Every day, I have the pleasure to talk to Executives from a variety of industries and geographies to discuss strategies that allow them to merge innovation and talent management practices.
In this context I am often asked what the secret ingredients are that make up successful university business collaborations.
I don’t often give the answer that is expected; which is to stay focussed on existing university relations, give occasional lecturing about your work experiences, products and services, promote research activities at work and open the gates for student internships as well as graduate entry-level positions.
While those are all very important elements of traditional university collaborations, there is one factor that yields amazing results when it comes to collaborate with academia at scale today – to become a digital challenge sponsor!
What’s the role of a Digital Challenge Sponsor?
In this day and age becoming a digital challenge sponsor is a fairly straightforward path as long as you are open to publish and collaborate on some of your day-to-day challenges, online.
Once you’re on you will start to be on the lookout for opportunities to collaborate and extend existing corporate university alliances, based on your challenges at hand.
Although your prime goal may be to source “innovative” solutions in form of reports, analysis, prototypes and MVPs, undoubtedly you will get in contact with a very diverse group of student and faculty talents from all over the world.
Instantly, you will become and serve as a partner in promoting solutions by offering invaluable rapid feedback to students that collaborate with you as problem solvers based on your real world experience and deep expertise.
To be more specific, as a digital challenge sponsor you bring context, real insights and data of a particular area to the table. You clarify, frame, and pitch your challenges prior to exploring solutions with your student teams.
Your collaboration efforts, will help student teams become thought after problem solvers with applied skill sets that will lead to better solutions overall.
Last but not least, you support university professors providing practical learning experiences to their courses and help universities upgrade their curriculum with challenge-based education.
A very rewarding journey all the way.
Who is the ideal Challenge Sponsor?
The ideal challenge sponsor is an entity and/or subject matter expert with experience and expertise in the field related to the challenges at hand. For example, executives or line managers all be ideal challenge sponsors for challenges related to their role and responsibility.
What is the expected time commitment?
Since most of us are very busy with our day-to-day jobs, this question is of utmost importance.
When we observe mine or our customers commitment, collaborating during 90 days with student teams, we see a variety of engagements or time commits taking place.
Not all yield the same results and there is no universal answer to this question.
However, to collaborate on simultaneous multi-university and multi-course engagements, we have carefully crafted and developed a “Governance Model” over the years that allow for efficient yet effective innovation and talent scouting activities.