What is the outcome when you put 82 students, 28 mentors/guests and seven DeLorean Facilitators into the zone and atmosphere of the Innovation Centre at the University of the Sunshine Coast? A day packed with anticipation, energy and valuable input that can be heralded by all as an outstanding success! Last Wednesday our Year 10 students together with their DeLorean Project facilitators undertook an epic first time experience of a ‘Startup Day’. Students began with just an idea and a possible team and from there were challenged to test the idea and its assumptions in a real world context.
For student ideas to become actions, participants on the day needed to consider whether their idea solves a real problem and who their potential customers might be. Provided with some tools to evaluate the viability of their idea/product, students grappled with the concept of ‘Unique Value Propositions’ (UVP) and pursued the goal of creating a ‘Minimal Viable Product’ (MVP) so they could test their idea and assumptions. Sounds challenging doesn’t it? What was impressive was the enthusiasm, engagement and maturity of our Year 10s as they tackled the tasks and challenges presented and developed their connections with the mentors who joined us for the day.
Several teams took advantage of being on the USC campus to ‘test’ their idea by surveying people at the university and undertaking market research to inform their product design. They could see the benefit of the feedback they were given and the need to really listen to what their potential customers were saying. Other teams, through the connections with their mentors were put into contact with industry experts or introduced to other people involved in fields related to their particular idea/product. It’s not an easy task to communicate with new people or to make a phone call to someone you have never met and discuss something outside the usual comfort zone. Students reflected that they were surprised by the number of adults ‘out there’ who are willing and waiting to be asked to help them. The end result for students was learning that all it takes is to step into the ‘courage zone’ and use initiative to their advantage.
The real measure of success of the DeLorean Startup Day came at the close of the evening program when each team had to deliver their pitch to a panel of judges. Is that really a possibility after just one day of learning? Students embraced the opportunity and tackled the range of emotions that go along with such a significant challenge. From fear and trepidation to excited nerves and degrees of confidence, each team and student supported each other, stepped up to the platform and delivered! Each team and student should be proud of their efforts. The judges were impressed by the calibre of student ideas and presentations and by what they had achieved in just one day! Many students were offered further networking opportunities and ongoing support for their ideas. Our Year 10 cohort at GCC are wonderfully positioned to access an amazing pool of support and resources with a strong bridge now being built between industry and the classroom.
The DeLorean Project facilitator team are excited to continue to build on the experience of the Startup Day and acknowledge that what the students were able to accomplish in just one action-focused day is outstanding. We are super proud of these students in how they have embraced the program and recognised the need to challenge and change their own mindsets as they learn new skills that they can take with them beyond school. Stepping out of comfort zones and into courage zones requires a willingness to trust the program and be prepared to do hard things. The effort they are investing in the activities of the DeLorean Project in developing skills such as resilience, collaboration, communication and creative and critical thinking, will pay dividends for them now and into their future. In just one day, increased confidence and demonstrated high levels of creativity and compassion in solving real world problems were clearly evident. This outcome is not only exciting and inspiring for the team of facilitators, but it is also inspiring for the greater DeLorean network of supporters. 2019 promises to be the most productive and engaging year of the program so far.
Stay tuned for our latest news and updates by following us on social media and watch this space in future issues of ‘The Eagle’ as we start to share and promote some of the ventures coming out of the program this year.