Many university faculty especially engineering and business schools are seeking corporate sponsors for their existing or soon to be launched student innovation competitions.
Student innovation competitions are a great idea – the world needs more innovations, and it is a great experience for the students to win an innovation competition. However, corporate sponsorships as a business model for these types of innovation challenges, limits the number of programs, and their sustainability.
As part of the transformation of universities – those faculty might be better advised to work to develop a short MOOC course (individually and collectively) that encourages students to post their innovation ideas to Kickstarter or related sites where many people can review the innovation pitch and decide whether or not to vote for it with a donation.
If students get funding to implement their innovation – they are real winners, with real “skin in the game.”
Also, Kickstarter funds documentaries, new innovation, and new businesses – so the following progression could be a series of wins…
innovation idea -> short video -> documentary -> prototype -> deployment -> business plan -> launch non-profit or business
So, faculty should think twice before starting a student competition, and instead help their students propose to crowdfunding sites, or innovate their own new crowdfunding site – meta-innovation!
There are many great Kickstarter project success stories already that can inspire student innovators.
Also, this helps in the transformation of faculty roles in universities along the progression towards more of a coach for knowledge application, not just knowledge transfer (teaching) or even knowledge creation (research):
View of University Priorities include:
1. Knowledge transfer (teaching) – student tuition & government loans
2. Knowledge creation (research) – government grants & corporate partners
3. Knowledge application (entrepreneurship) – local incentives & alumni donations
4. Knowledge integration (bridge silos) – lowers costs without compromising depth
University business model is evolving (to fund the above, and continuously renew physical infrastructure)…
Ultimately, in the age of every smarter machines, the role of faculty will be helping students enter and win innovation competitions… this will be part of a regional transformation as well, not just the transformation of universities.
And of course the competition I would really like to see universities take on globally…. rapidly rebuilding societal infrastructure…
Service is the application of knowledge for the benefit of others
Service innovations scale the benefits of new knowledge… globally… rapidly….
Promoting service innovations for our interconnected world is the mission of ISSIP.org – become a member today.