea section for more information). Specific workshops will be held with the recruits to enhance their soft skills, networking with peers, employers and companies. Through this the recruits will generate new income generating idea that together with their team mates they can pursue until funding for the idea is obtained. Each team will work on specific idea, which I want to call a project. The project will have manager or team leader, someone who is a bit more experienced to head it. With this in mind, if we started with 5 team members working on a project for instance on Product development for food industries, as the project is ongoing the team will start recruiting new team members to create branches of the team. The new members could come in as second year University interns who will work with the team to idea gaps in the food industry and come up with ideas to address the gaps. Through proposal writing approach, the new idea creates an additional team. Repeating the sample approach, new teams or branches will be generated creating more sustainable employment for teams of youth. By the time the recruit completes their scheduled stay with the centre, they will have achieved complementary skills to help their reach their life dreams (see the user profile for details). Please see the detailed description of the idea for more information on the workshops, internship placement,etc.

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

Through my lecturing, NGO and internship networks, I invited 20 individuals: from statisticians (1), nutritionists (12), PhD student (1), social workers(2), food scientists (1), rural economists (1), medical doctor (1) and graphics designers (1) to brain storm about how we can leverage our resources in private practice and come up with a centre to help grow entrepreneurship, coaching and mentorship opportunities for ourselves and our brothers and sisters still in University or those who have just completed and are jobless. Our online team also spent several days brainstorming and refining the idea based on their experience working with the youth and incubation centres. So findings presented are well triangulated. I conducted discussions and interviews with cross section of young professionals,m students, lecturers and employers to get their feelings and thoughts about the idea in the last three weeks. As evidenced in the videos I have shared with the community here, the youth who have graduated from the University see this as very viable and needed to get started soonest. The same observations were made when we held discussions with students in Kyambogo University. The students loved the idea and wanted to see it started. Overall our experiments confirm there is demand for the idea within and outside University. The lecturers we talked to also liked the idea and are looking forward to entering into MoU with the centre to start implementing it. Finally, the employers we interacted with felt the idea would reduce on the worries they have about getting less skilled graduates from the University. Others expressed willingness to provide internships avenues for the students through the centre.

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

Coaching and mentorship; identification of potential funders and guidance on proposal writing processes; transformation of the centre into social enterprise and creating more partnerships with complementary ideas.

The idea emerged from:

  • A group brainstorm

How do you envision your idea being implemented?

  • Keen to prototype it, find partners and pursue implementation
View more

Team (10)

Lina's profile
Lina Padilla

Role added on team:

"Thank you Lina for being our sponsor. We are in high gear to refine the idea."

Simon's profile
Leigh's profile
Leigh Cullen

Role added on team:

"Hi Leigh, Would you be interested in joining me and we polish this idea further? Thanks Alex"

Dave's profile
Dave Zinsman

Role added on team:

"Thank you Dave for joining the team. Thank you for the support in moving the idea forward."

wekesa's profile
wekesa zab

Role added on team:

"Wekesa I felt I should add you to the team. You have been contributing to the idea already. Thank you in helping me operationalize this."

Karolle's profile
Karolle Rabarison

Role added on team:

"Hi Karolle, welcome to our joint team with Leigh. Glad to have you on board!"

Gavin's profile
Rehmah's profile
Alain's profile
Bettina's profile
Bettina Fliegel

Role added on team:

"Thanks for believing in our idea. Welcome on board Bettina."

Attachments (1)

Innovative Centre Experience write up.pdf

Draft User experience story

92 comments

Join the conversation:

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Alex,
This is such a comprehensive program!
What are the behaviors you are hoping to change - in relation to the WASH initiative you mention? What are the health issues related to WASH? When you say the students will go into 10 households are these low income resource poor communities? Are at home interventions common or is this a model you are trying to develop? Is there a benefit to doing the work in the home - are the students looking for environmental issues that are effecting health?
Sounds like the students will be doing a lot of community health work. That will certainly be a vehicle to build skills - hard and soft!
Good luck developing this amazing project!

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hello Bettina,
With human nutrition as the entry point, there is clear evidence of the contribution of poor WASH practices and behaviour to malnutrition. Currently uptake of WASH behaviours is very low. We would like to address behaviours like hand washing, disposal of faecal matter, treatment of diarrhoea in children, keeping animals away from children, etc.

From our interaction with the students we learnt the dream of improving community development by applying what they learn from school. We want to keep their dreams alive by taking them closer to communities--both the poor and rich communities to provide key public health and agriculture services. For instance in urban areas we see them helping in sharing information on wellness and lifestyle management, helping in setting up urban home gardens for fresh vegetables while in rural areas they would help in WASH, nutrition, food security, agriculture, etc.

We will work with communities and other agencies to take these services closer to the people so that students gain more expertise at social mobilization and social change.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

[As posted on Pop Up bus - good to have here for reference as well...]

What are your aims regarding the nutritional services? What community are you hoping to serve?

Check out this idea from the Women's Safety Challenge. It is a social entrepreneurial - microfranchise project. Perhaps it can ignite some ideas into your team of nutritionists. It is a very cool program providing healthy street food to citizens there and employment for women vendors.
https://www.facebook.com/mamacarts/info?ref=page_internal
https://openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/shortlist/mamacarts-empowerment-through-street-food

Check out these nutrition initiatives in New York City's vulnerable communities as well.
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/conquering-food-deserts-with-green-carts/

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/27/nyregion/fresh-produce-comes-to-the-bronx-via-a-veggie-mart-on-wheels.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/11/nyregion/11carts.html?_r=0

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thank you Bettina. These ideas will create jobs for many nutritionists here in Uganda and around the globe with our model!

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Happy to be the messenger - sharing some great ideas!
Excited to hear the thoughts from youth in the innovation center as you share the ideas there!

Resources From NYC Dept. of Health's Eating Healthy Campaign.
https://www.facebook.com/EatingHealthyNYC/info?ref=page_internal

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thanks Bettina for the link. I downloaded the CalCutter app for determining calories. I am wondering if the developers of such software would be interested in collaborating with our centre?

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

It looks like the developers work within the NYC Dept. of Health itself.

I found this interesting website which is for a competition to develop apps to benefit the city (NYC). http://nycbigapps.com/

This proposal is in the field of nutrition - Eat Healthy New York City - http://eathealthynyc.splashthat.com/
There are two mentors at the bottom of the page. The bio for the mentor on the right - "Keren manages the NYC Health Department's social media channels and is actively involved in the agency's mobile efforts, which include apps and texting services." Perhaps she is someone to reach out to to find out who the developers of CalCutter are? Perhaps look for her on LinkedIn. I can try to "look around" online in the coming days as well.

This "Big Apps" model looks really cool. Do they have something like this in Kampala? Maybe you can hold a hackathon to develop some ideas?

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thanks Bettina. No, there are no Big Apps for nutrition and health in Kampala currently. It would be interesting to see if such initiatives could get incorporated into the centre.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Alex,
A thought...
You might find ideas and resources, research posts, people - within OpenIDEO itself. You can search the site using key words (in the space on the top right of this page) - ex. nutrition. You might find ideas, and/or people to reach out to for collaboration here - folk that may have participated in other challenges. To contact people you can post a message on their profile page.
Bettina

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

I have already started doing just that...thanks

Photo of Lilian Nyanzi
Team

Wow Alex this is amazing, how i wish i had got the same opportunity during my time at university. I really love the idea.
Thank you very much for the hard work, the sky is the limit for you.

Photo of wekesa zab
Team

Halo team
Invitations to join in a Webinar & Twitter Chat 9/17
" Collaborating to Solve Youth Employment"

#AfricaYouthFwd #SocEntChat

http://www.changemakers.com/futureforward/blog/webinar-twitter-chat-917-collaborating-solve-youth-empl-0

* Let's showup and engage the audience with our findings and possibly seek feedback

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thanks Wekesa for sharing this. Sure let's show up and present our findings!

Photo of Luisa Fernanda
Team

Alex,
I love how you are so involved in the execution and planning of this idea, and are already thinking about partners to get involved. As you keep fleshing out this idea, I encourage you to bring youth really early in the conversation. As you gather friends from university it might be helpful to also reach out to a few current students so that you can learn what information and resources are relevant to them.

We look forward to hearing how this idea develops and what comes out from the conversation with the people you reach out to.

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great advice, Luisa – and Alex, if you're keen to check out some prototyping tips as you develop this idea further, check these: http://ideo.pn/pr0t0type

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thank you Luisa and Meena. I have already got a team of 21 young professionals: nutritionists, statisticians, medical doctors, IT, Food scientists, social workers and sports scientists. We are now in forming phase and are talking to Universities, companies and NGOs.

Photo of Rehmah Kasule
Team

Alex, Great ideas, where will you be located? I have a youth centre in Kawempe, south of Kampala city, we can explore ways of sharing, learning and collaborating. Read about it and see if you are interested. We have a model and curriculum already developed.
http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/653037-u-s-tells-ugandan-youth-to-cause-positive-change.html
http://www.thecommunityagenda.com/index.php/youth-a-woman-voices/188-new-project-to-empower-women-in-ugandan-slums
http://observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=29447:centre-throws-deprived-muslim-youths-lifeline&catid=85:education&Itemid=106
http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/649649-gov-t-starts-youth-livelihood-program.html

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hi Rehma,
I am glad someone from home is following up my idea. Thank you. I am in Namugongo. Yes, it would be great to collaborate with you.
alexkmokori@gmail.com.

Let's talk!

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

I found this application: https://s3.amazonaws.com/ideo-org-images-production/documents/32/original/IDEO-org_Moneythink_Final_01-14%20Public.pdf
very important as way of engaging the students and mentors in the project. As clearly indicated in principles of behavioural economics, creating and maintaining the behaviours of students to create and work in multitalented teams to create jobs is important. They have got to get hooked up for the behaviour to last and they have got to see benefits coming out of the behavior. The herding principle of moving with the crowd is important too as they have to see that their mates are progressing too. Hence, the scoring of progress is important.

Is there any team mate who has experience in using this kind of software that can help out? What of the scoring of the progress?

Thanks
Alex

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great call on engaging potential end users as you develop the idea further, Alex!

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hi team,

I just uploaded results from the brain storming on how the initiative will be undertaken. For the prototype we will start with only Kyambogo University so as to accelerate learning and spreading...

Photo of Rehmah Kasule
Team

Hi Alex,
It was great talking to you on phone today. It is exciting to find people with the same thinking, thanx to this forum for bring this alive.

Here are afew ideas:
1. You need to build a business model for the centre to run as social enterprises, great sources of info will be acumen fund and synergos institute, I am a Synergos senior fellow, I can get info on running successful social enterprises.
2. Delivery methodology: Like I suggested, use edu-tainment and other experiential learning tools, I have a lot of videos and audios I can share on personal leadership. I can also share our model the 5D Cycle, it is very effective in leadership and entrepreneurship development. It can be adapted to various countries by changing examples. I also have a Mentorship program and can do TOT for mentors around the world, I have a great team of trainers and mentors. Otherwise development of material is very hectic and expensive. I have a wealth of experience from British Council, Aspen Leadership Program, Synergos senior fellowship, vital voices global partnership fellowship and Fortune/US State Department mentoring program; and I have built a network of people with the same knowledge.
3. Fund raising: I am very good at proposal writing for project funding, I can share that if needed.
4. Provide internship placements for some of your youth at our youth centre in Kawempe. Your youth can utilize our youth centre for learning and networking, I will also share the detailed operations manual on how to successfully run one, and how to engage the community.
5. Networks: through my work and studies, I have networks anywhere in the world, we can tap those in case we want to implement it in a specific country.
6. We have over 40 role models and mentors who we can use to come and give motivational talks to your youth or provide them with skills-based apprenticeship.

I will be sharing more thought in the coming few days. But, yes, I am excited about this collaboration because Kyambogo is one of the universities that my organization works with.  See you tomorrow.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hi Rehma,

Thank you for agreeing to collaborate with my team. It is great that we can create synergies and help our fellow Ugandans by building long lasting solutions to the challenge of unemployment among the youth.

As agreed, this is what I propose my team can collaborate with you on:

1) Provide technical assistance in 'nutritionalization' of the agriculture enterprises so that we can produce real snacks and other nutritious products that the girls can sell. We can explore which products to start with.

2) Provide team of 3 nutritionists, food scientist or home economists to work with your youth in internship placement so they can help with technical issues related to nutrition, home economics and food technology as they as also gain leadership and entrepreneurship skills.

3) Revise the youth curriculum so that nutrition becomes key in it since the girls are the future mothers of this country and need to understand issues on nutrition and how they affect health of children and themselves. This could include adding a component of having the girls act as change agents for communities when it comes to promotion of good feeding, child care and hygiene.


4) Collaborate to write joint proposal to win funds for projects as a team with clear terms of each of our teams.

5) School feeding program---we can support the schools where you have the projects initiate and maintain cheap school gardening for nutritious vegetables for inclusion into the diets of the girls. We can explore how to make an enterprise of such so that the schools or parents pay for the vegetables served to the girls.

I am really excited about this and are sure it is going to materialize. I am open for more areas for collaboration.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thank you team for working smart up to this point. We have more work to accomplish now in refining the idea. Let me know what each of has to add...

Cheers, Alex

Photo of Leigh Cullen
Team

Alex, Big congrats! Admirable job. So glad our teams are working together as one.

Photo of Pearl Ainembabazi
Team

Hi Alex, brilliant idea! I love the enthusiasm!!! I think the innovation center meets the need of a transition place between school and career. True to what you said, there's a big group of people that have studied nutrition courses just for the sake, but even those that have the passion for nutrition are caught off-guard by the realities of the working world. Hence, the innovation center can be that place that will refine them and help them define their course. One of the ways could be by providing graduate assistantships where graduates get hands-on working experiences & opportunities in the different food & nutrition areas i.e, community nutrition, clinical nutrition, foodscience & processing, quality assuarance, entreprenueship, SBCC, to mention but a few; all this under the mentorship and guidance of those who've gone before in these areas. And after goin through the whole program, they decide which area suits them best. With the current social & lifestyle trends, well trained and professional nutritionists are vital in society. Being a young field in our country, its good to get it right from the start, so again, the innovation center provides an opportunity for people to be trained in proffesionalism. So, bravo & keep on keeping on, i look forward to seeing this become a reality.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thanks Pearl for the encouragement. Would you be interested in being one of those who would share their struggles of employment in nutrition, marketing and food technology to the younger professionals in University? It would be good to have you on board?

Photo of Pearl Ainembabazi
Team

Well well, i have come to appreciate it more as an experience and yes it is a story worth sharing; so sure, i'd be delighted to share with the young professionals.

Photo of Sekamanya Fahad
Team

Wow! Am lost for words. This is a great idea and piloting it in the field of nutrition is a plus. I have had a really bad experience in the government sector that lead to eventual resignation. Nutrition in this country is a new entity and getting the employers and the community to understand its usefulness is a hard nut to crack. This innovation center is a step in one direction. At least we have to start somewhere. Kudos to the team.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thanks Fahad for the useful feedback. I feel your frustration for I have walked in your shoes before too. One thing I am picking from your feedback is that the centre should also consider working as an advocacy voice to influence how nutrition is positioned as a developmental area. This takes me to what Wekesa said during our refining phase.Wekesa too believes the centre should focus on generating information to influence policies.

We Pop Up Bus, I am sure we will attract even government policy makers to participate in the centre and appreciate our efforts and role of young professionals in the development agenda of this country .

Photo of wekesa zab
Team

It is amazing to read through the IC write up and experiencing the centres purposed transformation on the "populations" that will interact with it..
Way to go Alex.. :)

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thanks Wekesa. Well done!

Photo of Mpiima Jamiru
Team

When i was graduated from University some years back, i had so many challenges which where not about just getting a job, but no one would offer mentor-ship to show you the way even if you want to start up something.

The Innovation Center is a brilliant idea and i think it will work. Many youths are out there looking for jobs even those who want start their own jobs, their hands are tied since they have no direction.

Thanks Alex and team for the great work and i think this idea should win the contest because it will change millions of lives years to come.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thanks Jamiru. We are already winning but identifying the need for the centre and by collaborating to refine the idea. This is success already. Now lets work together to take the implementation and monitoring of the idea to the next level.

Photo of OSSA TUKAMUSHABA
Team

The innovation center is a brilliant idea, looking at the high rates of unemployment among the youth today and the many companies looking for experienced staff in various fields. I believe the innovation Center is the way to go.

My prayer is that it wins the challenge so we can a great youth transformation and have employment chances increased for the youth.

Thank you very much Alex and every body out there believing in the innovation center.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Ossa thanks for speaking out on behalf of the youth in the country. Thank you for sharing your pain and for the best wishes for the idea. Let's work in this together and make the idea a reality...

Photo of OTTO NUWAGABA
Team

During my time at University I only focused on the academic work, but I believe if students are provided with the wonderful opportunity of learning new skills and getting involved with the employment world while still in University, it would be a great value addition onto them. I believe innovation center center deserves it all.
Thank you Alex and the team your working with. I wish you all the best in this challenge.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thanks Otto for sharing your experience going through University. Thanks for pointing out the value the idea would add to the youth in University and probably across the world. We are in this together to the end!

Photo of Jean-Marc Mercy
Team

Alex,

Your idea is very inspiring. Let us work together and form cross-country teams. Our volunteers here in Congo could come and learn at your innovation center. How about that?

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hi Mercy, thanks for the appreciation. Yes, let's work together for cross country pollination. Your volunteers are welcome to Uganda.

Photo of Jean-Marc Mercy
Team

Thanks Alex. I have always believed that capacity-building is one of the ways to increase youth employability. Here is my email address: jmercy2812@gmail.com, please let us keep in touch.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hi Mercy, I have added your email to our mailing list offline. We are happy to have you on the team. Let's spread the good initiatives to help our youth. Best, Alex

Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Great initiative Alex! This idea works to mentor young people at a global level, but I love how you're planning to prototype this concept locally with students from Kyambogo University. Starting with a particular community group in mind often helps to make an idea concrete for when you are ready to scale it upwards. Please to post photos, sketches, or notes from your brainstorming session! I'm looking forward to how this will develop!

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Shane, I am considering starting with one faculty of vocational studies with more focus on food processing, human nutrition, home economics, design, home gardening and IT.

Let me know what you think.

Photo of Alain MABOKO
Team

Alex, thanks replying so quickly, we are like in the same basket, now am enjoying your website. thanks for the feedback. courage indeed.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

I am happy to have you on the team especially given that your idea is related to what we are working on!

Photo of Alain MABOKO
Team

I also join both of your points (Mercy, Alex). A cross country pollination and teams will take us to a good stage. Good luck to the team.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Today, my team uploaded prototype website as means of keeping in touch with potential clients, new team mates and even funders....you can view the website here
http://www.cenetuganda.com/index.php/en/our-team

Photo of Alain MABOKO
Team

Alex, congratulations. I like your approach. can you have a look on the Micro Business Incubator (MBI). will be glad to have your comments and input to the idea, also what are the challenges are you going through as for now?

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thanks Alain. Let me check it out. There are no major challenges but the usual issues of getting started. We have to get a home, furnish and have clients start flowing. Otherwise my research has indicated the idea is very viable and is coming at the right time.

Photo of wekesa zab
Team

Dave , Alex , Rehmah.. Loving the Energy.... Catching up with progress and the centre has taken shape.. Learning a lot from the team.. Happy to have Gavin on board too.. :)

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thanks Wekesa. One thing I learnt during the interviews with the students was a think tank started by a visiting Norwegian student. However when she left the think tank 'left with her'. Students recommend using such a think tank and student associations as entry points!

Photo of Rehmah Kasule
Team

Alex, Thanx to the off line brainstorming we have done, the idea is shaping up. let me ask my guy to create a logo.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thanks Rehmah for the support and the advice. Let's do it.

Photo of Uwe Schn
Team

Hi Alex, short question about your innovation center at the university for human nutrition: I know that some of the leading crop science companies are looking for some outstanding projects in context of agricultural innovation and social effirts in human nutrition. Does this match to the innovation center and your ideas? I am facilitating the experience exchange of some of these companies with their Hr Managers, maybe it would be interesting to provide your ideas at the next event.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hi Uwe, thanks for taking time to look at our idea! Yes, the Innovative Centre matches with the agricultural innovation and social efforts. It would be kind of you to share our idea with the HR managers you are meeting.

We want to promote value addition for food and promote intake of nutritious diets through social marketing. The linkage with those crop science companies would make a difference in moving our idea forward. Thanks, Alex

Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Alex,
The new maps look great! Making the idea visual and simple makes it not only interesting, but fun to read.

It's awesome that you're teaming up with Leigh's idea to test this in Uganda! It's amazing and sad that Uganda has such a high youth unemployment rate- new solutions like the Innovation Centre are urgently needed.

I wonder if Preflight challenges could happen in the centers? Bringing a professional in would give the members a mentor that could help them eventually land a job, and the challenges could help the members show the talent they developed in the universities.

Good luck in the feedback phase!

Photo of Dave Zinsman
Team

Hey team, here's the final map that Alex and I have put together!
http://www.betadigifete.com/icproject

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Wow! Thanks Dave for the great work done.

Dear OpenIDEO community, please let's know if you have any comments about the map!

Thanks for the support!

Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

Hey Alex,

I am going through the user experience map and the problem statement you sent. I see the problem is huge (highest youth unemployment in Africa at 62 —83 percent, only 20% of graduating students from Ugandan Universities each year get jobs.) But do you have any information on the jobs available in the area? Meaning are there a large number of jobs that are going unfilled in the area or are there no jobs there for students to fill? The reason I ask is it effects the entire solution and the business model you would develop for that solution. Example: If there are lots of students graduating and jobs that can be filled, but are not being filled you can play the 'matching' role and charge companies for the service of matching to sustain the platform. If there are youth graduating and there are not a high number of jobs in the area that need to be filled then the solution is really 'job creation' or creating/growing businesses, which is a different problem. Apologies if I am missing something, just wanted to clarify that before I dive in further. Happy to chat on Skype/GoogleHangout about it. Also any particular questions on the refinement word doc you sent me that you want me to focus on in particular?

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hey Sergio,

Thanks for the insightful comments. We are using nutrition as the entry point for seizing existing opportunities in the job market for young professionals graduating from Universities as the starting point. There are several opportunities in the private and public sector that are untapped partly because the youth do not see the opportunities and also because the employers do not understand how the graduates can fill in the gaps. Others simply do not trust the young graduates to professionally handle opportunities because of their poor skills. For instance, there are 100s of private health care facilities, schools, hotels and restaurants in Uganda that need nutritionists to help provide quality services but nutritionists are not employed there neither do they provide part time services to them. Medical doctors, counselors, nurses, agriculturalists, food technologists, nutritionists, etc are graduated each year in over 4 Universities in the country. Many of them work in isolation if they are lucky to get jobs, which partly leads to the problem of unemployment especially in the private sector. By building the culture of team work right from University, the young professionals will seize opportunities for themselves and help reach out to the younger one still in school.

The business approach includes producing and marketing nutritious food products, agricultural enterprises, outsourcing and managing young professionals for employers, consulting services, production of social mobilization and social marketing products, training sessions, branding and marketing for service companies, opening up health facilities such as nutrition clinics, etc.

Let's talk more on google talk.

Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

Hey Alex,

Sorry I am catching up on all the messages. I work during the day so I am only able to respond at night and during weekends usually.

In the last paragraph it seems like you are using a number of approaches:
''producing and marketing nutritious food products, agricultural enterprises, outsourcing and managing young professionals for employers, consulting services, production of social mobilization and social marketing products, training sessions, branding and marketing for service companies, opening up health facilities such as nutrition clinics, etc."

Each one of these seems like it can be an effort on its own. If you were going to pick one approach what would it be? Are students connecting to employers or creating jobs by bringing their ideas to life and building businesses? I feel like these are two different things. I am just trying to understand the core of the idea so that I can provide helpful precursors to other business models that exist and are working now.

Are you more or a community center like: http://communityinnovation.berkeley.edu/

Or a center focused on incubating young entrepreneurs forming companies?
http://cic.us/

I think either model has great possibilities for a sustainable business model. Happy to help with research.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hey Sergio,

Thanks for getting back. We are a blend of both because we want to affiliate to Universities, work with students to innovate viable business ideas while conduct social marketing for community transformation. These youth have dreams to see peaceful societies as the end results. The generation of money is the means to the end.

Let me know what you think.

Thanks
Alex

Photo of wekesa zab
Team

We on track Alex,
I have today's challenge:
Linking students in the innovative centre to conduct community interventions, example- community outreach for households purposed to share and educate households on nutrition related topics conducted by students.
How might we best conduct community intervations to deliver a greater impact on a households level?

Team what are your thought around on this?

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thanks Wekesa!

Photo of Leigh Cullen
Team

Hi Alex, I just added a "Journey Map" of Innovation Center + Pop Up Bus to the Pop Up Bus post. Check it out :) Will email you a copy in a sec...

The map incorporates data/observations you are collecting live in our Pilot. It does not convey the depth and breadth of all the astute research and formal documentation you are preparing around Innovation Center's: 1) Formal Problem Statement 2) Community and Local Youth Pain Points 3) Student Guidebook 4) Tools for Employers.

When you feel comfortable with the status of those docs, I would highly encourage you to share them with the OpenIDEO community. These documents showcase how brilliantly you are planning the project!! And I have a feeling that the docs will encourage others to get involved and help Innovation Center out. :)

Photo of wekesa zab
Team

Halo Alex,
The good data you are collecting on the prototype is impressive.. Leigh have been able to visualize a road map on progress.. Am excited bout will this good energy hoping to get more data from the areas of concern.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thanks Wekesa. I will share the user profile analysis today and will rely on the wiz of Dave to put pictorial into the characters.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hi OpenIDEO community, I have uploaded user profile for your review as we refine it and build it into graphics. Thanks for my local team for conducting great interviews and listening to fascinating stories from the youth and employers!

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great read, Alex! We're looking forward to seeing your User Experience Map too when you're ready – and do make sure you fill out the additional 2 submission form questions (now added at the top of the previous questions) ahead of the start of the Feedback phase. Way to go, the Innovation Centre Team!

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Team

Thanks Meena. The Innovative Centre /Pop Up Bus team has been tirelessly working offline to refine our idea. We aim at having complete answers to all sections tomorrow. It has been tough but joyous refining!

Thanks team...Let's GO!

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great to see you making a start on Refinement, Alex. Something that can help with your user scenario (and later with your User Experience Map) is to tell your story through the experience of a fictional user. Give them a name and describe their experience. This helps others to be able to engage with your idea less abstractly – and promotes the notion of human-centered design that we're all so big on here at OpenIDEO. Keep up the refining – lots of exciting potential!

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Team

Hi Meena,

Thanks for the insights. I am working on the stories I obtained from interviewing our targeted clients. I will update the section soonest.

Thanks
Alex

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great Alex – that's awesome you are interviewing potential end users. And here's some inspiration on User Experience Maps from Gavin: https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/ideas/real-world-challenges-visit-the-classroom

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Team

Thanks Meena for channeling me to Gavin's user experience maps. They are great. I will work with the graphics team to help put the findings from the users into graphics.

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Team

Congratulations on making it to the Youth Employment Challenge Refinement list, Alex! We're blown away by the collaboration behind this idea and the extent to which the team has already worked to bring it to life. Now that you already started to build a team and recruit partners, we'd love to learn more about the unique value proposition for each player in this idea. Do you have specific employers in mind who would be interested in joining this initiative? You might want to consider interviewing a few companies and getting their insight into this concept. We are also curious to learn more about the experience for employers, university officials and students once the program starts and once it concludes. What is the specific role that the university plays? How involved are employers? What happens once the program is over? You might want to consider using the User Experience Map to help you develop the narrative from the user's perspective. Finally, we are curious to learn, what is the main goal for this initiative in the next three months and what are the next steps to achieve it? We look forward to seeing this idea develop further. Check out more tips for Refinement: http://bit.ly/oi-refine

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Team

Thank you team for the support. I and the team members are currently working offline to refine our user experience mapping tool.

Dave and Wekesa welcome to the team! Thank you for the offline contributions and collaboration.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Here are some updates regarding what I and the team are currently up to:

I have some written and voice testimonials from seven young professionals. I am synthesizing them and will identify great one s--those with insights speaking directly to our hearts and seek consent from them to share them on camera. I am hoping to do this over the coming week.

Today is our meeting day with the members of the team back in Kampala. I will ask for additional stories from other members. These stories are powerful and will help me select the greatest experience maps from the young professionals.

Next, two members of the team have volunteered to get to Kyambogo University and work through student associations to identify a few students--freshers and those in second or third year. of study. This will help us get more stories and see how the level of experience differs across the year of study.

We have drafted the tool for employers and have shortlisted potential ones to approach to interview. These range from hospitals, NGOs, food processing industries, Universities, hotels, health spas, gyms and government parastatals. We hope to interview these by next week in order to get their stories too. This will help us understand their experience map and willingness to partner with the centre.

I have done some literature search and have shared with Dave Zinsman (another OpenIDEO team member) to help me develop the journey map. I have updated the problem statement to add information on what the government and its parastatals are doing to address youth unemployment. Dave promised to share his thoughts today through google drive for all of us to see and comment before he finalizes the journey map showing the pain points that our idea is going to address.

Yesterday I contacted Sergio, whose idea https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/ideas/lifedesk-paid-project-based-learning-to-prepare-for-real-work-work did not make it to the next round but has some serious ideas I can borrow to refine our idea. Particularly of interest to me in his idea is the matching of youth to potential employers or market demands. He agreed to join us and is ready to share his ideas. I also officially added Wekesa to the team today. Wekesa has been working together with I and Leigh to refine the Pop Up Bus and The Innovations Centre ideas for the past 2 weeks or so.

I drafted the idea refinement issues and share with the team to help think through. I have also shared these with the local team and are receiving useful feedback.

Thanks to all. Let me get to the Creative Lab and get refining going....

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Team

Be sure to add all relevant information to your actual post. And you can now grab some challenge-specific Refinement tips here: http://ideo.pn/ye-refine-tips Looking forward to your agile refinement-moves to strengthen your idea for impact!

Photo of Dave Zinsman
Team

First draft of journey up! Collaborate on design here: http://www.betadigifete.com/icproject

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thanks Dave for helping the team with this. Looks great.

I suggest we include the coaching and mentoring element by the youth and employers.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Check out the young professionals discuss the idea: https://vimeo.com/104833910
https://vimeo.com/104835537
https://vimeo.com/104866593

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Team

i like it,thank
http://www.girlsgogamesflash.com
http://www.didigamecom.com

Photo of Rehmah Kasule
Team

Hey Alex. Congratulations, let's move the idea forward. Email me what I promised coz I travel soon.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thank you Rehma for all the support. I sent you the e-mail yesterday. Let's move forward with refining the idea.

Photo of Liz Duffy
Team

I like the specificity of your idea and the idea of youth taking action on their own behalf with experienced mentors. If it's technically possible to break up some of your posts that would make your plan more readable and accessible. Good luck.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thank you Liz for the encouragement. I have edited the posts and are synthesizing them to make them better.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

The fourth Pakasa forum held in Kampala and featuring president Uhuru of Kenya focused on Creating Opportunities for the Youth in East Africa. The forum concluded there is high need for soft skills for the youth while still in University and schools. This would prepare the youth for employment and also job creation. It was further emphasized the use of the coaching and mentorship would make the greatest difference.

I am glad the President and over 3000 youth and other leaders in attendance today realize the urgent need for these skills. This is in line with my prototype.

To check out other details from the forum, check https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Pakasa4&src=tyah

Rehma of https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/ideas/cathy-catch-them-young-inspiring-equipping-and-skilling-young-people-while-still-young-will-enable-them-become-job-creators

thank you for showing up in the forum and for the great discussions we had on how to move forward our two ideas as a team.

Photo of Rehmah Kasule
Team

Alex,
That is the website that I promised to send you for funding:
http://www.iie.org/Programs/WeTech/Seed-Fund-Application

Photo of Leigh Cullen
Team

Hi Alex,

Hands-on training for youth using real-world scenarios, while still in school, is a solid idea! I agree that there is power in youth teaching youth, supplemented with mentoring.

Ran across this article which may interest you. It suggests that education isn't adapting quickly enough to stay current with employment trends, or with the new types/categories of jobs being created. It gives examples of how people are starting to address this:

"Want a tech job? Study this. Advice from Mozilla, Reddit, Tumblr and more"
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/want-a-tech-job-study-this-advice-from-the-bosses-at-mozilla-reddit-tumblr/2014/07/30/41443afe-06f0-11e4-bbf1-cc51275e7f8f_story.html

All best!
Leigh

Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Hey alex, sounds like you are trying to set-up a youth-driven think/do tank? Is that an apt description?

Here is a short article to read which may be useful - http://www.ssireview.org/blog/entry/building_a_think_and_do_tank

I would love to help you refine the idea, shout if I can help.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hi Simon, it is more of a do thank with serious action. I am glad to have you help.