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Preflight: Real-world challenges in the classroom

Preflight challenges bring professionals into the classroom to engage with students through real world business challenges. The challenges give students a glimpse of career opportunities through role models, experience using relevant design-thinking skills and opportunities to further pursue their interests. I'm thankful for everyone that has contributed, and I'm eager to begin implementation! Let me know if you're interested!

Photo of Gavin Cosgrave

Written by

Check out the new website!

preflightchallenges.com


Thanks to Dave Zinsman for the logo and name!

 

​What problems does this solve?

  1. Students are unaware of the wide range of career opportunities available to them.
  2. Even if students are aware of career options, they might not actually know what skills and activities those jobs entail.
  3. Internships are a great way to get career experience, but they are difficult to get. How can we expose high-school students to career opportunities on a smaller scale?

Preflight workshops give students design-thinking skills that will be relevant regardless of the path they choose.

 

Here's how the challenges go:

  1. Organization representative comes into the classroom and gives background on the type of work they do and the type of skills they use. See the graphic above for some examples of organizations who could be involved. 
  2. The representative lays out a design-thinking challenge with the class, involving the type of work done in the organization. See the graphic above for some examples.
  3. In the following days, the teacher guides the class through the steps necessary to solve the challenge. 
  4. On the final day of the project, the professional returns. The students present their ideas and recieve feedback. 
  5. Finally, the professional gives some next steps for those interested in that type of work. This could involve research, community organizations to check out, classes to take, or even internship opportunities. 

User Experience Maps!

What’s the value for John, the marketing manager?

  1. John deals with young people, as customers and product users. The workshops offer a chance for him to connect with current and future customers and learn about their values.
  2. John gets a chance to excite and inspire the next generation of about his work and build a positive reputation among his company's possible future employees.
  3. John gets fresh opinions and insights about overarching challenges he faces.
 

What’s the value for Sally, the English teacher?

  1. She gets to connect her curriculum to the real world, making school relevant and boosting student engagement and learning. 
  2. Her students practice relevant problem-solving and creative skills that will help them succeed in their future
  3. She helps to inspire students to pursue work that excites them
  4. She gets experience with the design-thinking framework, which can help her tackle a variety of other challenges she faces as a teacher


What’s in it for Greg, the student?

  1. Exposure an exciting career option and knowledge about the type of work
  2. Practice using universally relevant design-thinking skills
  3. Opportunities to build a connection with a professional and explore follow-up options for the industry


Professional Empathy Map: Big thanks to Bettina for all of this feedback! 
Here are the survey results, out of 20 people:
  • 50% "Yes"
  • 25% "Maybe"
  • 25% "No"

Insights:
The respondents were overall interested in the idea. One interesting insight is that their participation may hinge on whether they were hosting a challenge as a favor to someone they knew. If schools reached out to their parent network, this could make professionals more likely to come on board. Some professionals wondered if youth would even be interested in their work.
The feedback was very positive, and I am confident that there is a large pool of professionals willing to share their passion with students!

Click the picture to view it larger!




Teacher Empathy Map: Based on feedback from school staff, teachers and OpenIDEO community members, I've compiled an empathy map from the perspective of the teacher. 

Insights: 
Teachers and school administrators were very excited about the idea. The biggest challenge would be fitting the challenges into a crowded school schedule. But, everyone agreed that bringing in a professional to host an educational challenge is a fantastic way to learn. The problem of class time could be solved by modifying the challenge approach. See this document for the approaches. 

Click the image to view it larger!

 
I've started a Google Doc as a place to brainstorm challenge questions. Check it out and add your ideas! Preflight Challenge Ideas Google Doc

Next Steps:
  • Test in a school!
  • Develop a website with teacher training videos, challenge resources, and a thorough explanation of the whole process
  • Pursue partners for implementation and scale

Scale: How can we spread this idea?

Stage 1: Planning and testing (almost completed) 
Develop the idea and spread the word. Have conversations with all three stakeholders and develop a plan for implementation at my school. Reach out to professionals who can test this in thier area. 
Stage 2: Running local challenges 
With a solid plan and a school to test, we can run a few challenges in different classes. The challenges can again be refined to make them more scalable. 
Stage 3: Scaling to new schools 
Using the results from the early Preflight challenges, we can pursue partners to spread the idea and develop a time framework for a successful challenge. Possible partners could include Teach For America, Classroom Inc, The Cooper Hewitt Museum, or another large corporation with many city offices. These partners could reach out to schools in their area to host challenges. I believe that having professionals and organizations directly contact schools is the best way to spread the idea and convince schools to get involved. 

Measuring Impact: 
What metrics can be used to measure the program's success?
  • # of student participants
  • # of challenges
  • # of professionals
  • # of projects completed
  • # of different schools

    Student stories can also be a powerful way to measure impact. 

Based of feedback from the community, I've compiled a list of different approaches to running the challenges. Different situations may require different variations of the challenges. Check out the document here: Preflight Approaches

What are the next steps for implementing this idea?

The next step is to take action and prototype Preflight in schools! Please let me know if you are a professional interested in hosting a challenge at a school, or an educator that wants to bring this idea to your school.

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

Greg is a high school junior who loves video games and soccer. He gets average grades in school, and isn't too concerned about his future. One day, in English class, a video game user experience designer named Trevor comes into class and poses a challenge: "How can we make the perfect video game experience? Write a story describing your experience in the perfect video game." Greg is thrilled to see Trevor; he never knew how his interests could translate into a career. He normally doesn't like writing, but the thought of imagining the perfect experience excites him. The next week is the most fun week of school he's ever had, and his teacher notices his improved attitude. At the end of the project, Greg talks to Trevor about his interests, and Trevor offers him a day to come shadow him at work. Trevor is excited by Greg's passion, and offers him a chance at a summer internship. The Preflight workshop showed Greg an exciting career possibility and launched him into the next phase of his future.

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?

See the benefits for each user below their experience map.

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

Students are exposed to the thinking behind real-world business challenges. The learning that takes place in the workshops will give them confidence about their careers, open up new possibilities, and help them prepare for a job that interests them.

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

So far, I have spoken with school staff to validate the idea. Everyone was very positive, and I am confident that we can implement a challenge in a class soon. The biggest challenge for schools may be deviating from their planned schedule for an unknown experience. Bettina graciously contacted some of her professional contacts, and the response was very positive as well. The biggest challenge from the professional side seems to be time, but the majority of the respondents were willing to get involved. Aaryman, Gabe and Matthew have participated in similar challenges in college, and reported that those classes were some of their favorite. Kedar at Gap Jumpers uses the challenge model for companies to hire. I feel like the general idea is validated; we just need to test in the classroom and modify the challenges accordingly.

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

Are you interested in helping to test these challenges in schools? I'd love your support, please let me know!

The idea emerged from:

  • An individual

How do you envision your idea being implemented?

  • Keen to prototype it, find partners and pursue implementation
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Team (17)

Leigh's profile
Dave's profile
Jeanne's profile
Jeanne Callahan

Role added on team:

"Welcome, Jeanne!"

Gabe's profile
Matthew's profile
Aaryaman's profile
Aaryaman Singhal

Role added on team:

"Welcome!"

Gavin's profile
Eliza's profile
Sergio's profile
Kedar's profile
Bettina's profile
Liz's profile
Liz Duffy

Role added on team:

"Welcome Liz! Your valuable insights as a high-school principal are much appreciated!"

Vanessa's profile
Vanessa Counaert

Role added on team:

"Thanks so much for your valuable opinion about how you'd run a challenge. I'd love to have you on the team!"

diane's profile
diane walton

Role added on team:

"Welcome!"

priyanka's profile
Aparna's profile
Aparna Bhasin

Role added on team:

"Welcome!"

Åselinn's profile
Åselinn Heimdal

Role added on team:

"Welcome to the team, Aselinn! Thanks for sharing your story, I'm excited to have you on board!"

View more

Attachments (4)

User Experience Maps.pdf

The most recent version

Different Approaches document 2.pdf

Preflight Approaches updated

Professional empathy map.jpg

Feedback from professionals

Teacher empathy map.jpg

Feedback from teachers

234 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Youngkoun Choi
Team

That is awesome! Congratulations!

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Photo of Selassie. K. Amenorhu
Team

Hello,
Thanks for the great idea. I am associated with DOSOC(Do Social) and will be glad to have some interesting collaboration when our app comes to live. Will be glad to get feedback from you

Spam
Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Hi Selassie,
I'd love to hear more about what you're doing! Thanks for your interest!

Spam
Photo of Selassie. K. Amenorhu
Team

Hello Gavin, Sorry for my delays. We are a group of seven (7) people from the Netherlands, France, Ghana and the United State. We got to know each other through the online course of NovoEd/ IDEO on Human Centered Design. We want to teach entrepreneurial skills (online) and build a strong supportive international network as a base for an independent future for refugee. The reason for this idea is that we believe refugees can bring along any kind of education from their past and still not always find work in his or her field when he or she enters a new place to live. But he or she can always set up a business of some kind. So having good skills in this field betters the chances of success. This will enlarge the chances of building up an independent and sustainable living in many different places (as it is unsure where his or her future settlement will be). Hence, we are challenging the status quo of saving refugees passively, the way we challenge the status quo is by empowering refugees to help themselves in a creative way by providing the basic knowledge and the support network to experiment with entrepreneurship. We think building a strong entrepreneurial culture among the youth can reduce unemployment. Currently, my team is working on step by step easy worksheet to guide young people and refugees learn entrepreneurial skills. IDEO and the IDEO community will be helping my team with the ideation worksheet. Will keep you posted of any development. Thanks for your response.

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Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

OMG! Just saw your website – nice work!

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Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Fantastic work Gavin! I was inspired to see how you had developed Preflight from the perspective of being both a user and innovator. I think you have a natural entrepreneurial spirit to take this idea far!

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Thanks for your input throughout the idea, Shane!

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Photo of Åselinn Heimdal
Team

I totally agree with Shane. As a new member of OpenIDEO this is one of the best ideas I have come over so far. Keep up the good work!

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Thanks Aselinn, and welcome to OpenIDEO! I should have some progress updates soon, and a new website. I always appreciate feedback!

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Photo of Åselinn Heimdal
Team

Hi Gavin,
Thank you!
How is your website going? is it up and running yet?

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Just got it up!

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Photo of Rong Jun Li
Team

Hi, i like your idea, i suggest that creating a exclusive online platform may be helpful for attracting more professionals and schools to engage to your Preflight challenges.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Hi Rong!
Thanks for the feedback, I just got the website up!

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Hey team!

Preflight now has its own website! I'd love your feedback as always. Check it out:
http://www.preflightchallenges.com/

We are currently running the first Preflight challenge in a journalism class I'm taking with Jeanne Callahan. Stay tuned for more updates!

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Photo of Paul Brown
Team

A nice idea especially user experience map for professionals and organizations.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Hi Paul! Thanks for chiming in and welcome to OpenIDEO!

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Photo of priyanka botny
Team

Congrats Gavin and Team!
It was mind blowing to interact with Gavin and I m eager to see how it will transform. BesT!

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Thanks Pri,
It was awesome to see how much your idea evolved as well! Congrats, and have fun in California! Thanks for all of your feedback and good luck moving forward!

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Photo of Jeanne Callahan
Team

I'm working with Gavin to potentially test Preflight in his journalism/yearbook class this fall in Davis, CA. Who else would like to be involved, either in person or virtually?

Our immediate need is to develop a timeline framework to use for planning and implementation of the Preflight. If anyone can point me to one that may have already been identified in the comment thread or elsewhere, please let me know. Or if you'd like to draft one for our use, please do so. We're looking for a template or format that we can use for the test challenge and then modify once we go through the process so that future Preflight challenges can leverage our experience.

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Photo of Jes Simson
Team

Hi Gavin and the Preflight team! This is a phenomenal idea and I can't wait to see how it grows. I am particularly inspired by the learnings you gained from your experience maps, and the similarities and differences between students, teachers and organisations.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Hi Jes!
I'm excited too!
We're working on getting a challenge going at my school. A good number of people have expressed interest in possibly implementing with their company or program. I'm excited to move forward. It was definitely interesting to learn about the perspectives of different groups.
Thanks for pitching in!

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Photo of diane walton
Team

So great to watch the growth of Preflight. Lookig forward to prototyping!

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Thanks, Diane! How do you envision prototyping where you work?

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Photo of diane walton
Team

I have shared with people who work with youth service providers and await their response! I want to have two community-based organizations that serve kids with a job angle, use the model, see what works for them. Will keep you/all posted.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Awesome, Diane! Thanks for taking action! I'm excited to see what happens!

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Photo of Vanessa Counaert
Team

Gavin, A big congratulations to you and the team! Keep up the good work and let me know if I can be of any help ;)

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Thanks for your support Vanessa!
The next step for the idea is to test in classrooms. You had a great idea for a challenge as well as the way you would implement. Would you be interested in working with a local school to run a challenge, or developing training materials?
I'd love to get in touch, feel free to send me an email at gav.cos10@gmail.com

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Photo of Rebecca Grubman
Team

Hi Gavin and team,

I like the idea, and I think that there is an opportunity to further streamline the program to make it easier to integrate in the classroom. I spoke with a few friends who are teachers to get a sense of their time and activities and realistically, although many would be excited to introduce some experiential learning activities in their classrooms, I think the current step in the process where teachers would work directly with professionals to plan the activities could be a major hurdle. I love your idea of creating a training module to help teachers better prepare to facilitate experiential activities in the classroom. I think you would see greater engagement and uptake of the program if teachers instead have the option to choose challenges or activities off of a menu online in a platform. This way they can get general training once, but then have few barriers to choosing a challenge to implement in the classroom.

The goal of this initiative is to build opportunity for students and I think you can offer even more touch points for students. Rather than just waiting for a professional to come to a classroom and put together a challenge for students, why not a platform where students can design and submit challenges that others can participate in, rate, compare outcomes, etc.? (Basically an OpenIDEO platform for the classroom/school/etc.). Teachers can even tie a portion of participation grade or overall grade to participation and contribution to the community and challenges.

The experience map for the student is well articulated. Great job!

Day 6 of challenge: would be great to have students present to each other and potentially allow students to participate in the feedback.

Great contribution and best of luck!

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Thanks Rebecca, I appreciate the feedback!

Do you think it would be good to have a required teacher training on hosting a challenge? That would probably improve the experience, but it would also add to the time on their part. Maybe if it was just like a 1 hour toolkit pdf, something they could just read...

I like the idea of basically just having schools participate in OpenIDEO challenges. I don't think it would be realistic to create a new platform, but that would be an awesome way to learn. There are some types of challenges out there: robotics, Google science fair...

I also like your idea of having students present to each other! Thanks for the support!

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Photo of Rebecca Grubman
Team

Hi Gavin,

I agree that a required training could be burdensome (particularly in person), but teachers will likely feel more confident and empowered to lead challenges if they receive some preliminary coaching and support. Rather than a PDF, a training with short and engaging video clips could work well (e.g. by topic such as 'Getting started--how to use the platform'; 'Choosing the right challenge for your students'; 'Supporting your students through the challenge'; etc.).

There is a platform I stumbled upon a few months ago that is similar to your idea. I'll get back to you if I remember the name of the company. Congrats on the challenge!

Cheers

Spam
Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

I think short videos would work great as a way to train teachers!

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Photo of Kedar Iyer
Team

Excellent result Gavin and team! Great to see the ball in motion for some serious impact. Congratulations :)

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Thanks Kedar,
I've loved working with you, and I can't wait to keep going!

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Great job leading the team to develop the idea Gavin!
Go Preflight! Congrats all!

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Photo of Leigh Cullen
Team

Gavin, A big congratulations to you! Can't wait to see how you evolve the exciting days to come.
Super job! Hats off to you.
Leigh

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Thanks, Leigh!
Your dedication, collaboration and action on Pop Up Bus really inspired me!

Congratulations to you as well! I'm excited for the next steps as well!

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Photo of Vanessa Counaert
Team

Hi team! I love the contributions!

There is a step in the process that intrigues me. The one just before John contacts the school with his challenge. How would John know about the program?

Should the point of contact in those organizations be Human Resources (they could be the catalyst and communicate with the various departments, they are also managing internships so there could be some synergies)

What resources are HR currently using (online, offline, communities, events). Are there any channels that can be leveraged?

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Vanessa,
That is definitely an important issue. The conversation just below is kind of focused on a similar topic; you might want to check it out.

I think there are multiple options for how "John learned about the program", which I talked about some below.
I like your suggestion that the HR departments of organizations could help spread the idea.

I think that it might be better for professionals to contact schools than the other way around. I think a school would be more likely to get on board if a professional said "I want to come to your school".

Maybe, professionals could sign up as a "Preflight instructor" (not quite sure what the requirements for that would be).
After they actually host a challenge, they could be asked to reach out to 5-20 people they know that might be interested in this initiative. They could share their experience. Even if just 2-3 of those people actually followed through, it would still spread rapidly.

The "Preflight team" would answer questions and help professionals and schools with the process.

In this way, it could start small with just a few professionals, and spread exponentially. The important part for using this system would be having a really clear website and resources to ensure that the challenges actually work.

What are your thoughts on this? How could this work with all the differences between schools and professionals?

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Photo of Vanessa Counaert
Team

Hello Gavin,

I like your idea of the "Prefilght instructor", if this could be backed up by some type of recognition for the individual that would be great. I'm actually thinking about leveraging Linkedin for example.

I also like your idea of spreading the experience. I think the Preflight instructor could indeed talk to colleagues of different departments about his experience (HR could be a partner here).

I also agree that developing a digital platform (website, blog, social media) would be key to the project at many level (branding of the initiative, leveraging material, experiences,...)

23 hours to go... I cross fingers!

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Vanessa, thanks for sharing!

I like the idea of just certifying people based on experience. Maybe just like 5 years industry experience... I don't want to make it difficult or involve much effort.

Let's imagine a professional says, "Great, get me involved!" What would the next step be?

Maybe:
1) Contact local school and say "I'd love to come to your school and do a Preflight challenge. Check out the website to see what it's all about."

2) Then, the professional could say "I'm interesting in hosting x type of challenge because ..... Where could that fit into one of your classes?"

3) Preflight team, professional and school collaborate to determine schedule and specifics.

I think having the professional contact the school and working from there makes it more real and credible than some unknown "Preflight team".

What are your thoughts on that method?

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Photo of Vanessa Counaert
Team

Hi Gavin,

It would be nice if participating schools would be listed on the website so that the professional can easily find the school. This would also participate to the creation of a network for teachers.

Cheers,
Vanessa

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Photo of Aaryaman Singhal
Team

Hey Gavin,

This is a great idea and as the comments show, there are variations of this idea around but probably not in high schools. So I think finding a way to make this fit for a high school classroom and/or expanding this type of thing in colleges would really be beneficial. Since similar programs exist, these may be places to start for prototyping.

At my university, businesses often sponsor what we call "case competitions," or "case comps" for short. Here's how a case comp works:
1) A business partners with a school organization to host one. Student leaders in the organization do all the planning/logistics for the event --> developing their leadership skills.
2) students sign up for the case comp in teams of 4 (if you don't have a team, sign up by yourself or a friend and get matched with others). To enter, you must submit a resume to the host
3) Business presents a problem to you they are currently facing (or faced a few months ago). You receive the problem on a Monday (usually).
4) Team spends lots of time doing research and using classroom concepts to address the issue throughout the week. This usually means work in Excel to do financial analysis, industry research to understand the context better, researching what other companies have done in similar situations, and coming up with an idea to address the problem.
5)That usually takes until Thursday/Friday then the teams begin putting together a really really good PowerPoint presentation (some of them are almost like watching a video), and practice, practice, practice for the 25 minute presentation in front of professionals from the company. Team members will ask each other as difficult of questions as possible to prepare each other for the judge's questions.
5) On Saturday morning (after a sleepless night of preparation), the team will make it's presentation and go out for breakfast. The judges will call sit with every team for 15-20 minutes and provide feedback. Finalists are chosen to present again after lunch. The questions will be harder in this round.
6) Finalists meet with the judges again for feedback. Winners are announce and get prize money. (from the company). Generally winners are determined by their presentation skills with some consideration for the quality of their solution (I think this should be flipped but it's really the experience that counts).
7) Keep in mind all the work done by the leaders of the student organization hosting the case comp (reach out to company, set up case comp, determine dates, book rooms, advertise case comp, answer questions throughout case comp, etc.).

Businesses win because they get insight into what students are capable of (helps them with recruiting), they prepare students for jobs at their company, they get to meet with these students and talk with them, they have the student's contact information if they wish to offer an internship/job. They also get exposure to the university through the case comps advertising and get to work closely with leaders of the student organization hosting the event. They also might be able to use some or build on some student ideas.

Students win because they learn about the industry, the learn to work in teams, they constantly strive to improve their presentation/research/problem solving skills (Some students do 3-5 case comps per semester). They see what other case comp teams have done and learn from that. They meet representatives from companies.

Drawbacks:
These case comps are very time intensive and competitive. They are also judged on presentation skills more so than idea quality.

My school also recently started offering another type of case comp a few years back which I'm planning on doing next semester. This one is over the course of 8 weeks. I don't have all the details but here's the gist of how it works.

Some students set up a student org to host a longer case comp. They invited local nonprofits and startups to apply as sponsors. These organizations pay a small fee (I'm guessing $100-$500) if selected. Each sponsor is given a team of 4 students to act as consultants over the 8 weeks. The sponsor has a specific problem it is trying to solve. The student teams each tackle their sponsor's problem to the best of their ability.

At the end of 8 weeks, the students present to a panel of judges, who also receive evaluations of the students from the local nonprofits/startups. Students are judged based on the outcomes they created for the nonprofit more so than presentation skills. Winning teams get prize money (the small fees the orgs pay) make up the prize money I assume.

I think the incentive in this case comp is that the cash-strapped business trying to grow or nonprofit trying to help people is able to essentially bring in 4 part-time workers to solve a specific problem temporarily.

Hopefully this gives some sense of what is working and what the incentives are for businesses/nonprofits to partake.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Aaryaman, Thanks for sharing! I checked out your profile, and I'm interested in a lot of the things you talked about.
The case comps sound like a great way for businesses to get new ideas and for students to build skills.
Also, I should have shared this in the research phase, but there's this thing called "Linked Learning" where high school students enroll in a career pathway (engineering, medical, arts) and take electives specific to that pathway. It also connects them with professionals and helps them get internships.
Check it out here: http://linkedlearning.org/about/

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Photo of Aaryaman Singhal
Team

Hey Gavin,

I looked at linked learning. It's pretty cool. I know in my city, they had magnet high schools for different professions like health and engineering so it's similar.

I looked at your profile as well. I think it's great that you're already thinking about issues like this in high school and have a good sense of what your interests are. As someone in a business school full of ambitious students, I have to keep reminding myself that life isn't all about money. Keep finding ways to do what you love.

I thought I'd answer some of your questions as well:

What would be the best way to test this? Go to your favorite teacher who likes you. Give him/her a lot of context about what OpenIdeo is, this challenge, your idea, and how it was featured because a global community thought it was valuable. Ask if they'd be willing to try this. If they say no, go to your second favorite teacher and try the same. Don't get discouraged. Try your third favorite after that.
With "so many standards to teach" how would teachers fit this into their class plan? I know how high school can become all about meeting the standard. This is tough. I think your best bet is to start with a few teachers who are really good. The ones who don't teach to get their kids to pass but their kids do great because they make learning so much more exciting than knowing the right answer. Even if every classroom doesn't bring in professionals, even 3 or 4 of these experiences in high school would be great.
What classes would this go well with? I don't think there is any reason to limit this by class. But try to match contents to careers. So math and engineering, biology and medical, history and politics, English and journalism, etc.
Would businesses really get involved? I think you might a hard time convincing a large company this is a good idea right off the bat but you'd have a good chance of convincing one professional this is a phenomenal IDE (which it is!) and getting them to volunteer for this with their career.
What do you think? Don't be afraid. Go for it. Make it happen. It's totally possible. You might hit a person who stiffs you but if that happens, try to work through another person.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Thanks for all the encouragement Aaryaman! I really appreciate it.
I'm actually pretty confident that I would be able to get support at school. My school is a smaller (120 per grade) and uses a project-based learning model, so they already focus on teaching soft skills and getting kids "career ready." I mentioned the standards thing, but luckily for me, that doesn't really apply to my school. Also, I'm pretty sure I could find some professionals, just in friend's parents. I live in a college town, so people are pretty learned. So, I don't really have any excuses! :) I'll keep working on it!
Want to be on team?

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Photo of Aaryaman Singhal
Team

I'd be honored to be on the team!

That's awesome Gavin. My university curriculum is very project, paper, and group-work based. I think the group-work aspect really make the curriculum far more valuable than other curricula but projects and papers add a lot as well.

If you don't mind me asking, how did your school come to be used a project based model and avoid the standards?

I love college towns. I lived in one until I was 13 and my life has always been oriented around a university because my dad's a professor.

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Photo of Aaryaman Singhal
Team

Also, projects and group-work go together most of the time.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Yeah, so my school is a free public charter school started ten years ago. Everyone gets computers. English and History work on the same group projects most of the time, and there are about 6 during the year. The first week or two of each project is mostly just learning the content/reading the book, then the next few weeks are making the final product (could be video, powerpoint, scrapbook, website, trial (courtroom-style), speech, museum exhibit, etc) Instead of tests, we have presentations. We still write some essays in English, and writing is often incorporated into the project. There are mini-assignments throughout the project, and sometimes even one week mini-projects, but the biggest grade is the final presentation.
Math and science are a little more traditional, although there are a few projects in science.
For grading, there are like 6 categories: curricular literacy, critical thinking, written communication, oral comm., and collaboration. There are plenty of individual assignments, but the final projects are a group effort.
I like it; it allows for more leadership, creativity and soft skills.

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Photo of Aaryaman Singhal
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Good to get that background from you. It sounds like it's much more "real-world" than a lot of other schools. :)

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Photo of Aparna Bhasin
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Hi Gavin,

I'm brand new to OpenIdeo and am just getting caught up on the challenge. I found your idea both exciting and practical and was hence lured into the conversation.

I work with teachers and schools in urban and rural India, and have spent alot of time focusing on project-based/activity based-learning. One of the universal problems cited by teachers on integrating new ideas is the lack of time and the need to "complete the syllabus". I've found that integrated learning serves as a useful tool, and may fit well with the idea. As Aaryaman mentioned, matching the career/professional challenge to perhaps multiple classes; this would spread the time across multiple classes and the workload across multiple teachers.

Also would be happy to talk a teachers from a variety of schools in India on their thoughts and suggestions.

Excited to see how this unfolds :)

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Hi Aparna, Aaryman and Gavin.
Sounds like the teachers in India are faced with the same time constraints regarding fitting things into the syllabus as they are faced with in the US.
I did not read Aaryaman's post until now. (sorry Aaryaman) Integrating a challenge into several class subjects sounds very interesting. It is also lends itself to bringing in a few different professionals across disciplines as well. Very real world! Logistically this sounds more difficult to set up, unless the school likes the idea and a leader there pushes it as an innovation going forward.
Gavin - what do you think? It might be great to start to create a document with the different approaches to your idea that the community is discussing here in the comments. Prototyping will involve one approach but it might it be helpful for readers here, and for stakeholders, to see the broader picture as to what the possibilities are?

Aparna - It might be interesting to have a challenge related to education itself. Perhaps even a challenge around Gavin's idea. This is something that might really get the stakeholders invested. What do you think? Any possibility to create something like this in India? Sounds like you are working in this field.
For a high school student to be included in a conversation/challenge about his/her education might be very empowering. Thoughts anyone?

Gavin - I also have feedback from a few more professionals. I will post tonight!

Bettina

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Aparna, Welcome! Thanks so much for getting involved in the idea! It sounds like some version of this idea could be a good fit in your work.

I'd love your thoughts on what would make this implementable for the schools you work with. It would be awesome if you got feedback from teachers!

Bettina, I like the idea of creating a document with possible different approaches for the idea. I'll get something going. The challenge will be having different approaches while not deviating from the core of the idea. For example, does it count as an approach if the professional comes into the class but there is no challenge? Or if there's a challenge but no professional? Thanks for your support.

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Photo of Aparna Bhasin
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Hi Gavin, Bettina,

Thank you for the warm welcome. I also like the idea of creating a document on different approaches, of course you would probably need to set parameters in order to ensure the main goals of the program stay intact. I also have a few thoughts on what would make the idea feasible for implementation with reference to some of the education institutions I've worked with both here in India and in parts of the US.

1) I read somewhere in the comments on this idea the suggestion of an after school project, and the problem that it would cater mostly high achieving students. Along those lines, perhaps it would be interesting to target remedial education programs. They cater to students who are often defined as "at-risk". Moreover the reason that many students end up there is because they are disengaged from the classroom, and perhaps a real-world challenge could spark some interest.

2) It would be key to get the principal/headmaster/school board, or whoever the decision maker is on board. We've been taking a lot of new, different initiatives to schools accross India, and when the decision maker is excited by the idea, it seeps down to the teachers as well. I think offering different approaches so that it can be tailored to the needs of the school (maybe eventually and not at the prototype stage) is usually a big buy in point for administration.

3) Another thought that I have read somewhere on this page is partnering with other organization, for example Teach for America (and maybe teach for all which is the global entity). I remember meeting with an organization called Junior Achievement; a part of what they do is bring professionals to classrooms over the semester to speak with students, and If I remember correctly the same professional returns multiple times. It would be interesting to get in touch with them on trying out the idea, as they have the logistics already covered.

Just some initial thoughts, hope they are helpful. I am speaking with a few teachers this evening, and will get back to you with their thoughts.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Aparna,

I checked out Junior Achievement. They look awesome, and really similar to this idea. Thanks so much for sharing! I sent them an email.

I definitely agree that getting school administrators on board is key. In my mind, they might be the ones to take the idea to teachers, rather than teachers directly being contacted if that wasn't natural.

Thanks so much for reaching out to teachers!!! I added you to the team!

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Photo of Aparna Bhasin
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Hi Gavin,

I've emailed a couple of teachers and administrators in my network will get back to you as they respond!

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Photo of Aparna Bhasin
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Hi Gavin,

Excited to see all the additions to the idea, especially the document with different versions (will send you thoughts on that soon). I heard back from a teacher who has taught in numerous different settings both in the US and elsewhere, and have summarized her thoughts below:

1) It would be very important to have everything ready to go for both Sally and John; including things like the project structure, the evaluation framework, the goal setting paperwork etc. For people who have minimal time available or can invest minimally it would be key to have a pre-packaged course guide to ease the process

2) And then stress that of course everything can be modified or adapted as desired by the teacher/principal/organization/student; as those with more time/investment would want this project to blend well with their current programming.

3) Provide individualized support - this would be essential for both types of users: those using the prepackaged and those wanting to re-design around their curriculum.

4) There are a large number of high schools in the US that are starting to move towards a career foci, with the push back on "everybody must got o college" mentality. These schools would be a good place to start, especially less traditional schools that would be interested in using this as a part of their core curriculum.

[As a side note she also suggested that it would be good if the names and images of the experience map characters could express more diversity].

Expecting to hear back from a few more teachers over the weekend. Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Hey everyone,

I've added a document with possible different approaches to the challenges. https://d3gxp3iknbs7bs.cloudfront.net/attachments/eca78d9d-d8ac-40c5-8f8a-2442ff7d2ee6.pdf

Which approaches would be most enticing to you as a student, a teacher, or a professional? Which would be the most implementable?

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Photo of Vanessa Counaert
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Hi Gavin,

I like the following 3 :
- Classic
- Elective class (there is a framework and motivated students. Those 2 elements reassure me as professional)
- Professional ecosystem. I could see some additional benefit for the professional to reinforce the relationship with his stakeholders by going into the challenge with them (and it could only positively impact the quality of the challenge' outcomes).

Again, great work Gavin! I'm very impressed! ;)

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Hi Gavin and team.
I just sort of fell onto this app which is being developed as part of a challenge... it is very interesting. At the bottom of the description it says ...
" We are inviting local career professionals to add their stories, and will be creating experiential learning challenges and internships with local companies."
http://dreamseedo.splashthat.com/

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Wow, that looks awesome! This sounds like kind of a combination of a few ideas here: Dave's Book of Lifelong (L)earning, Daniel's Delfee, Pri's Social Getwork and the challenge aspect from this idea.

Thanks for sharing! I'll let them know about these ideas!

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Photo of Sergio Marrero
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Hello Gavin, Just looked at the updated visuals. The page looks great. I think one more add or place to elaborate is on the funding/sustainability of the project as it continues and grows. I know I had mentioned this before, but I think it really differentiates ideas between one another when they identify sources of funding to understand how they are going to feed themselves as an organization. You might have ideas or placed them in another document, but I did not see it. Any ideas on this front?

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Sergio,

Hmm. I'm not a financial expert... The way I see it, the idea in its simplest form doesn't need funding. But obviously, it would need some capital to scale out.

I wonder if a partner organization could fund it. I have a few examples in Stage 3 of the Scale section.

What would the funding specifically be for? The human resources of having someone work on it and introduce it to new places? Marketing it?

What do you think would be an ideal partnership? Would it be better to have an educational org (eg Teach for America), a large business (like PG&E), a nonprofit (museum)...?

I would appreciate your input. Thanks!

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Photo of Sergio Marrero
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Hey Gavin, Not a financial expert, but glad to help with the business model. The question I would ask yourself is 'who is paying for what?' Non-profits typically have a 'development department' that asks donors for money, BUT there is a push for sustainable business models from donors and investors alike. Even Teach For America 'charges' for their service. They recruit top talent from universities, train them, and help place them in vacant positions for teachers in school districts. Schools PAY for the recruit if they are hired. This funding sustains the organization along with the donations from beneficiaries.

So 'who is paying for what?'

In the Teach For America example the school district is paying for qualified and trained talent.

For this idea maybe the companies of the professions can sponsor the project and pay for the output of the students? I agree, these partners or organizations can pay, but I think they need to be the companies the professionals work in.

That seems like the most viable, but you can also have models where the students pay for the training, the school is paying for the coordination of career focused activities integrated into schooling (they are essentially paying for a portion of the schooling to be completed for them). This model is used by Nuvu studios(https://cambridge.nuvustudio.com/discover) where private schools 'outsource' a semester of schooling to a group of students. Also even if you are solely focused on fundraising donors are still paying for something, they are usually paying for 'impact' and want the outcomes measured in a representative fashion. Even if Teach For America funds a project they require rigorous metrics quantifying the impact and outcomes to students connected to their core mission. Examples of measurements of performance in this case are: inputs: cost/student, training hours /student, outputs: number of students placed in internships, total training hours, estimated impact to math and reading test levels.I know the 'donor' model is most common, but I would push to think beyond the 'donations' model as it is similar to most non-profits and there is room to do things differently.

An example of doing things differently is Teach For America, as I mentioned, the Lance Armstrong campaign a few years ago that 'sold' yellow bands to raise money, TOMs shoes that sells shoes at a premium to fund the philanthropic activity.

There are many variations, but as a guide I would think about the 'who is paying for what?' question. Someone is always paying. Hope this helps.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Thanks for your input.
I agree that it's probably most viable for the professionals' organizations to pay. (I don't think it's realistic to ask schools to pay, especially in the beginning)

But who are they paying? Is their payment just the time to spread the idea and hold the challenge?

Should there be a central "Preflight website" or staff that needs payment for their time?

I'm still not quite clear on who would be receiving the money, or if there are necessary costs other than time to coordinate.

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Photo of Sergio Marrero
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I would say that is up to you. Who is leading the pre-flight initiative with students? Is it the teacher? The school? An outside non-profit? Who is making the connections besides you? Once you run a pilot how do you envision making sure things happen continuously without you? Do you imagine there being staff to coordinate bringing professionals into schools beyond teachers? Software?

If you imagine staff in the school or outside the school or a third party besides professionals and schools leading the 'Preflight' project and growing it, then I would say 'Preflight' as an entity itself. If its an initiative that schools are leading and they are 'owning' it from start to finish then schools can collect the money and it can fund the supplies and teacher/s + additional support needed to make it happen. It goes back to the 'Who is leading the pre-flight initiative?' question and keeping it running... that person/entity would be who gets paid and sustains the project.

Another way to think of it is, there is an exchange every time something is purchased.
-You go to the store, get a bottle of water and you pay the store. The store delivers you the water.
-Schools hire candidates and pay Teach For America (TFA). TFA delivers the quality candidate to the school.
-In Preflights case, if professionals are paying for the project output from students, who is delivering the project feedback to professionals? That will answer your question of who pays to sustain the initiative.

Does that make sense?

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Hi Sergio. Interesting discussion here! Can you clarify what you mean by "professionals paying for the project output?" The way I interpret PreFlight is that professionals will come in on a voluntary service oriented basis.
Gavin, Sergio and team - Do you see the challenges as a means to develop an end product for an industry to use in some way? My reading of PreFlight is that this is a program to educate youth on their path to employment.
I am also curious as to whether you are planning to have "winners" for these challenges Gavin, or is the process itself the primary goal? I do not know what the culture is in high schools around something like this. Is this something you are planning to clarify when you prototype it?

Sergio - What is your thinking as to why there might be a need for a third party to be involved? Would that be for marketing purposes? As it is prototyped perhaps Gavin and team can develop a toolkit that can then be open source and shared with educators outside of his school - initiated by educators there, and/or Gavin/team - as a service to scale the idea. Do you think this would be effective?

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Sergio, I think you raise an important question: Who is leading the Preflight initiative?

As I see it, the three options would be:
1) Schools
2) Professionals
3) The "Preflight Team"

1) I think the only possibility for schools to lead would be to have schools reach out to the parents of students and ask if they (or someone they knew) would be interested in hosting a challenge.

2) I'm not sure that organizations would be able to single-handedly spread the idea. I think it would be great if a larger organization could host challenges in a variety of locations where they are located. Would it be unreasonable to ask a business who has already hosted a challenge to see if they can get another professional from a different industry to join?

3) The "Preflight Team" option would be the most feasible, especially in the beginning. Their "service" would be matching schools with professionals (or schools with the idea if we wanted to use the parent connection model). They could help answer questions and keep things moving.

Maybe they could ask for some payment from professionals after the first challenge? I don't imagine that the idea would need payment in the early stages. I see the idea more like Bettina stated: where professionals volunteer time to do this for students. I don't think there is an expected outcome. Actually Tim Brown mentioned this: that if organizations go into the class looking for concrete and usable outcomes, they might be disappointed. If the come with the attitude to teach and mentor students, the outcomes might follow as a bonus.

What are everyone's thoughts on the three possibilities for leading the initiative?

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Photo of Dave Zinsman
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Hey Gavin!
RE: thoughts on initiative leadership

My advice is that your team needs to own it--period.

I see where you're at as not who will manage Preflight--the Preflight team will manage it. I feel like what you want to think about is coming up with the structure of different stakeholders, and how those stakeholders work together to create value. The first step to figuring out how to deliver value is understanding exactly what value you're delivering.

If you look at the entire spectrum of goods and services, it doesn't matter if you're talking about the provision of public goods, commodities, consumer goods, services, or anything in between--no good or service is sustainable if it doesn't solve a very specific pain point for people.

One way to think about it is:

Solutions solve problems.
If a product or service does not solve a problem, it is not a solution.

What pain point could Preflight solve, and for whom?

When you find the most compelling answer to that question, you will know
1) Stakeholders
2) How those stakeholders can be incentivized

Once you know those things, you can start to map out stakeholder incentivization, roles, and ultimately your value chain.
-----------------------------------------

Here's an example:

Take for instance a MA in Education candidate at a local university.

What are likely to be the top 3 pain points for that persona?
Probably something like this:

1) Make my CV as competitive as possible so I can work at my school of choice.
2) Make my CV as competitive as possible so I can work at my school of choice.
3) Make my CV as competitive as possible so I can work at my school of choice.

How much would that MA in Education student's CV benefit with this on it?

---> "Taught design thinking to eighty-five 4th graders at XYZ elementary school."

-----------------------------------------

The above example identifies how Preflight could propose a compelling "solution" for a very clear "pain point" that specific people have. If you take it further, how could you start shaping Preflight operations?

Think of building on the above like this

---> "Received a certificate of commendation from the principal of XYZ elementary school for exceptional performance in teaching design thinking to eighty-five 4th graders."

Do you start to see the stakeholders, and how to incentivize them?

Anyhow, in conclusion:

A) Your team must own Preflight.
B) You'll want to think about clear problem-solution as described above.

Hope this helps!

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Photo of Sergio Marrero
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Hello All,

Great conversation. I think the three options make complete sense. I think a separate team would be great to lead the initiative as Dave suggests, but I think if it does meet core teaching standards and a template lesson plan is produced for the classroom, it may be easy for schools (teachers and administrators) to own.

Gavin, when you say 'I don't think there is an expected outcome', this concerns me a little bit, but I think it may be the way we both are communicating it. You might not expect a 'specific' outcome, like 'three students are going to become engineers' from an engineer coming to speak to the class, but an example of an outcome may be 'exposing 30 students to a professional engineer and the field of engineering'. Maybe the better way for me to communicate it is 'goal' instead of outcome. This complements Dave's last comment about having a 'clear problem-solution'. I understand it is unclear what the exposure may cause, but making a clear problem-solution with goals and types of anticipated outcomes so you can attempt to measure and communicate impact would be beneficial. You want to know how many lives you are effecting and in what ways!

Bettina, What I meant by "professionals paying for the project output", IF all projects are a group of students working to solve a 'design challenge' for the organization the professional is from you would have 'outputs' from that challenge. Examples can be presentations, defined concept areas, a list of ideas, prototypes with differing levels of fidelity, ect. I was suggesting that if the organization is paying for 'outputs' from the students to fund the initiative if you intent for 'PreFlight' if you anticipate you will need funding for coordinating connections between professionals and teachers, design challenge supplies for the classroom, ect. If you don't want to grow it or establish a group that is coordinating connections between professionals and teachers to serve the students and envision it happens organically and requires no ongoing support, then you would not need funding, but if you do, that was my suggestion for a source. Do you have other ideas for potential sources?

Just to clarify what I meant by a the initiative 'being lead by a third party' is what I meant by your third option of The "Preflight Team" leading, assuming that team is a set of individuals different than the school, students, and professionals. You don't need to do it this way, but it is an option.

As it stands it seems like more of a program teachers would choose to do or not do. Is that correct? If this is a the case, I love the idea of develop a toolkit as it would make it easy for teachers and schools to 'plug and play' into there work.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Dave and Sergio, I really value your inputs here!

Dave, I see what you mean by "your team needs to own it". I think that would be the way to go, especially in the beginning.
I like your example for an education student, but I think for the majority of professionals, the "pain point" is a desire for purpose and impact that teaching and inspiring students could deliver. If the professional loves their work, they would likely be motivated to show others why they love it. Thanks for the problem-solution tip also!

Sergio, thanks for catching me on the "expected outcome" line. I see that there is definitely an expected outcome. I'll add some metrics for evaluating the impact.
Thanks for clarifying the funding part. The professionals would be the best source of funding if that was necessary.

I think a toolkit for teachers would be great! I know there is already a design thinking for educators toolkit; we could build off that.

See my comment on Vanessa's post above. What do you think about that process?

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Hi all.
Thanks for your clarifications Sergio. Between your post and Dave's the three possibilities for leadership are clear.
Regarding funding I did not consider supplies etc. Thanks for pointing that out. Needs would vary from challenge to challenge. If there is prototyping of objects that could factor in as a cost. I wonder if a local business might sponsor a program like this as they do other aspects of local school culture, like clubs and teams?

The conversation around output and motivation interests me as I have a different perspective here. The folk I questioned all represent organizations or career paths however they all also represent themselves and I believe when I asked if they would involve themselves in this project they answered personally not as representatives of their workplace. So if a friend who is a scientist participated he would participate voluntarily and come personally, not as a point person for his place of work. This is not uncommon. Professionals do volunteer in the community in different ways. I think that is a different point of view. So perhaps this is something to think about. How to include individuals and organizations? What benefit might each have for PreFlight? What might motivate individuals vs. organizations to participate ? Check this comment thread below - It seems to be a related discussion.
(Patrick Donohue August 09, 2014, 11:55AM)

Regarding motivation and pain points. Does one have to have a pain point to want to give back to the community or to youth starting out? Can engagement be seen as opportunity instead?

Great conversation everybody!

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Hi Gavin. You posted while I was writing! Your explanation of pain points in the context has helped clarify it for me. (see my query above).

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Photo of Shane Zhao
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Gavin, I'm loving the impressive progress with your idea! I was just thinking, would there be a way to prototype Preflight at your school? Now that school is back in session, it would be great to see if you can form a student chapter of Preflight and invite some local professionals to speak to the group. This would be a great way to gain feedback from your peers and gain additional support from the faculty at your school. I think your natural entrepreneurial spirit can help integrate this idea into your school's full-time curriculum!

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Shane,
This past week, I talked with one of my teachers and our school's internship coordinator. They were both really supportive. I'm taking a journalism class which is pretty open-ended, so it was suggested that we test a challenge in there. It might seem like it's easier to get a group of students outside of class, but I actually think it would be possible (and even easier, planning wise) to go straight to the classroom at my school.

Actually, there is a senior project at my school in gov/econ where teams "start a business" (eg write a plan, do marketing, plan finances, etc.) I found out that our school actually brings in entrepreneurs at the beginning of the project to talk to students. It would be a natural next step to integrate professionals into other projects and implement other challenges.

I'll try to get a meeting with some students, teachers and a professional sometime soon. It'll take a little work to get a professional, but we're on track.

What would be awesome is if you found professionals that were willing to do the challenge every year; then Preflight could be fully integrated into the curriculum and you wouldn't have to change it every year.
Thanks for the feedback!

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As nice as it would be to have a reliable source to get the ball rolling, I think it may be beneficial to have different people each year. It could expand the network of people available and create more pathways.

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Photo of priyanka botny
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Gavin,

I was also thinking about integrating Pop-up buses - as classrooms and Preflight - as the medium in developing countries. It's simple and easy. We need to bring a team of cool processes to convey experiences and know-how to people who lack awareness. This time I will be in India for 2 months (Nov-Jan) and I wish to make presentations (paper) to women about hygiene conditions and the disease implications. There are also rural schools which lack facilities. It would be a good idea to give them the channel to make this happen in their schools too. The major impact here will be that the students by themselves will co-create their school learning.
How can you support this project? I will have little access to internet. Can we prepare for this pilot so that I can give you the situation in these areas and you can design a hygiene system for these women. Also have you heard of "home grown businesses" ? I plan to implement this in my trip. Let me know.

Thanks,
Pri

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Pri,
It would be awesome if you could test this idea in India! What are you thinking? What would I need to do? What would we need to prepare? You can email me at gav.cos10@gmail.com

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Photo of priyanka botny
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I did Gavin.
Lets test a pilot in the time frame. I can also talk to my team there.
I am thinking if you could design the course materials for women hygiene and home grown business awareness for these women. I can give you some useful insights about what they do, how they spend time and what they can do if they learn these important lessons and apply them to their lives.

We simply have to connect them to the women. At first, we can gather information on women hygiene and list all the low cost necessary things that she needs to keep in mind. The team here can act like professionals in hygiene for Preflight and prepare the hygiene program. I am specifically looking for constructing lowcost toilets in a small village (this has been a pending task for me when I was a student) secondly, the materials that they need for keeping themselves clean etc. You can do a research on this - I can spend some time with you in giving you some insights.

Let me know what you think on this and I can go ahead and give you relevant matching information.
Best wishes!

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Photo of Shane Zhao
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This sounds very exciting! Gavin, perhaps Priyanka can be one of the first entrepreneurs that you can feature in a test pilot of Preflight at your school. In addition to bringing in business owners from your local community, you might also be interested in engaging with some of the contributors that you have been collaborating with so far on this challenge. Any one of these great initiatives could be potential examples of how Real world challenges can be brought into a classroom. Perhaps there might be an opportunity to engage with Priyanka or another contributor over a live video chat for the first Preflight session. Especially since you're also an expert on this challenge as well!

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Thanks Shane! There are quite a few people on the team who would serve as great professionals in the idea. Jeanne has offered to come to my school, and I'm working on that now. Priyanka would also be great.

Do you mean having a video chat with the professional instead of having them come in as a way to make it easier to test?

I think I'm finding that with this idea, it's difficult to do "small, quick prototypes". I think talking to the stakeholders is a great way to test if it's going to work or not, but the only way to really know what will happen is to test this in a classroom. I'm optimistic that this will happen soon though! I hope to at least have a plan for a real challenge up before the challenge concludes.

Thanks so much for your ideas!

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Hi Gavin,

I'd like to follow up on a comment you made earlier today regarding your idea to test the challenge at your school. I'd like to offer my assistance as a business professional. I have recently moved to the SF Bay area and may be able to schedule a few hours of my time on a couple days to participate in the classroom activities. It is my understanding that you are in Davis, CA, which is about an hour or longer drive from my location in Richmond.

I'd like clarification of the topic and class curriculum for the test challenge. In your comment you mention a journalism class and gov/econ class.

"...a senior project at my school in gov/econ where teams "start a business" (eg write a plan, do marketing, plan finances, etc.) I found out that our school actually brings in entrepreneurs at the beginning of the project to talk to students."

"I'm taking a journalism class which is pretty open-ended, so it was suggested that we test a challenge in there."

If you are looking for a professional to help with the "start a business" project, then you will find my background of interest. Between 2002 and 2012 I started, purchased, and sold several small businesses on my own or in partnership with others. I have also worked as a mentor with college level students enrolled in Entrepreneurship classes. I coached 4 teams of 6 students to create and test a new business idea in their community (over the course of a semester).

Look for my email address in my profile if you'd like to discuss my participation in more depth outside of this exchange.

Jeanne

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Jeanne,

Thanks so much for offering to help! Your email wasn't visible in your profile, you can email me at gav.cos10@gmail.com I don't know that much about the senior business project. It sounds like that would be a great fit for you. We can get in touch with my school's internship coordinator who sets up those people. I wonder if we could do a challenge in a different class, though? It probably wouldn't be as closely related to the curriculum as in gov/econ... A marketing challenge could be scaled to English or Journalism (we make and market the yearbook). Anyway, thanks so much, excited to pursue this further!

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Got it. I just sent an email to you with my contact information.

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Photo of Vanessa Counaert
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Hello Gavin, congratulation on your work so far, very impressive! You've asked professionals to tell you what challenges their organisation face. I'm a marketer in healthcare. Recently I read about a mother feeling helpless about her son not adhering to his treatment. This is not just one case but a common problem we've observed with teenagers. My challenge would then be, how can we make teenagers comply better with their treatment? The benefit for the industry is that the medicine is being used, the benefit for the patient (and the one who cares about him) is his health, and the benefit for the class would be to participate to the development of a service/system/platform/campaign that could be used to foster treatment adherence. However, for products that are not mass market, it adds an extra constraint for getting the user perspective. How could the class get the patient perspective in this case? Of course, you could always restrict your system to industries with mass market product (and of course a teenager segment as you explained in your proposal). What do you think? I hope this helps! Good luck!

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Photo of Vanessa Counaert
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One more thought on a different aspect of your proposal. What about adding the possibility of a summer internship for the students? Your project is a great way for industries to get to know the candidates and consider them for summer internship. In addition, such candidates would already be more knowledgable about the industry and so more efficient/motivated when they join. Finally it would be a nice way for the industry to show gratitude for the time the students have invested in developing a solution. What do you think? Again, good luck further refining your idea! Vanessa

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Thanks for the challenge idea Vanessa, I added it to the google doc!

Adding the possibility of a summer internship is definitely a great next step. Kedar at Gap Jumpers works with this challenge model for hiring. They have had companies host challenges at colleges that lead to internships.

The way I see it happening, there are different levels of next steps that the professional can choose, based on their interest.
The first level would be just online classes, stuff to research...
The higher level would be a job shadow day, mentorship opportunities or an internship.

Thanks!

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Vanessa,
Great share. Will you be willing to go into a classroom and work with high school students through this challenge? What will you require to do this? What end result would you like to see?

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Photo of Vanessa Counaert
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Dear Luisa, If I were to go ahead with the challenge here is how I would do it :

1. Contact the patient association to put me in contact with a student willing to go on that adventure with his class (we would then address the user perspective I mentioned before)

2. I would actually use the design process and divide the challenge in 4 assignments. The students would team in group of 2-3 people to foster collaboration and value.
a. (articles to read + exercise to check they understand the process) - to be submitted online
b. research phase - to be submitted online
c. Ideation phase - to be submitted online
d. refinement phase - 2 days face to face workshop (over a WE)

For a, b, c, I would work with an agency (such as IDEO) to provide the students with the learning material and the guidance, as well as review their submission from a methodology point of view and provide them with feedback (all this off-site / online).

I would review the submissions from an industry/healthcare perspective (off-site) and my point of contact (as well as the student's point of contact) till then would be the project leader (the agency).

For the refinement phase, both the agency and myself would be on site. We would have selected the most promising idea and the class would then work together (and with us) to refine it and prototype it.

The agency's role could be replaced by the teacher if the teacher is familiar with the methodology. Maybe there could be some "train-the-trainer" online sessions for teachers or a "moving" specialised teacher.

Does it make sense?
Vanessa

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Photo of Kedar Iyer
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Thanks for your expert perspective on how you foresee your engagement for a challenge involving high schoolers.

Do you already host any real world challenges with external entities/ educational institutes? If so, how do those interactions or engagement look like in terms of process?

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Photo of Vanessa Counaert
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Hello Kedar,

I have been part of such a challenge as a student during my master course but not as an organiser. While we enjoyed being exposed to an industry we were not familiar with (and the company enjoyed the fresh perspectives), I have to tell you that the concepts we developed have not been used. The reasons are :
- too forward thinking (we got a bit too excited by certain technological possibilities)
- lack of understanding of the industry's realities and limitations

To dedicate resources to those projects, I think certain companies would want to have a guaranteed outcome, that's the reason why I suggested to work with a recognised intermediary that could hep develop the brief and guidelines, facilitate the process, and guarantee valuable outcomes.

I hope this helps!

Cheers,
Vanessa

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Vanessa, the issue with teenagers complying with treatment may be about the treatment itself. One side of the ball is the nature of being teenager which involves pushing against any authority is available to testing the existing boundaries of the parent and establish one's own. The other side is the nature of medication itself which is more about addressing symptoms rather than curing illness. Especially areas of mental health, it seems that medication seems to numbs, cause new diagnoses rather than alive the problem at hand. It may be that teenagers are a little more sensitive to these dynamics and would be more responsive to integrative models, which actually look at illness as a collection of symptoms (which in mental health it almost always is) and to use nutrition, therapy, somatic work, stress management, sleep and other interventions that address why these symptoms are there rather than trying dose them.

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Photo of Matthew Wilson
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Vanessa, yes companies want guaranteed and even predictable outcomes. Thats part of the problem. It seems they would get better outcomes if they took more risks, and pushed the envelope a little bit. This can be done by limiting financial outlay and have strict deadlines for the project. If we cater programs to the desires companies have, we inevitably won't meet their needs, which go hand and hand with choosing predictability over risk taking and exploration, which working with students can offer.

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Thanks Matthew, I agree we should look at health issues from a humanist and comprehensive perspective.

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Photo of Anne Markel
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Hi Gavin!

We are a group of passionate designers sitting in a cafe in San Francisco discussing your brilliant idea! Thank you for giving us the opportunity!

A few questions and ideas we came up with to solidify your plan:

1. Who is your end user: culture, age, gender, geographical location, etc.? All of these answers will help you to refine your plan of action.

2. How do you integrate your plan into an already busy and often jam packed school year? Weekends, during the week? Also consider schedule of professionals.

3. Explore financing.

4. How do we train professionals and teachers on design thinking and education so that they engage students appropriately?

5. Do you utilize classroom space or outside spaces, ie fields trips at companies or renting out a large space that you can use more creatively?

Thanks!

~ Erica, Aaron, Giovanni, & Anne

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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I'm honored that you discussed the idea!

I believe #2 is the most difficult to solve. I feel like the main problem for teachers would be fitting it into their schedule. See Liz Duffy's comment down a little. She's been teaching an design-thinking semester course for a few years.

About getting professionals and teachers on board with design thinking, I feel like a quick overview would suffice. I feel like design-thinking is really just an extension of the way a business would attack a problem. The design-thinking process is still important to the challenge, but I think really solving any problem for an industry expert is beneficial regardless of if design-thinking is emphasized.

In what phase of the idea do you see financing being necessary, and for what resource?
The actual idea doesn't really require financing, but if we were to scale, I think the main cost would be time, to connect schools and professionals. What are your thoughts on this?

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Oops I didn't read your response until after I submitted my comment, but in my experience, getting professionals and teachers on board with design thinking can be a little tricky. It is definitely a shift in the way one approaches a problem. The best way to know how it works is to participate in the process, which would be more in depth than an overview.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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What time commitment or activities do you think would be necessary for teachers or professionals? What resources would you recommend?

I get that participating in a design-thinking challenge is the best way to learn. But that might not be possible for busy teachers or professionals?

One gray area of the idea, in my opinion, is the level of specific design-thinking steps in the challenges. The low end would be just having research, brainstorming, prototyping and refinement phases. The high end would be having a full design-thinking intro for students, teachers and professionals. I think the design-thinking part should be interwoven into the challenges, but I think the main focus is solving a problem with a professional.

What level of design-thinking do you think would be best?

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Photo of Erica Wong
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Hi Gavin,

First off, I want to say that I'm really impressed with your idea. I clicked on your profile and was quite surprised to find out you were 16! Great work.

I was part of the SF OpenIDEO meetup last night and I have a couple of additional thoughts!

Value add for marketing manager/business: an opportunity for good PR for a company if many of their employees participate.

Things I thought might be interesting:
1. Hosting this at a company vs. school: change of environment can be exciting, get to see/touch/experience the workplace
2. Have multiple people from the same company with different roles participate
3. Have some sort of preview/choice of different career options

But great idea overall!

I worked at a nonprofit where this was kind of our model for field trips. We would bring students to companies like IDEO, Google, Chevron, etc. I could definitely expand more on this idea if you'd like.

Key challenges:
-training the professionals to work with young people. Some people have experience with kids, and some DO NOT. And the worst thing is getting an adult in front of kids that just doesn't have the presentation skills/know-how. You don't want kids to hate a career b/c they think that person is boring.
-training teachers to facilitate design thinking challenges. Teachers are accustomed to very structured learning, so how do you get them to be comfortable with ambiguity.

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Photo of Eliza Rosenbaum
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Erica, it was great to meet you at the SF Meetup last night! Thanks so much for being part of it.

I wanted high five your provocation on the potential for hosting these events onsite at corporate offices. It's an incredibly powerful experience for a young person to witness firsthand what a corporate setting looks and feels like - especially youth from lower income communities whose parents might not be working in white collar jobs. I used to plan volunteer projects for companies where we'd host workshops like financial literacy for high schoolers, and we'd always make sure they were held at the company offices (and would build in the opportunity for a tour, of course)! Thanks for lending your expertise and insights!

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Photo of Sergio Marrero
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Erica,

I think your insight is right on. I think teachers are key to making this successful.

I sent a note to Gavin recently (which I will add to the googledoc Gavin! Great idea) and his response is below. Do you have any thoughts?

My questions:
•Are teachers contacted directly by professionals? What is there incentive to engage with professionals giving the other demands (core standards, standardized testing, ect.)? Is there a way these ‘challenges/projects’ can align with core standards?
•I would say a teacher would need to give core feedback on how to make this piece work as THEY are the link between students and professionals
Looking through these feels like a lot of work for teachers, just my perspective, maybe the project type could be standardized at first and include a lesson plan for the class and link to the core standard it meets so it is ‘ready to go’ off the internet.
•Added the activity during the project as I imagine they are the ones facilitating the interaction
•Teachers are core to the success, I am not a teacher, but I would imagine the better this integrates with the curriculum they have and how ‘plug and play’ the project is the higher the rate of adoption will be

His responses?
•I’m not sure if it would be best to have pros
contact schools or teachers... How would they
know a teacher? I’ve wondered the same thing
about the standards. Some people have said
“you don’t want to dumb it down to the
standards” but I think it’s a really valid point.
With the new Common Core standards (in
California) there is a bigger emphasis on
application and not just knowledge, so that
could fit in. It would take some careful
examination to make the challenges relate
super closely, but making it clear that Preflight
will aid your students in the class, not waste a
week of time.
• Agreed, working with teachers would be the
only way to really align it.
• I actually don’t think it’s that much work for
teachers, especially if we had a premade
challenge framework. (Eg Day 1:.... Day 2:....)
•Yes, I definitely think the teachers are
facilitating the middle (and main) part of the
challenges, guiding students through the
stages.

Love it if you would share your thoughts to keep the dialog going and see how we can run small tests/pilots/prototypes to help the refinement of this idea!

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Photo of Liz Duffy
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Great maps and I like your new name and logo too. I'm the head of a private school and I've worked with public school districts too. Others are right that it would be difficult to embed this idea in the core curriculum, but 1) many high schools, both public and private, offer electives and 2) you also might consider structuring this as co-curricular activity or after-school club. I've taught a one-term design thinking elective at my school for the past five years, and I've also taught the IDEO methodology to a co-curricular engineering-related student organization which is using it now to help us become a zero-waste school. I'm happy to send you a link to my syllabus, which might give you some ideas. I'll try to post the link in another comment, but if that doesn't work, just send me your email and I can send the syllabus to you directly. My course is not employment-focused, but sections of it could be easily adapted for that purpose. Good luck further refining your idea, Liz

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Liz,
It's really cool that you've taught a design-thinking course.

My one question about making Preflight an elective or a after-school thing is that it might cater to high-performing students who are already interested in that type of idea. Many students easily fill their electives with arts/language/music, etc. People can fear the unknown... design thinking would definitely be an unknown for the average high-schooler.

Back to the MERLIN program, http://goo.gl/8SKr2v I think there is value in lower-performing or disinterested students engaging with a professional and learning the design-thinking method.

Because of the common worry of fitting the challenges into the curriculum, a possibility would be having a relevant professional come in to kick off a unit correlating to their profession. ( a physicist for physics, a writer in english, or even a more casual link) The activity they do with the class could be shortened to a day or two... In general, I think the less class time, the less design-thinking process and skill building, but you could still get most of the inspiration from the professional.

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Photo of Luisa Fernanda
Team

Great Share Liz,
What will it take for you to incorporate Preflight into your school? Will it be possible for you to get insights from teachers on the idea? Feedback from the different players in this idea- high school students, high school educators, industry mentors – is incredibly valuable as it challenges assumptions and inspires ways to try it out.

Preflight team,
At OpenIDEO we encourage everyone to support ideas by taking their own stab at carrying out an experiment. For example, the Pop Up Bus team is partnering with other individuals in the challenge to encourage them to prototype their idea in different parts of the world.

Check it out: https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/ideas/pop-up-bus-and-boat-mobile-workshops-that-pop-up-in-communities-around-the-globe-building-pathways-and-employment-opportunities

Anyone from our community is encouraged to take any idea, prototype it within their own environment and share back insights and suggestions to move forward.

Awesome work and excited to see how this idea starts to take shape by being experimented with potential users.

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Photo of Liz Duffy
Team

I'm a high school principal so I applaud your effort to make it easier for high school students to get internships and learn about careers. I love your experience maps too. You might check out Classroom, Inc, which is a technology company that develops work-based computer scenarios to develop students literacy skills. Putting their scenarios online has allowed them to reach hundreds of thousands of students. You might be able to partner with them and/or you might learn from their 20-year experience. Good luck.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Thanks Liz! I sent them a message! I'll let you know what happens.

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Photo of Luisa Fernanda
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Awesome conversation,
Liz is this idea something that students and teachers at your school would be interested in? How do you think Gavin can go about introducing this idea to his school's principal?

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Photo of priyanka botny
Team

Gavin,
I love your E-Map... It is brilliant!
Keep up the good work.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Thanks!
Yours are really impressive as well. I like the idea of using all the time teens spend on social media and the internet to connect them to job opportunities. There's so much data that could be gathered, you could get a really interesting product.
Keep up the good work yourself!

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Photo of priyanka botny
Team

Thanks too!
I made some amateur videos for the problem solving using games and gamification. You may be interested in introducing to the class : http://botnypriyanka.wix.com/gamethinking/host#!videos/cy4b

This idea will be immediately adopted in India as I worked with schools that do not have access to internet and this idea can be a virtual internet for kids. We need not use high tech facility for this case. For the Design-Thinking refresher - we could use work sheets and saved pdfs or printouts. ;)

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Photo of Liz Duffy
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Here's the link:

https://docs.google.com/a/lawrenceville.org/document/d/1N_etZk29aN28qVbL52_9swa838Xn6xtUjB_oP16beBo/edit

If it doesn't work, just email me at eduffy@lawrenceville.org, and I'll try sending it directly.

Liz

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Photo of Daniel Kolodziej
Team

Amazing experience mapping dude! I love the simple style and how it tells such a well thought out story!

Cheers

Dan

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Thanks Daniel!
I'm loving all the great thinking and mapping on Delfee! Let me know if you have any quizzes to test!

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Hello everyone!
I'm trying to brainstorm ideas for challenges... I'd love your ideas and feedback on this google doc (also posted in the idea): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ueJ0qdvgPLTQHQQYjJdBWDy2-uBZzhSjSK-tf58pLho/edit?usp=sharing

Thanks!

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Stellar idea and presentation Gavin! Shane lead me here to see your experience map and I am so glad he did! They are great but it is the idea! Wow.
Thinking about scaling up - I know that museums in NY have many educational opportunities for teachers - they also have programming for school groups - but they do have workshops particularly for teachers. How about researching the programming of some museums in different subjects and offering this idea to them as a workshop? Here are two associations I just found online that are aggregates for museums in their fields. Perhaps there is a museum near your home you can contact?
http://www.astc.org/index.htm - Association of Science and Tech Center
http://www.childrensmuseums.org/ - Association of Children's Museums

I love that experience map. What tool did you use to make the map? Would love to try it out sometime!
I posted an idea on the site that involves networking and making connections between youth via participation together in a program. Would love to include your workshops in that idea.
https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/ideas/the-power-of-ten

Awesome work! Have fun rolling it out in your school!

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Bettina,
Thanks for the museum recommendations! Do you mean having museums host the challenges? If so, independently, or in partnership with schools?
I can definitely see the benefits of getting them involved. You could have a history challenge to "design a museum exhibit" for the museum. Actually, our school has a few projects like that, but they don't connect to a real museum. Still pretty engaging, though.
To make the experience maps, I actually just used Apple Pages. It's not even that great of a program, I think Publisher would work better, or Photoshop, if you know that platform. Besides the text boxes, I found the people clipart on a clipart site on a free trial.
I'll head over to your idea right now! Ten is like my favorite number!

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Regarding museums I was thinking that they provide educational resources and onsite educational workshops for teachers. They have workshops to teach teachers how to incorporate material and educational approaches into their classroom work. This is the work that museums do with teachers that I thought might be aligned with your project. Your project is a tool to bring real world work/ industry challenges into the classroom. How to get the idea out to teachers so that they can bring this into their class? Let them learn about it at an educators workshop in a museum. They can then carry the idea forward and share it with other teachers.
Example - If a science teacher attends a workshop at a science museum which explores how to encourage youth to engage in science as a career path might they find your idea interesting? They can suggest your project as one way to inspire youth to pursue science as a career. Bring a science researcher into the classroom and do a challenge with him/her?
The Cooper Hewitt Museum in NY is a design museum. They have developed workshops for teachers that teach them how to incorporate design thinking into their classrooms. http://www.cooperhewitt.org/2013/09/24/design-in-the-classroom-supports-the-common-core-standards/
Here are some links to educator resources at museums to get a feel for what is out there.
http://www.metmuseum.org/events/programs/k12-educator-programs
http://nysci.org/projects-main/explainers-folio/
http://nysci.org/programs-main/teachers-folio/

I like the idea of hosting a challenge at a museum! There are many possibilities with that museums being places that are all about discovery. Perhaps the challenge can be interdisciplinary?

Museums are definitely places interested in education. Perhaps just trying to set up a meeting with someone in a museum's education department to discuss your idea might be a great place to brainstorm how to scale this going forward?

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

and thanks for the tips about the user experience map!

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Cool stuff! There is a smaller science center in my town. They could at least have a bank of science challenges for teachers to use. That could be a really easy way to get part of this idea implemented.

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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That is great Gavin! Also talking to educators who educate teachers, such as the educators at museums, can give you ideas on how to propose incorporating these challenges into the classroom environment.

One of the questions that the OpenIDEO team is asking you to think about during refinement is how will teachers incorporate your idea/ the challenges into their lesson plans? Have you considered investigating what careers one can apply different class subjects to and building on that information thinking about how a teacher can incorporate a challenge into that class?
For example - Here is a link that lists careers that one can apply a background in physics to. Perhaps a teacher would be interested in having a section on "applied physics" as part of the course? A lesson which relates what students are learning in the classroom, to what they can learn experientially from meeting a professional who uses physics in their work as they work a challenge together? Can the professional benefit because of the excitement the challenge will generate around his work ? Perhaps there is a kid in the class who wondered what the point of physics is anyway and why they needed to sit through that boring class for a year. After meeting this professional and experiencing the challenge, which focused on a real world problem, his entire point of view changed and he/she followed that path. Who knows what the results can bring. (And for many professionals seeing what their work sparks in the eyes of kids makes their day. It is energizing and reminds them of what they love about their work.)
http://www.physics.org/article-careers.asp?contentid=435&hsub=1&type=study&pid=404
(I just googled physics + careers)

Just thinking...
Great project Gavin! Looking forward to seeing how the story continues...

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

I added you to the team!
Having a resource with careers that connect to classes would be a great place to start. There's lots of online sites with jobs for a specific college major, so it wouldn't be too difficult to connect them to more general high school classes. It would probably be best to only include the most relevant fields, so that it's not overwhelming. Maybe the top 10 or 20 for each class. We could make a google doc or spreadsheet with all the connections.

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Excited to join team PreFlight Gavin! Thank you!
Great idea to collect the job ideas. One thing I noticed myself from scanning the fields that physicists work in is that there are many possibilities that one has no idea about - ex: I love maps. Cartography is on the list of career possibilities for physicists. That caught my eye immediately. I learned something and am intrigued. Is there a way to be inclusive when you make these lists with the idea being that students can be exposed to the unexpected? or perhaps the unexpected happens at the first point of contact as in your experience map - "I didn't know a doctor did that."
How about a student wish list? I think of a box in the school lobby where one drops in their "If I could interact with.... profession or ....... company/organization for a challenge it would be ........." For your peers the "wish box" might be virtual.

Thought- Adults working in certain industries find jobs via recruiters and head hunters. Colleges also have recruiting events. How about turning that upside down. Students become the recruiters. How about a team of "reverse recruiters?" A student group/club/team who focus on connecting, networking and bringing in the challenge participants. A roadmap could be formed as part of your toolkit and they could work from that? Maybe there are parallel teams. Team 1 is reverse recruiting. Team 2 is a student/teacher team working on researching challenge questions. The teams interact as one informs the other.

Scaling up - Have you heard of Teach for America? https://www.teachforamerica.org/why-teach-for-america/training-and-support/summer-training
They are a non profit that trains and places teachers all over the country often in impoverished communities. These teachers did not study education in college. Many come from other professional backgrounds. Teach for America has it's own training institute. Maybe an organization to explore as a partner for your idea? (Not sure of their exact approach....)

I like Jeanne's idea of an ecosystem. I would add to this to consider an interdisciplinary approach. So maybe the challenge becomes problem focused and the class brings in 2 professionals from different industries but working on a common problem. This would be a true real world approach. This is inline with Matthew's comment below (Matthew Wilson : August 12, 2014, 00:52AM)

What are your thoughts? I also saw your conversation with Aaryaman about having these challenges as it's own elective class. Any further thoughts in that direction? Lots to consider here with all of the great collaboration thus far!

Fun stuff Gavin! You have a great team working with you. Will check back going forward!

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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I'm loving all your great suggestions.
I think the perfect way to do this would be to have a whole elective class. The class could first recruit the professionals, then participate in the challenges, then hold them for the rest of the school. But, that probably wouldn't happen unless the school had seen the benefits that the challenges could have. It would definitely get students more involved.

I agree that it would be really cool to have two professionals from different industries with the same challenge. That would give students the chance to get two industries in one challenge. It would be really good because there is no way you could cover every industry with a challenge; it would take too much of the school's time.

About the suggestion box, that would be a great way to get some student input. Then, you could reach out to a professional and say "All these kids want to learn about your work!"

I'm actually feeling pretty confident now that we could get professionals to participate in the challenges. I actually think getting the schools on board might actually be harder. But, like all things, if you can prove your potential with real results, the partners will follow.

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Good morning Gavin!
Great that you are feeling confident about engaging professionals for your project!

Now teachers - Perhaps share "the story' - what will happen - perhaps including your current ideas for recruiting them? Use this to get their feedback. What do you think? Prepare something to show your favorite teacher or two or three at your school. Do you start this week?

Go back to mapping. You can use basic pencil and paper as shown in the Tips for Refinement to work through things. https://openideo.com/blog/youth-employment-challenge-tips-for-refinement
Build on what you have. Why are you feeling more confident about recruiting professionals? Add your thoughts, the steps, via a map. Build out that aspect of the project. The pre - classroom stage.

Then teachers -
Maybe you should go back to basics and make another experience map trying different ideas for engaging them. Motivations, benefits .....
This can bring ideas and clarity. No?

How about adding some possible challenge problems to that map?
Can you reach out to professionals in your network and ask them for possible problems to build a challenge on? As Guy remarked in a comment below you can probably find folk on this site to participate. Click on the pics of different folk in the comments here and on other ideas, see what professions folk are in. Asking them to come up with a "problem" will not be a big ask. (You can put a comment on their profile page, or under a thread here.)
ex) I am a pediatrician. Currently I work with adolescents. I might propose this problem - Most smokers start smoking as teenagers. What ideas can we come up with to prevent this? I would suggest an interdisciplinary approach which includes a doctor and an advertising professional. The professionals can provide context - What we know about the problem. They can be a resource for background info and facts. Using this info the class can start to develop ideas/solutions to the problem.
You might also approach it the back way - what problem are you and your friends interested in tackling? What professions might be working on that? Reach out to a few of those folk and ask them to help you refine the problem question. If someone bites ask them to suggest another professional group that they would want on a team to work on that problem. So the problem can come from the students or the professionals.

Thoughts?
I think you can use an Experience Map to work through all options and you will probably come up with more.

Look forward to watching this develop!
Excited for you! Great work!

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I can see why the idea of linking existing disciplines to the job field makes sense. What I like about design thinking is it is a new idea that both opens ideas for students, and changes the way businesses and organizations approach problem solving. I think it is important to create something with that spirit in mind. A new tool that isn't being taught in the classroom and is relevant for the shifting working world, and that is also new in the working world. Perhaps working with organizations that are using it effectively, and discussions and visits with organizations doing things more traditionally for contrast. Systems thinking and integrative medicine are great fields to look at. Also local businesses that focus on quality centric offerings.

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Gavin - Do you know about this toolkit for educators? Does your school know about it?
http://www.ideo.com/work/toolkit-for-educators

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Hi Gavin. I just had a look at your new experience map. Great job! ( Did you take the first one down? I liked that one as well. Maybe leave it with the images above so we can all see it as the first one?)

Can you clarify the time frame you are planning? Will the professional need to visit multiple times? That may be challenging and if you want to have two professionals from different industries that may be very challenging. Of course with advanced planning things can happen.
The professionals have information that can guide the class, as they learn about the professionals field, and apply it to the challenge problem. Do you see them as facilitating as well? or just the teacher? It might be interesting for them to be present so that they can explain the work process that occurs in their industry as the students progress through their brainstorms and prototyping. I am just wondering other than introducing themselves, their work, and framing the problem what their actual role will be.

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Bettina, thanks for sharing the educator's toolkit- that could be a great resource to use.
About the visits, I was thinking the professional(s) visit at the beginning and the end. It would obviously be harder to arrange with two people. Lots of people have wondered if the professional helps facilitate in the middle... that would obviously be great, but we can't just expect professionals to give up that much time. So, I was thinking at the beginning and end, with possibly a video chat or something in the middle if the they wanted...
Should there be a standard level of involvement (2 visits) or should there be more freedom for the professional to decide?
And the time planning guide I'm talking about is like a calendar with a challenge outline, day by day. I'll probably post a rough draft, but it would be difficult to really know how long everything will take, or the specific steps needed in each challenge.

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Can you try out a challenge with perhaps yourself, 2 friends, and a problem set by one of your parents - in whatever field they might be in? Or choose your own question? Test out the time frame? IDEO has a brainstorm in a box tool that is a 1 hour activity. Perhaps use that as the base? Can this help you get a handle on time and structure?
Have you considered a one day challenge? This might be in an after school club.
Perhaps the challenge comes out of the classroom and into a club with a teacher dedicated to innovative approaches to learning? This way the challenge can be let's say a 2 - 3 hour process and the professional only comes once? Might not be your original intent. Just trying to think about how to engage the professional in a way that will be attractive to them. Can you ask some professionals that you know how they feel about the time aspect?

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Congrats for being featured Gavin!

I was thinking about teachers/professionals/ and time frame.
Have you considered putting together a few questions you can ask several teachers to see if they bite at the idea and what their positive and negative reactions are?
Maybe introduce to the your teachers that you have been thinking about an idea that would bring professionals into the classroom so that students can learn about careers that are built on/related to the subject they are teaching.

Kids would benefit from learning how broad their options are from their learnings in each class. Your "who knew?" comment being key.

Then ask them a few questions about their interest -
Good idea? If no why not?
Do they have flexibility in terms of time within the framework of their lesson plans?
Would they be interested in joining a student/teacher team to work on your idea for your school as a pilot?
Something like that?
Maybe the questions need to be more general? Not sure.
But I think getting some initial input from a few teachers, an initial reaction, could help as you move forward. Take your experience maps - I am sure they will be wowed when they see them!

Keep going!

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I've talked to a few people at school. I'm meeting with our internship coordinator this week, and I'll talk to a few teachers soon, too.
I've started a google doc with some example challenges. It will be accessible so that everyone can edit and contribute.
Thanks for your input and encouragement!

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Great! Looking forward to checking out the google doc!

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Congrats on this post being today's Featured Contribution!

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Wow!! Thanks so much!!!

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And congrats again – on being the first of our Refinement phase Featured Contributions. Way to go to you and your awesome team!

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Thanks!

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Hey Preflight team. Sorry I have been MIA. I went through the experience diagrams and gave my comments and feedback here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/f3klpgxsblqy5kj/Real-world%20challenges%20in%20the%20classroom.pptx?dl=0

Over all I made thought of them as 'cycles' as you ideally want people to repeat the process over and over and think about 'Preflight' as something they always use. Also I tried to make some of the stages more consistent so that you can see where each overlaps in their process. Over all I think is it great, but I did have a question about 'the perfect match' stage and if that was where a professional or business actually 'pays/donates' for the project? I did not see anything about funding/sustainability but happy to get on Skype/GoogleHangout, ect to talk about that. Let me know if there are any thoughts. Also where I think the most benefit would take place is a teacher thinking through the teachers portion of the user experience. They are central to the entire thing working and having a teacher look at that, if they haven't yet, I think is key. There are a few teachers connect to different projects, I am sure they would give share insight. Let me know what you think.

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Thanks so much! I sent you a facebook message. Here's my responses and questions. https://www.dropbox.com/s/3e6hzx9e1pvixco/rwcc%20responses.pptx?dl=0

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Well done Gavin. I like the experience maps.

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Hey Preflight team! This is an awesome idea, and I am a huge fan of your experience maps that tell stories with tangible examples to help others catch the vision! Is this venture intended to be implemented only in high school settings, or would it also be integrated into universities and even non-academic settings? In what setting do you plan to pilot/prototype the project? The biggest challenges I see are 1) getting professionals from various fields on board, and 2) making sure teachers and school faculty have an understanding of design thinking and ideas about how to integrate the program with existing curriculum. It will be important to have an engaging and visionary person recruiting and educating organization reps and school faculty! I think many professionals will be excited to talk about their field and explore news ways of thinking about things with students. But it will be important to have a clear vision of how this process will benefit the professionals and their organization/company/workplace. The most significant benefit for the organization representative, as you’ve pointed out, is the potential for young people to solve real-life challenges faced by the representative as they collaborate using a human-centered approach to the problem. You mentioned that these challenges will come from a “challenge bank”. Will these challenges be field-specific? Will the organization representative be able to modify the challenge as appropriate? Overall this is a stellar idea, and I am excited to see how it plays out!

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Way to go, Gavin – we're so amped to have a high school student participating on this challenge & posting gems like this!

As you develop your idea further, you might like to think about how you can make this really enticing for participating businesses and organisations. What clever ways might you come up with for motivating and incentivising them to get involved? We're excited to see what you come up with.

You might also like to check out some of the learnings shared on this different but in some ways related initiative which sought to engage industry players in the classroom: https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/research/positive-role-models-for-work-and-employment

Great to see you collaborating on the contributions of others across this challenge. You input and perspectives are super valuable!

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Thanks Meena!
I saw the MERLIN video a few weeks ago. It sounds like a really cool program.
The business representatives could definitely serve as mentors, in a way. It would kind of be the next step: not just holding the workshops, but then actually getting to know a few of the students who were interested in your work, and maybe having a lunch with them or something.
Thanks for the prototyping toolkit!

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Yes, though I believe the business professionals have a lot to learn and benefit from what students have to offer, and in some cases the ideas in some programs. There is a lot of opportunity to identify what is a resource, what is valuable, and what is learning for students, businesses and organizations, and schools

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"though I believe the business professionals have a lot to learn and benefit from what students have to offer" – great point – and that's exactly the kind of thing I mean about putting some thought into what will motivate participating businesses and organisations. How might we convey this benefit to them in a way that they can relate to? How might we seek to demonstrate that benefit through the way the program is designed? Lots of opportunities for savvy thinking!

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tough one, working on this. essentially we have to redesign how employers looks at recruitment and product development. We would have to attract businesses to look toward a model like this for innovation and eventually for hiring. It may mean someone has to play leader, so others will follow, you could make it a service. I am gonna keep working on it, but the question I'm stuck on is how do employers see the benefit as a recruiting and operational device, and how does that go from an idea to movement. I am open to ideas and am working on it

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Yeah, it would be challenging to get the businesses to accept that they might actually benefit from the ideas of young, untrained people (especially high-schoolers). I think it would depend on the type of challenge, and it would take some project time, and more communication between class and business.
But, I think it is more important that the students benefit from the program than the businesses benefit. The focus should be on their development.

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Indeed – students benefit should be the focus here... though given you're keen on business people donating time & effort to participate, we think it'll be worthwhile thinking about how you might excite them to get involved to sustain the program over time.

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Definitely. I'll give it some thought, maybe update the post with some new ideas.

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I do agree that focusing on students can help support improvement in the way we educate and prepare young people for their careers. At the same time, when it comes to hiring people, collaboration in the schools ties in directly with companies seeing how they can use young talent. This may be more compatible at the college level though. It'd be interesting to see if that is a goal, what opportunities open up at the high school level.

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Matthew, I agree that the use of challenges in school for hiring would be more useful for college, or even graduate school. That way, the students would be more specialized, and businesses could, say, have a logo design challenge in a graphic design class, or have an app coding challenge in a computer science class, etc. The winning team idea could become interns at the company to work on their idea with more support. And all the students would have the opportunity go get more real-world experience in their desired field.

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I think college students have a lot more to offer then businesses can comprehend, and there are issues with companies requiring years of experience before allowing young people to have impact, and are simply offering a foot in the door. Also I would encourage diverse learning, the art of specialization is a dying one. Right now the only pathway for college graduates to make an impact is to start a small businesses. Bringing companies into the classroom and working on projects offers students the ability to demonstrate what they have to offer, and can challenge existing hierarchy. The goal would be to have student hired into meaningful or leadership positions straight out of school rather than working up the totem pole. The reason for companies to change in this way is discovering that young people have so much to offer out of school. This becomes even more true as we change the way we teach to.

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Yeah, a large percentage of jobs (even ones that aren't top management or anything) say "we want 3-5 years of industry experience." Well, how are you supposed to get industry experience, then?
Starting a small business is a great way to make an impact right away, but there are so many little things you have to worry about and so much uncertainty. College students (and everyone, really) should have the opportunity to make an impact in whatever way they want, whether that's by starting something new, or adding to something that's already going strong. And, the challenges would let the students demonstrate that they really do deserve those opportunities.

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Meena, right now a lot of colleges including Evergreen State, and DIS (a study abroad program) have been hiring people with professional background instead of teaching backgrounds. In the case of DIS this is especially true, as they rely on their faculty, and an additional department to coordinate guests from the industry, site visits in Denmark, and across Europe during their week long study tours. Something like this could open up networks of companies and organizations and companies to work with. What is missing is people to teach hard skills. if you look in my idea you'll see that we do two week long classes focus on skills and projects in the field. Part of this is bringing in guests to teach the hard skills, like in the sample below story writing, and video filming and editing. If we can constantly bring the work of the classroom into the world, and professionals in the world into the classroom, we create a diverse learning environment where everyone is a teacher. Where businesses learn from students and schools, and can see the immediate contributions youth can make, and will move hiring from getting a foot in the door, to seeing education as a new resource to fill in organization roles at all levels of the company. Right now high school is about getting into college, and college is a bout getting a foot in the door, and we need to change both how we educate, and business and student expectations for the role of these institutions. I think we can incentivize businesses by hiring professionals into the fold and asking them to play connector. Past that point I think outcomes will drive most of the movement form there
https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/ideas/finance-and-kickstarters

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Gavin I would argue that these companies think they want this, but have no idea what would actually serve their needs best

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"Right now high school is about getting into college, and college is about getting a foot in the door" Good observation. Why wait so long to get a foot in the door? Being in high school, I often see people want to get internships and jobs so that they look good to get into college, instead of wanting to pursue a career that really interests them.
It's like "work really hard in high school to get into college" then "great you made it. Now just chill for a few years in college" then "okay, now it's time to start a career, from the bottom of the pyramid" We need to integrate the learning with the career from the start.

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Awesome idea, Gavin.

Just to join this thread, I think you'll find that a lot of employers worry about the time-investment in hiring , training, and managing interns. Companies with large or frequent recruiting needs will often use interns as a trial period for prospective employee, but they'll want that prospective hire to be as well trained and as close to a hiring date as possible.

Will companies encourage employees to spend several days running a workshop for students who might be years out from hiring? I don't know specifically, but I do know that two-sided markets like this can be really tricky to get right if the benefits to both sides are not clear and compelling. In my experience you want to be able to see an excess of at least one side of the market: i.e. lots of students demanding these kinds of experiences, or lots of employers looking to get more people in their profession.

One alternative place to consider is industry groups, trade groups, or other organizations that want to promote the practice of specific professions. For example, the non-profit Black Girls Code runs a series of industry sponsored hackathons to get more girls of color (ages 12-17) into technology professions. There's also the online CS master's degree from Georgia Tech and Udacity that was heavily sponsored by AT&T (in part to get more potential engineers to hire).

Or maybe there are ways you can reduce the risk of the employer side of the "market". Rather than always being designed and run by a professional, would it be possible to create a database of design challenges that showcase different professions? The challenges could be used over and over again by different schools, and local professionals could act as judges to provide feedback. In some ways that's not so far off from the case method that many business schools use to simulate real world situations for MBA students.

One final thought is to try talking to some people who already doing this, but at a "premium" level. The Design Thinking Bootcamp class at Stanford used to involve an industry sponsor for their final class challenge: for example, in 2009 I know the final challenge was sponsored by Visa. If they're still doing industry sponsored challenges, they may have great insights for you on how to structure those kind of challenges.

Again, nice work!
Patrick

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Patrick, Thanks so much for your feedback! All the work you've done is so fascinating...
I think the database idea is interesting. It would be a relatively easy way to address one part of the problem (teaching design-thinking skills). However, I think that unless it was led by someone in the industry, it wouldn't really fulfill the inspiration/mentorship part of the idea.
Either way, it would definitely be a good idea to have a database so that the challenges wouldn't have to be recreated every time, and different schools could learn from each other.
I definitely think there is a big possibility to work with non-profits, who might be more open to working with outsiders. It would definitely be harder to get larger businesses on board. There are now (and have been in the past) mentorship programs, where businesses get on board with schools. Do you think the opportunity to get younger people excited about your work would be a big enough motivator for some businesses to get on board?
I'll keep this stuff in mind!

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This whole conversation is so exciting! I keep not going to sleep because I keep reading.

I read a book called Give and Take this summer. It talks about "givers" - people who are primarily motivated by helping others. Just think of the most genuinely nice person you know and this person is probably a giver.

I think these givers will do this type of thing without needing an incentive other than knowing they're helping high school students.

It's probably not easy to just know if a professional is a giver from a short conversation, but if you ask enough people and discuss how it will benefit students, I would not be surprised to see some professional volunteers who would do this because they want to see others benefit from this.

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Gavin,

I think it's certainly possible that businesses would want to get younger people interested in their work, but I'd see it happening more at the individual level than the organizational level. Sometimes it's better to consider the individuals within a business rather than the business itself, or vice versa, as they respond to different motivations.

Also, is seems like the "Knowledge Relay" idea in the mentorship challenge has some elements that might be useful to look at it.

"'Knowledge relay' is a network where just retired people will transfer their knowledge and expertise to just graduated youngsters in order to help them finding a gap in the labour world."

https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-mentor/evaluation/knowledge-relay

Patrick

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Aaryaman, Thanks for all your involvement! I've heard of Give and Take, I should probably check it out. I think there are plenty of people who would be willing to give to this.

Patrick, I can see how it would be much easier to reach out to individual professionals rather than whole businesses. Also, if I (or someone else involved) already knew them, they would be much more likely to want to help out. Would you like to be part of the team?

Also, pertaining to the knowledge relay idea, just-retired people might be perfect candidates for giving the workshops, although they might be hard to find, without some kind of network.

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I like the idea of just-retired people working on this. They would have ample free time to do workshops presumably. You might be able to reach them through your own networks (maybe through your parents or friends' parents). Once you find a few, they many be able to help you recruit through their networks.

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Amazing conversations here! I also believe there will be Givers who will want to participate in your challenges Gavin. I think approaching it from the perspective of individuals is a good idea. It will bring in the element of personal experiences and storytelling which I think will enhance the experience for the kids in the class.

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Hey everybody!
It's about time this idea had a real name.

A few unpolished suggestions to get the ball rolling:
- Students Solving...(can't think of ending)
- Bridge into the real world
- Solve the Future
- Workshops for the World

Even just something simple and catchy that needs an explanation...

I would love any and all ideas- let's go for quantity and build off each other!

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Here are a few ideas to build on or edit:

Tangible Learnings
Link Learnings
Bright Links
Bridging the Gap
Gap Jump
World Bound or Real-World Bound (similar to Outward Bound?)
Real Work Challenge
Real Design Challenge

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Hey Dave and Jeanne,
Thanks so much for the names! I really like "preflight" and "world bound"...

What do you guys think about "Flight Bound"?
Kind of a combination...and for a subheading, I was thinking... "Relevant classroom challenges" but then I noticed it sounds like we're talking about problems relating to the classroom...
"Relevant challenges in the classroom" is okay, a little longer...

I love Dave's logo idea with the preflight name... It would work great if we used something with "flight"

What are your thoughts on those?

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Great conversation – and love the notion to come up with a name + strap line that work in tandem, Gavin.

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I think dropping the "pre" from Dave's name will lose the idea of preliminary step that he may have been trying to convey.

Flight Bound might have too strong of an association with air travel or travel to really become a strong name for this project. What else do you or others like?

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Okay, I still like preflight and world bound.
Preflight wins the catchy award (and that is always good)
World bound is a little more practical.

What about the subheading? "Relevant challenges in the classroom" "Relevant industry challenges"..... or we could just keep the subheading as what the title is now "Real-World challenges in the classroom"

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I vote to keep the original title as the subheading or tagline: Real-World Challenges in the Classroom

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How great are those experience maps!? I'm so impressed.

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Thanks Karolle!

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+1 Karolle! Excellent experience maps, Gavin. Truly exceptional

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+2 Karolle! This is indeed an impressive. It can also be used as a great example to show how experience maps can really help develop an idea in the future.

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Thanks everyone!
Really the design part was pretty easy, the secret was the people clipart I got on a free trial of GraphicStock. It's so hard to find good clipart, especially if you aren't willing to pay.

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I totally agree. Awesome job on the experience maps! They are very engaging and easy to follow. Congrats

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Hi Gavin and other members of the team - I've read through many of the comments and applaud you for collective efforts. I was initially drawn to the idea because of its potential for exposing high school level students to a wide variety of career options. I am often amazed at the range of work opportunities that exist and wish I had known more about some of them in my youth or earlier in my career. With this in mind, I'd like to challenge the team to find ways to include representatives from a wide range of working professions.

While I have seen good ideas here for tapping into business, engineering, medical, non-profit, and tech professions, I am guessing that finding representatives from less visible professions might take more leg work. It might be worthwhile to create a list of the types of professions that would be representative of 21st century careers. The list could be used by schools or workshop facilitators to help them identify professions that either fit into their curriculum and as a way to filter ideas to students. Schools could also use the list to help identify professions that are represented in their own community and reach out to people working in those professions.

Here's an idea for exposing youth to a wide variety of professions in one workshop or class session. Host a number of people from either the same company or industry or career ecosystem in the same session. Without digressing to kindergarten level of show-and-tell, have a doctor, nurse, lab technician, physical therapist, xray tech, and radiologist (or similar related professions) all come together or on successive weeks to give an overview of their work and a problem set. To give students perspective on the housing industry, you could have an architect, real estate developer, engineers (civil, structural, mechanical, electrical), realtor, mortgage broker, insurance agent, and general contractor. The same approach could apply to any number of tech industries, businesses, and professions.

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Jeanne, Thanks so much for sharing!
First, getting professionals from a wide range of industries is a key aspect. Obviously, the more of these workshops we could do in a given year, the better, but I don't think it would be possible just time-wise to more than about one per month. Also, maybe in an ideal world, you would have each grade level do different workshops (like x, y and z professions sophomore year; a, b and c professions junior year...), but that sophistication would probably come later in the program.

I really like the idea of having multiple people that work in the field, but with different jobs together. Even if it was just 2 or 3 people, it would really add value to the workshops.

So, for a list of industries, the ones that come to mind for me are medical, tech, retail/small business, engineering/architecture, non-profit/charity, and university research for science/psychology. What else do you think should be included?

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You may want to take a project centered approach. Many of the future careers will be more multidisciplinary, and the fields are changing. By having projects be the key, it points to which resources you needed, and then you connect. I would still encourage anything from the school side to abandon "fitting this in" to existing curriculum, and more so focusing on it being a new way of educating that meets actual needs of their students

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Maybe a class in which a different professional comes in each week with an overview and problem set could be an elective class? That way, the class wouldn't be missing out on other information/learning from having a professional every week.

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Yeah, Aaryaman, that would definitely be a cool idea. If it was an elective class, it would really give a lot of freedom to basically do anything we wanted, to focus solely on the challenges.
I think that would maybe happen after a year or two of the program (don't like trying to predict the future). That would definitely have the most potential to really make a difference. There's a program called AVID that is offered as an elective class to help kids study, learn about opportunities and visit colleges with the goal of getting into college.
So kind of like that, except with the goal of being exposed to the opportunities of the future and learning what it will take to succeed in those spaces. I feel like it would be the type of class that would just take off in popularity after the first year.

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Is AVID only at your school? This type of class seems like a natural entry point for the experiences this idea is trying to implement in the classrooms.

I also think it's important to make these types of classes and workshops available to students who are at higher risk of not going to college and/or finding jobs after high school or college.

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AVID is actually an international program. It's not at my school. It was at my Jr. High and it might be at the main high school in my town.
I think that an important part of this challenge is realizing how many different programs are already solving this problem. Starting a new thing is great and exciting, but working with existing organizations might be even more effective.

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Jeanne,

This is a solid idea that demonstrates 21st century professional relationships in a fun, educational way: "...have a doctor, nurse, lab technician, physical therapist, xray tech, and radiologist (or similar related professions) all come together or on successive weeks to give an overview of their work and a problem set." It's something that I would have found of great value as a student.

Gavin,

If you and your team can build a list of 21st century jobs, I am betting quite a few ideas across the challenge would thank you and use it! It would be incredibly beneficial to students and career professionals. I've noticed that a thread running through this challenge is that educational institutions (in developed and developing countries) aren't adapting fast enough to current job and tech trends.

As a student, your insights into social and tech trends could actually, in turn, provide mentorship to career professionals. Your generation will be inventing the future after all!

And great work going on over here! We're developing out our mentoring approach over on Pop Up Bus team. Will share any insights with you that we have. We'd love to have your inputs over on #TeamPopUpBus!

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Leigh,
It's so inspiring to see all the great thinking and research happening on your idea. I've been on vacation, but I'm super excited to jump back in next week.
I'll definitely use the team to get a list of 21st century professions. And it's definitely true that schools need to adapt faster. These workshops could really make a difference in schools, just as Pop up Buses could serve as community hubs for learning and working!
Thanks, looking forward to more collaboration.

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Loving Jeanne's ecosystem idea – and that also may provide a hook for industry players if they were from different businesses (chance to network in a more fun way than usual + not wanting to be left out of being part of this awesome locally-focused social innovation initiative!) Good to keep thinking about things that might motivate industry players to get involved :^) Also thought it might be interesting for you all to give some thought to what this initiative / program would be called? Might be worthwhile thinking of a catchy name soon?

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Thanks Meena!
I was just thinking the same thing about the name... is there any way to contact the whole team? Maybe there is in the feedback or refinement phase and I don't know about it...
And I definitely see potential in having a few different angles of the same industry. That would take the workshops to the next level. It might take more classtime, though, and more effort to get multiple parties involved.

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If your team members have their OpenIDEO email notifications turned on (via their profile settings) – they will be getting notifications on all comments here. They maybe getting them immediately or as a daily / weekly digest (or may have turned them off :^(

So – maybe you could start a new thread and ask folks to chime in about naming ideas – making a few suggestions to start with to get the ball rolling? Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

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Hey team-
Brilliant provocation by Jeanne and dialogue occurring here. One of the fun things about OpenIDEO is that many users identify their professions and industries. If you're interested in creating a mock challenge or ecosystem, chances are you could find everyone you need on OpenIDEO!

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This is great. I like the idea of integrating real world learning into the classroom and bringing the community in. After the workshop, how do you think is best to scale this idea?

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I think a great idea of scaling this idea would be to encourage more entrepreneurs-in-residence and adjunct professors/teachers to educate at the high school level. More often than not, many of these entrepreneurs serve as members of certain boards and coalitions, so to create a two-way street in which (1) work/projects can be brought to students and (2) students can provide input/insight/completed-projects to businesses would be beneficial to both parties involved

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Photo of Sergio Marrero
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Maybe this group can help? http://www.studentmentor.org or maybe there are other ways to Skype in professionals that fit the profile of what you want to do, I know one teacher that does that for students and has virtual talks with classrooms on a repeated basis.

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Photo of Matthew Wilson
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I would have someone with business connections as faculty yes, and play connector with their work contacts. This model works well at DIS, a study abroad college program.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Sergio,
Thanks so much for the input! I added you to the team!
About the first question, I really haven't put much thought about how best to scale it. Besides trying to implement it at my school, I'm not sure how it would scale, but I really like everyone's ideas here!

Gabe, I really like your idea of getting professionals and professors involved.The College Student Mentorship program looks like the type of group we'd be looking for.

So, I think there are basically three ways to go at it:
1. Schools initiate it and try to get businesses/professionals on board
2. Businesses/professionals initiate it and get schools and partners on board
3. Students initiate it and get both parties involved (might not be possible for most schools)

It sounds like getting the organizations and professionals to reach out would be the most effective. They would be the most credible and probably have the most influence.

What are everyone's thoughts on that?

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Check out the updates.
What do you guys think about the general strategy? What would you add?

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Photo of Sergio Marrero
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I like the diagram, I think it goes into a nice level of detail. As it relates to the scaling, it may help to either integrate into a standard lesson plan and offer that lesson plan for teachers or/and have preset materials for presentation. It may help getting people to commit the time if there are materials they can leverage when presenting. I also think company partnerships are key, maybe aligning with a service day that the company does will work be begin those relationships.

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Photo of Jeanne Callahan
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The User Experience diagrams look good, but I think they are a little lop-sided. The student one indicates all the great benefits of participating while the business professional/organizer one is heavy on the tasks that need to be tackled. I know this isn't the intention, but the Organizer experience looks like a lot of work without many benefits.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Yeah, Jeanne, I see what you mean. I guess I was just thinking about all the different "things" each group would do, and most of the "doing" falls on the professionals.
It would be less intimidating if we had at least a structure for challenges, so that you (as a professional) picked your "driving question" and then the rest was set up.
I'm not really sure how to better capture the benefits for the business side. How would you do it?

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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I updated the business experience map. I think it looks a little more manageable for their side.

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Photo of Shane Zhao
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Hi Gavin, my blog feature on your insightful thoughts just went up. Check it out here!: https://openideo.com/blog/youth-employment-challenge-community-ambassador-update-4

I'm loving how you're working with the community to push this idea forward!

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Read the blog, it looks great! I'm excited to get going again!
Thanks so much for the opportunity!

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Photo of Kedar Iyer
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Hey Gavin,

I like your approach very much as it not only re-imagines learning, but also creates the right metrics to evaluate students for the careers they are passionate to pursue and will excel in.

Call me biased in my appreciation as we are currently scaling your very approach for university students entering the job market through work related challenges at GapJumpers.

I'd be happy to collaborate with you on our learnings if you'd like help with prototyping your idea.

Great stuff!

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Photo of Meena Kadri
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Gavin – in case you missed it, here's a post which introduces Kedar & his awesome team's work to this challenge: https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/research/hire-based-on-solving-a-challenge-not-static-background-info

We are stoked at the notion of collaboration between you & Kedar!

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Photo of Matthew Wilson
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What if we bring gap jumpers into the classroom. Something magical happens when we bring students and employers together in a learning and meaningful project environment, Aside from helping students get great experience and developing real life skills, it is an opportunity for employers to learn what ideas are coming through, and see prospective future employees and colleagues in action. Gapjumpers is the type of organization that can resolve the issues of the disconnect between the skills youth have to offer and companies being in the about what youth can offer them.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Matthew, Meena and Kedar:
I checked out Gap Jumpers a few weeks ago, and I really like the concept. It gives talented people a chance to prove their skills with real world challenges. Challenges like that definitely deserve a place in the hiring process (and in the classroom).
My only concern with the Gap Jumpers framework is that it works great for the talented problem solvers (which every company wants) but not so much for all those kids who aren't great problem-solvers or communicators.
So, if we brought Gap Jumpers-style challenges into the classroom (starting at an earlier age), and combined it with the mentorship aspects, we could really inspire people to build the job skills they need.
Everyone focuses on teaching job skills, but wouldn't it be even more effective to inspire people to pursue those skills themselves? I think combining the mentorship and realization of opportunities with the challenges could be really powerful.

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Photo of Matthew Wilson
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Take a look at this ted talk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY

I agree it is good to focus on skills at an early age, what kind of skills those are I think should consider what naturally works with each kids learning strengths and what they are interested in. Not everyone is gonna be a great problem solver. But what are they great at, what interests them, and how can we help them develop those interests, and create programs that link the curiosity and talents we have as kids to the skills we want to develop to launch our career and let employers know what we have to offer

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Photo of Kedar Iyer
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I agree with you Gavin. Most students in high school or university are curious, but conventional education doesn't motivate them to go the extra mile and solve real problems.
However, if professors/ teachers could assume the role of mentors by creating the right incentives for the students we could move away from the carrot and stick approach to learning.

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Photo of Matthew Wilson
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If you combine curiosity with access to resources and the potential is endless, so much opens up when teacher connect students to knowledge rather than see the goal to effectively impart it onto them. How valuable does video work, business curriculum, or creative writing become when it is necessary to make a project thrive

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Matthew, really good thinking in the first post. That's like the most famous TED talk of all time, and a great one. I definitely agree that we need to give kids opportunities to pursue what's interesting to them, but in a way that will help them out later on in life.
Kedar, have you read "Drive" by Dan Pink? It's a great book on motivation. I agree that we need to motivate kids to go the extra mile, and that brings us back to project-based learning. When the project allows for creativity, students have the opportunity to really show their passion.
And Matthew, there are so many resources out there for everyone to learn, we need to encourage students to take advantage of all those opportunities.

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Photo of Kedar Iyer
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Gavin, I tend to lean more towards Sugata Mitra's principle of self organized learning environments where posing the right questions and creating the vibe for curiosity can get anyone on the learning trajectory. https://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_build_a_school_in_the_cloud

I haven't read the book, I'll look it up. Thanks for sharing the link. :)

What are the companies/ businesses saying about the role that high schoolers could play in their respective orgs? problem solving/ fresh ideas/ social responsibility initiatives/ charity work/ community training/ etc

Do you have some research on their perspective should we want them to engage with students in a classroom?

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Kedar, I just watched the talk. It's pretty amazing how effective asking the right questions can be. Sorry for all the books, but if you're really interested in questioning, check out "A More Beautiful Question" by Warren Berger.

No, I don't have any research on what businesses think high schoolers could offer. I'm not sure whether or not it would be good to ask a large number of businesses about their opinion on that. I feel like they would underestimate the effects, and kind of have a "we're fine without you" attitude. But, of course, I could be wrong.

Another approach would be to try to get a few businesses on board with the classroom workshops, and focus on creating challenges that the business really faces. If the solutions were useful to the business, we would be able to go out to more organizations and say "this is what happened when x and y worked with high schoolers. Do you want to be involved in that too?"
I like the social responsibility initiatives idea. And, especially if the business wanted to reach a younger audience, it would be hard to turn down the ideas of young people.
Research vs. starting small. Which is better?

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Photo of Aaryaman Singhal
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Gavin,
I read Drive earlier this summer. I like that you're applying concepts from the book to the challenge.

I recently ran across a similar framework espoused by Marcus buckingham (I may have the name wrong) which says that people are more happy and productive when they work where their passions and skills lie. Yet only 12% of people work in these areas. Most people don't love their work and look forward to weekends. I think that if people's work matched their passions, they'd love work and not sit around hoping Friday would come faster.

I think the value for businesses in working with high school students is to get a completely different perspective on their problems and perhaps the perspective of their target market, depending on what they sell. I think people get so caught up in day to day work sometimes that they miss the big picture that might be obvious to someone else like a high school student. -- a lot of businesses might not realize this.

I think businesses WILL see such events as opportunities to give back and also as a way to recruit people into their companies.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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I think there is definitely value in getting outside feedback, especially if the business sells directly to the public.

About working with your passions and skills, I'm reading a book called "The Purpose Economy" now, about how there is a growing movement to prioritize impact and meaning in work.

Also, you should go do the purpose finder at http://www.imperative.com/
It's a fun personality assessment about how you find the most purpose in your work.

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Photo of Kedar Iyer
Team

Hey Gavin and team,

Hope you're having a pleasant weekend :)

There is merit in testing this model with some challenges so that students can answer and get feedback from the businesses on various metrics (i.e. quality of ideas, communication + presentation skills, critical thinking, research, analytical reasoning, consumer insights, etc)
This way students and teachers could also learn and improve from the industry reviews.

I'd be happy to offer some the industry curated questions from our bank and even pilot it with a few of our enterprise teams who are willing to participate in this initiative.

What would be the best way to decide on the types of questions (marketing, tech, research, design, etc) to review and select?

If you have a preference for any of the live questions or the companies on GapJumpers, please feel free to shortlist then so I can get the ball rolling on the enterprise side. www.gapjumpers.me/questions

Great going team 'Real World Challenges' ;)

- K

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Kedar,
Thanks so much for all your help, I'm excited about working on this together!
I've checked out a lot of challenges on Gap Jumpers. A lot of them look pretty hard and open-ended. But still, interesting.

When you talk about questions, you mean the driving questions for the challenges, right?
Were you thinking of creating like a bank of different challenges that businesses could use? How would that compare to asking the business for a challenge and making it to fit a high school setting?

Here are a few of the challenges from Gap Jumpers I think could work in a high-school setting.
https://www.gapjumpers.me/questions/gevir/qs-79/ https://www.gapjumpers.me/questions/schoology/qs-62/
https://www.gapjumpers.me/questions/fcb-chicago/qs-76/
https://www.gapjumpers.me/questions/phd/qs-68/
https://www.gapjumpers.me/questions/syzygy-ag/qs-67/

The challenges could be a little more specialized if you were testing with college students, especially if it corresponded with their major.
I don't think that, for me, having any of the actual businesses on Gap Jumpers would work. The closest is the Bay Area, about an hour away. But those businesses could reach out to schools in their area.

For high school, the challenge would have to be something that all students could contribute to (the problem has to be easy to grasp).

It sounds like you're thinking about asking the businesses posting jobs on Gap Jumpers to connect with schools, while I have been more thinking about connecting some businesses to a local school. Am I right?

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Photo of Aaryaman Singhal
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Hey Gavin,

Thanks for sharing imperative. Mine is to work with teams and organizations to overcome societal barriers by creating environments and experiences.

I think this is generally accurate but that overcoming barriers should really be stated as "exploiting opportunities for societal improvement."

I'll look into The Purpose Economy as well.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Dude, That's exactly what mine was! We have a magical connection. :)

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Photo of Meena Kadri
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Hey Gavin – did you see Kedar's message for you on Twitter, reaching out for more direct collaboration? Just thought to let you know so you can check there in case you missed it (folks often reach out via Twitter because if you are both following each other you can direct message your email details for onwards collaboration without having to share them publicly here)

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Meena,
Thanks, I got the tweet and we're in contact. :) I'm on vacation right now, but we're going to work on it when I get back.
Speaking of Twitter, I'm sitting in a hotel checking Twitter, and I see an OpenIDEO picture. I clicked on it and it had my quote. I'm like, "No way! (screenshot)"
Thanks!!!

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Photo of Khin Tye
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Hi Gavin, I think your idea is great. In a few workshops in London, I've found that what breaks down seperation between the 'business person' and the younger person or student is to have both of them work on the challenge together. Students learn how the business person thinks on the job, and the business person usually gets inspired by new ideas.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Khin, thanks for writing! That's a great point that you make. I can definitely see the value of not just learning from a professional, but feeling like you're part of a team with them as well.

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Photo of Sital Shah
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Connecting employers to youth seems to be an important aspect of your idea Gavin. This article mentions how perceptions of youth are changed when those connections are made, which leads to greater liklihood of employment.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/23/youth-unemployment-fall-attitude-work-experience

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Photo of Matthew Wilson
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Khin, I can't agree with you more, a HUGE part of this is how employers approach hiring and org development. They are hiring college grads for entry level positions, and put an emphasis on experience. By doing this they lose out on what todays youth have to offer, and end up losing marker share when the best of these youth choose to start small businesses rather than enter the workforce.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Sital, Thank for sharing the article. I agree that it's important to get youth connected. And it also shows how much opportunity there is for engineering especially. Youth would definitely be more employable if they knew what to expect and prepare for. That's supposed to be the point of education, right- to get people ready for employment? Sadly, there's still a gap.

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Photo of Gabe Miller
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Gavin,

I love this idea. The college classes in which I learned the most were the ones in which we teamed up with real-life organizations to consult solutions for their problems. Most importantly, it engaged us and gave our learning purpose. It allowed us to learn through application, and managerial concepts we learned in class were more than just theories in our textbooks: they were analytic tools we actually used. I think that exposing high school students to businesses as you propose is a wonderful idea, and will ease the transition of settling on a major once students are in college. All too often I've seen students/friends/colleagues graduate with a major they weren't quite interested in because they were already too invested in it, so if their passions/interests can be earlier aligned in high school, some cool doors of opportunity will open up in their post-secondary education. It makes me wonder if there are potential opportunities of collaboration between high schoolers and college students with internships, so that high school students will have a hands-on shadowing experience at a firm they may be curious in via someone else who is relatively close in age with them (the college students)?

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Gabe,
Thanks for all the great feedback. I agree that it's important to let high schoolers get their hands dirty so that they can choose a better major, and ultimately, career.
I really like the idea of having college and high school interns team up.
I'm curious about your experience with the classes where "you teamed up with real life organizations to consult solutions for their problems?" What were those classes like? How did the programs work?
Want to be on the team?

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Photo of Gabe Miller
Team

Hey Gavin,

The classes in which we consulted for real-life organizations were all through one professor at my college, and they were my favorite classes that I took while in undergrad. In one of my marketing classes with her, I was on a team of 3 other students that consulted for a local arts guild non-profit, and we designed and implemented a new strategic marketing plan. In another class I had with her, I consulted on a team with 3 others to write a grant that obtained funding for a cultural immersions educational program between school districts in the Midwest and at-risk youth in Afghanistan. In another class, we were to implement and innovate a social media campaign for a non-profit (mine was the local area united way).

Many of the organizations we worked with were non-profits, which i think was for two reasons: (1) they needed strategic advisement and (2) they were open to collaborating with and receiving advice from "amateurs."

I would be humbled and excited to be on your team. I like your vision and initiative, and I think you'd be a great person to collaborate with!

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

All right, added you!
I agree that it's often easier to get involved with non-profits. They have more reason to be open to new ideas from new place, especially marketing. When writing my idea, I tried to use the more general word "organization" instead of "business" because of the opportunity to work with non profits.
Your classes sounded really cool. We need more of that.

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Photo of priyanka botny
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Hey Gavin and Team,

I am interested in solving real world problems via games esp at classrooms in order to make learning experience better. I tried a few sessions with schools in India and US (Kansas). To be specific I was helping kids with this : http://www.nationalacademicleague.org/ @ Wichita Public Schools
If you are interested in games I can talk more.

Looking forward to collaborative too.

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

The academic league looks like an engaging way to spice up the learning experience. Games are kind of similar to challenges, just a little more action-packed. There's this thing my brother did called Future Problem Solvers, where kids get an age-specific challenge to solve. Then there's some national competition. You might want to check it out. http://www.fpspi.org/index.html

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Photo of Matthew Wilson
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the standards aren't important and more about politicians having something to campaign on, ideally those would be set aside if possible

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Agreed. Learning the standards in a project-based style is definitely much better than traditional educational models (lecture, worksheet, test) but state standards could hinder some real-world work.
Standards are in place to give the schools something to teach, but it's becoming obvious that learning facts is pretty unimportant in the 21st century. California has new "common core" standards that focus more on critical thinking, which is definitely a step in the right direction.

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Photo of Matthew Wilson
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Yes there are some ways to make steps in the right direction, but ideally it would be good to design from scratch something that provided students with the best career outcomes, rather than trying to build on the past. It would be cool to prototype this for legislative people so they can see the impact that could be made and the necessity to walk away from standards to get there

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Photo of Meena Kadri
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Interesting discussion, guys. Matthew – did you know Gavin is 16 years old? Amazing huh? We're excited that he's proposing this exciting idea while he's still at high school and look forward to our OpenIDEO community supporting his efforts and collaborating further.

Gavin – in terms of taking some next steps on prototyping your idea, you might like to have a look through these tips: http://ideo.pn/pr0t0type and see if they spark some fresh thinking on next steps you might take.

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Photo of Luisa Fernanda
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Great conversation!
Gavin I am so impressed by your level of initiative. I wonder if you have any friends who are working in industries that you are excited about. Maybe you can kick off this idea by bringing together some high school friends and one or two working professionals. You could discuss your idea and see what interests both parties.
Looking forward to see this idea develop,

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
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Thanks Luisa!
That would be a great way to test it, without fully going into the classroom.