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Branded Mentorship

The big idea is to create branded environments within social settings that both young and old frequent. Two places that tend to bring both young and old together are churches and local donut/coffee shops. These could serve as hosting centers for branded events sponsored by companies with commercial interests. My idea is to create branded environments that promote learning through mentorship. For example, to create a focus on teaching technology and photography we could create a branded Shutterfly experience. The environment could support a variety of events that engage young people to teach older adults a bit of technology in a fun environment. Older adults could be taught to use digital cameras, editing, Instagram, gifs and social media.

Photo of Katie Honneywell
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How would you describe your idea in one sentence?

Branded environments that promote learning and mentorship between younger and older generations.

I think this plan will work because malls, churches, local donut/coffee shopsor other gathering places would benefit from promoting events to bring young and older people together. These locations tend to have groups of older adults and young people who frequent them. Creating mentorship activities could draw additional traffic and potential customers to malls, restaurants or donut and coffee shops. In churches they could contribute to the growth of participation and community. 
Large businesses like Shutterfly, Apple, Facebook, Google, Windows, Adidas, Nike and more could benefit from the creation of branded environments to promote their products.  By creating and leveraging a mentor strategy in locations that they already frequent, they could grow product familiarity and brand recognition. Young customers would mentor potential older customers to achieve customer product familiarization. Businesses could grow their customer base and brand identity in both generations. This is a marketable way to successfully achieve the main idea of bringing two generations together for the younger to teach the older, and building relationships. 

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to test any assumptions you might have about your idea?

An easy experiment could occur in an incredibly popular donut shop in my area, where I conceived this whole idea, Bill's Donuts, which is located directly across from a Catholic Church, where groups of older people spend the mornings chatting and drinking coffee and eating donuts and young people from the surrounding schools of all ages flock. I would invite a major technology company, Apple, opening a new outlet in a local shopping area, The Greene, to host an advertised event around their products. I would recruit young customers of Bill’s (free donuts!) to show older customers how to work IPads to play games, read books stories or catch up on the news and more. Besides free donuts, the younger people will enjoy the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and meet some interesting new, but older, friends. The older people will enjoy the opportunity to interact with young people, learn about new technology and perhaps reduce their fear to try new technology.

What aspects of your idea could benefit from the input, skills or know-how of our OpenIDEO community?

The biggest benefit from the IDEO community would be results of brainstorming on companies and products that could benefit from creating branded events as well as development of concepts for activities and sponsorship forums. I feel there are so many creative possibilities and with the help of Open IDEO we could develop numerous ideas for beneficial and fun mentoring forums.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Mike Hatrick

My recommendation would be to combine this idea with Donji YD's Sidekick idea. I think they would compliment each other perfectly!

Photo of Donji YD

Hello Mike, no that I see this comment, the suggestion you wrote on my page makes a lot more sense. Actually, when I was reading your comment on my page, I thought of Katie's branded mentorship idea. I think you are right in expanding a project sidekick to places other than maker spaces.

This branded makers pace is a great idea in terms of marketing, because unlike my idea where everything is done in low traffic maker spaces, Katie's idea happens in high traffic areas where the mentorship program can be seen by the public.

I'm just kind of brainstorming here,

what if there were some sort of combination of these two ideas where let's say a bag company could sponsor a group of veterans by giving them bag designs and materials, and then the veterans could go to farmers markets and sell their creations. In the same booth there could also be a place with a couple computers set up, where veterans could learn more about how to take advantage of the internet like you suggested on my page. The computers could be donated by company sponsors like a Ralph's super market who wouldn't normally have their name seen in a farmers market. This would also be a marketing opportunity for Ralph's.

Photo of Katie Honneywell

Hello Donji and Mike! I just read through all the awesome comments. I love the idea of combining our ideas! Next week I am wrapping up a short internship and some college courses and would love to brainstorm more after!

Photo of Donji YD

Totally! Now that Techshop is officially supporting Project Sidekick, I want to find ways to get other companies on board.

After you are finished with your internship, we should all have a brainstorming sesh on ways to reach out to companies in order to get them to help fund educational training tracks for veterans and promotional events.

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