I agree with your question about incentives. This idea is great for educators, as they will be collecting more experience and skills, but where do the institutions benefit? With no guarantee that the problem will be solved, it could takes months for them to get a solution. Not to mention the difficulty of ensuring that IP will be protected. Is the information going to be public?
First of all, I think this is a great idea for educators seeking good quality work. Not sure if I didn't understand correctly, but where exactly do the students come into the equation? I see that problems and educators are matched up, but where can people come to learn? I think this is a great idea for people to test their skills with real-world problems; I feel like it is missing an aspect of learning, however. One suggestion would be to create open forums for educators to receive ideas (kind of like OpenIDEO) from other people interested in the subject. I think it will bring more people who are willing to learn.
Just a couple of questions for you: 1) How does the selection process work? 2) How are companies incentivized to continue posting questions for educators? 3) Can multiple people work on the same project simultaneously?