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Business Brain Storm Project - Encourage young people to suggest a new product for some of the top 100 successful US companies.

Then expand this project to companies world-wide. This project doesn't just have legs, it has wings! -- project that keeps on giving! Companies such as Hershey's; Johnson & Johnson; Google; Lego; etc. can get the ball rolling. Each company invites young folks to summit an idea for a new product or service in line with their company history and culture. The top 50 best-liked ideas (determined in-house at each company) on a Kickstart campaign, and agree to match some of the funds raised. The ideas that raise a determined amount, move into production at the company, with the idea creator becoming a paid intern. Interns contract to teach the skills they learn to small classes for one year back in their communities.

Photo of Robin Smith
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1. Companies host Kickstarter campaigns for their favorite idea creators.
2.  The ideas that get funded, get implemented, and the idea creator interns at the company for 1 year.  For the year following the internship, the idea creator shares the skills he/ she has learned with other youth in their community.
3.  The more companies, the more idea creators, the more winning ideas!
4.  The more winnng ideas, the more interns teaching in turn more young people!

The Brainstorm Project will work because it will be partly self funded by Kickstarter investors who essentially aim to 'preorder"  the idea or service of the idea creator whose idea they love.   The company gets a new produce or service idea, the idea creator gets a paid internship to further their skills, the idea creator's community gets a trainer to teach other local youngsters.  One idea, leads logically to the next and the next!

Resources may be limited for any one community, person or even large companies.  Brainstorm seeks to share the early investment in the ideas of the winning young idea creators, splitting the cost of bringing the ideas to life between the Kickstarter investors and the host company.  As the interns go back to teach others, others learn new skills and can use those skills to apply to jobs, or submit an idea in the next Brainstorm!


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

The main participants benefit, certainly the companies get proven new product ideas or service ideas, from Kickstart investors that say "I WANT this enough to pay now!" The Kickstart investors get to help the idea proceed, and gets in on the benefits of the idea early in the process. The world community gets new exciting products/ services, from the vibrant imagination of world-wide youth. The idea creator winners get their idea in action, an internship at a major company, and skills they can take away -- and share! Who benefits? Everyone!

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

Young people are brimming with ideas, and each youngster has their area of interest. As more companies become involved, the number of areas of interest grows -- allowing the idea creators to create a new chocolate idea for Hershey, a new Lego unit for Lego, a new twist on the lightbulb for GE,, or anything their imagination can create for the perfect Brainstorm company. Even those ideas not chosen are still out there, and could gain interest from other companies or investors. The fact that interns agree to share business and technical skills they learn during their intern year, means the education of their community rises, and with new skills job searching is easier too. As a preschool teacher wanting to teach shoelace tying to a class of three year olds, I had a terrific idea! I asked the children to raise their hand if they could already tie... then matched those that could tie, with those that could not tie into teams. The tie cans taught the tie can'ts faster than you will ever imagine! If three years olds have such joy and success as teachers of peers, what can be accomplished with teachers 15- 25 year olds teaching their peers? Everyone is changed who learns about and becomes involved as a company, Kickstart investor, idea creator/ intern or student of a winner intern!

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

A starter company could show the way, by being the first Brainstorm company to invite idea creators. They could limit ideas to first 100 ideas, then in-house bring that number down to 25 or 50 ideas for the Kickstart page campaign. The top winning ideas -- ideas get implemented, idea creators becomes interns, and later interns return home as teachers. Measures of success: Quality of ideas submitted Interest and contributions to the Kickstart campaign Success of the idea creator year of internship Success of intern as community teacher the following year Followup of employment of the idea creators, winners and students of the intern-teachers.

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

The OpenIDEO community can help to create the Kickstarter campaigns, spread the word about the companies involved as Brainstorm companies, their Kickstart projects and web urls, and of course their favorite idea creators; ideas! OpenIDEO community members may work for companies large and small that they may want to approach to be involved as a Brainstorm company. OpenIdeo could host a webpage where idea creators could get early feedback and suggestions as registered ideas, before they officially submit the idea to the company of their choice. Young people who are part of OpenIDEO and have an idea that does not fit a listed Brainstorm Company, could contact a company their idea does fit, and invite that company to join the project. The OpenIDE community could help the young idea creators reach the companies. Universities around the world could have Brainstorm nights, opening computer labs, libraries and other resources to young people that have registered an idea on OpenIDEO. Of course OpenIDEO community members can vote with their dollars for an idea or two on the Kickstart campaigns. They can also suggest other ways they personally can help the project; or suggest rewards they think would encourage more donations to ideas. They can put their goodwill and purchase power behind companies that step up to become Brainstorm Companies, and host the winning interns. (Kind of a Brainstorm seal of approval.) OpenIDEO community members can give me a shout out if they like the Brainstorm idea enough that they want to be a team member!

The idea emerged from:

  • An individual

How do you envision your idea being implemented?

  • Keen to be involved in prototyping but need partners at some stage


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jennifer Fong

Hi Robin! Great idea! This reminds me of my undergraduate business marketing classes where we would invite local businesses to come in, describe a challenge (i.e. how to design branding of new product, or new product ideas), and we have a set amount of time to develop a solution. Our professors would short list the ideas and then the finalists would present to a team of judges, including the business owners. It might be helpful to research some of these university models and adapt them for your idea!

Photo of Robin Smith

Jennifer, are you interested in joining the team? Love your idea and comments!
I want to make Umbrellas with the website url to this idea, and a brain and a storm, and send it to key companies inviting them to be a part of it.
Can you imagine what the opportunity to work with a company like Hershey's or GE, Apple or AT&T would be like? Heck I HAVE a job in tech and it sounds cool to me!
Join the team?
thanks for taking the time to comment with a terrific idea.

Photo of Jennifer Fong

Hi Robin! Sure - I'd be happy to join your team and help you think through these ideas! I think it's a great start and would love to see where it goes!

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