Two months ago, I stumbled upon this OpenIDEO challenge from an online Coursera class about global issues. The challenge looked interesting, so I submitted my story in the research phase. I wasn't expecting much to come of it. A few people commented on my contribution, and it was fun to have conversations with them. I knew I wanted to keep going.
The beginnings of Preflight started with a conversation in the research phase. I wondered how all students could get a glimpse of the opportunities provided by an internship in a low-stakes environment? What if this program could be implemented in schools, where it could give meaning to seemingly boring topics?
On the first day of the ideas phase, I submitted an idea called “Real World Challenges Visit the Classroom”. In the following weeks, I was blown away by the contributions and insightful feedback from the community. They challenged me to think deeply about all aspects of the journey, from the user experiences, to possible partnerships, to the expected outcomes and how to get schools and professionals interested.
The idea continued to evolve and take shape with help from the team. Even the name “Preflight” and the logo came from the community!
What have we learned?
The OpenIDEO community challenged me to get out of my comfort zone and talk to teachers, students and professionals about the idea. The feedback from all three groups was very positive. Here’s a glimpse of what we learned:
- Teachers loved that the idea connected their class to the real world, but wondered how the challenges could fit into busy class schedules.
- Professionals were very interested in speaking to bright students about their careers, but some wondered about the time commitment.
- Students were excited about meeting professionals, but some wondered if the professional was just using them to get work done.
These insights have helped to shape the idea into one that accommodates all three parties. The OpenIDEO community has been extremely gracious in sharing their feedback as well, from all three perspectives.
What is the goal?
The goal is to empower students to pursue a career that interests them by giving them connections, experience and opportunities through Preflight challenges.
We can measure this impact with numbers: students, challenges, ideas, professionals... as well as student stories.
Click here to add your thoughts to the idea page!
So much creative thinking has helped shape Preflight- it’s time for action. In order to move forward, I’d love to work with interested professionals, organizations, teachers and students in building specific challenges that we can test in schools. Are you interested? Let me know!