Hartwick College sends students to BMI New York for a masterclass in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Challenge

Educate college students about innovation and entrepreneurship.

Solution

Create a one- day masterclass in disruptive innovation, followed up with a day of experiencing innovation in action.

Introduction

In a world of fast and exponential change, every industry is being impacted by changing customer needs and for most organizations, the lack of agility to keep up with the pace of change. One particular example of this can been seen in the world of academia. The profile of the “typical college student” is rapidly changing and becoming harder to define. Students want online options, experiential learnings, and overall are disheartened by the high price point of typical educational paths. Hartwick College is exploring this phenomenon, and in an effort to incorporate innovation and entrepreneurship on campus, partnered with BMI to create steps towards more exposure for students to see innovation at work.

What we did

We encouraged our partners at Hartwick to utilize innovative (design- led) thinking within their own planning for this mission. Within the span of two phone calls, we put together a prototype of an experience for students to be exposed to both the practice of innovation and seeing it in action in the workplace. This experience was designed in February, and by mid- April we saw it in action.

A group of 15 students traveled from Hartwick College to New York City for a 2-day masterclass of innovation experience. The first day was focused on the mindset, skills and tools needed to use innovation in a professional setting. Starting off with a specific problem to solve for, each student group ended the day with a startup to solve that problem. They experienced visual notetaking, ideation & brainstorming, were trained on 6 visual tools for innovation including the business model canvas, and actually went out as groups on the streets of New York to test their hypothesis for a solution.

With this base of innovation mastered, day 2 of this experience focused on seeing this practice in action. Starting with breakfast, they had a conversation with Justin Lokitz, Managing Director of BMI San Francisco about his career path and using innovation in a consulting space. Carley Jacobson, who is on the corporate innovation team at TechStars and shared the opportunities an accelerator offers, as well as running a Startup Weekend and how they can start bringing these practices to their school. Students then traveled to their next stop, which was led by Ben Reiter at Starta Ventures, an accelerator focusing on seed- stage startups looking to enter the US market form other countries. Here, the students learned more about venture capital in action and got to hear from two startup founders about their experiences.

The last stop of the day was Google. where Jessica Weiss, who has been at Google for over 8 years, and is also working on her own startup, Trix Magazine, led a discussion about how Google innovates. During this visit the students got to hear about working at an organization that focuses on innovation, what that means for the people who work there, as well as another perspective from a startup founder who is using crowdsourcing (specifically on iFundWomen) to fund her company.

Results

In this span of 2 days, every student not only got to learn the tools and skills necessary for innovation, but immediately got to see it in practice. As an added bonus, a number of students were encouraged to reach out for internship opportunities with our special guests.

"This experience has brought concepts I’ve read in books into the real world in a very hands-on and experiential way. I didn’t expect to leave this trip having planned out a business solution to fashion waste, talked to potential customers in the street, visited Google, or discussed startups with actual entrepreneurs, but we did!"

- Lydia, sophomore student, Hartwick College

"Meg's leadership in the master workshop in Design Thinking provided a supportive space for students to build a professional foundation through their development of understanding ideation, prototyping, testing, pitching and redesigning of their ideas. Being able to watch students develop insight and business strategies for their future through co-creation and visualization was a truly wonderful experience, and I believe all Career Development offices could benefit from a partnership like this."

– Alison Dodge, Internship Program Advisor, Hartwick College

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