Week 40 – Lecture and meeting
A new week for Career Catapult started on Monday morning when we attended the lecture. It was time for the groups to present the first ideas about their topic. As discussed in the last post, our preliminary idea was to arrange a course that would be helpful for students and graduates in the whole application process. Preparing for the presentation forced us to develop our ideas further, and the feedback we received for the presentation was useful; for example, we were asked to specify our target audience more: is the course suitable for all, or aimed at those with higher aspirations? Based on the feedback, the question “what type of course would have the highest demand?” was later on identified as one of the uncertainties in the opportunity tournament process, and we are in the process of trying to resolve this uncertainty (more on that later on in this post).
Two hours after the lecture we met again as a group, where all seven of us (plus our own markers!) were able to show up. Great! Firstly, we got our project plan ready. We started by thinking about the main components of our project, and came up with a tentative schedule. We then divided our project into seven different parts that need to be taken care of, and assigned each group member one responsibility area.
Us, in the process of creating a schedule for our project
When we had the project plan sorted out, we moved on to our this week’s topic: opportunity tournament. We first began by getting to know the process of an opportunity tournament. The rough outline goes as follows:
- Establish a charter.
- Generate ideas.
- Screen opportunities.
- Develop promising opportunities.
- Select exceptional opportunities.
- Reflect on the results and the process.
After a brief discussion, we concluded that we are at the stage 3: “Screen opportunities”. During the past weeks, we had generated a whole bunch of ideas and screened them so that we ended up with only a handful ideas that we liked, and included seven of them in the uncertainty horizon map. Although we had already done some opportunity screening, we still wanted to narrow down the amount of ideas. Out of the seven ideas, we combined mentoring and coaching into one idea, and then chose three that we liked the most: problem platform, career support course, and mentoring/coaching. These ideas were chosen based on the holistic judgement of the group.
Next up was the stage 4: “Develop promising opportunities”. First, we needed to identify the uncertainties concerning each idea. We split the seven of us into three groups, so that each group would try to come up with uncertainties about one idea. The groups rotated on the blackboard so that each group would get to list uncertainties about each idea. Then the biggest uncertainties about each of the three ideas were chosen. Still in the groups, we tried to come up with possible tasks we could complete to tackle these uncertainties.
And then, it was time for some critical thinking
The uncertainties we could identify about the problem platform were:
- Would there be users?
- Finding suitable problems
- Real benefit
- How well would it measure skill?
The real benefit was identified as the largest uncertainty. Proposed tasks included being in contact with companies, and asking them their opinion and if they would commit to using such a platform, and also asking students and graduates if they would be interested in using the platform.
Then, the uncertainties about the career support course:
- Demand for a certain type of course
- Financing, companies interested?
- Choosing applicants?
- Has this been done before?
The largest uncertainty was if the companies would be interested in collaboration and financing the course. Proposed tasks were asking companies what kind of courses they would be interested in, and thinking about a good marketing plan to get the companies involved.
And lastly, the uncertainties about mentoring:
- Finding suitable mentors
- Mentors can be very busy
- Where to find the mentors?
Finding suitable mentors was chosen as the largest uncertainty. Thinking about possible tasks only raised more questions: How should we survey possible mentors? Who would these possible mentors be? Maybe ask alumni? But then, how do we motivate the mentors; what’s the added value for them?
After the process of evaluating the uncertainties, we picked our best opportunity: the career support course. This opportunity was chosen because the uncertainties would be much easier to manage. Mentoring and problem platform had uncertainties that would be difficult to tackle.
As discussed in a previous blog post, we placed both problem platform and mentoring in horizon 3. This was reflected in the amount of uncertainties we were able to identify concerning these ideas. After a small discussion and a brief Internet search, we unanimously decided that the cost of completing the tasks would be too high. For example, finding suitable mentors was identified as the biggest uncertainty for our mentoring idea; however, we had no concrete ideas on how to even start resolving this uncertainty. For this reason, completing the task was seen to cost too much compared to the benefit it would yield.
|A chart illustrating the opportunity tournament process|
After choosing the career support course as our best opportunity, we were able to formulate our mission statement as follows: We want to show students their true value and help them reach their career goals by connecting students with career experts and companies.
As a final topic for our meeting, we discussed the questions we want to ask students and graduates, that would give us information on what type of course has demand. This would help us to narrow down our target audience.
We also briefly discussed what we would want to ask the companies, and concluded that the platform should be different from just Google form. That is to make sure that we would actually get the attention of the companies and get an actual answer. Making inquiries over the phone was one idea.
Now that we have our schedule ready, it is easy to keep track of the things that need to be done. Next, we should start surveying students and graduates, and relevant companies, and start finding information about what kinds of services already exist.
Until next time!