Instead of spending two days in the same classroom environment, 41 year 10 students from a group of Sydney schools got their hands dirty on solving real world problems with the future transport firm, GoGet.
In doing do, the highly engaged students were developing high level skills for their future, while the GoGet received valuable new perspectives on the problems facing their business.
▸ What was the problem?
GoGet Carshare has more than 3,000 cars, which members book by the hour. The cars live in dedicated on-street parking spaces called pods. While only GoGet cars can park there, regular drivers sometimes use them, knowingly or otherwise. This prevents GoGet members returning their car, causing a hassle as they find another spot in a busy area.
GoGet’s challenge was to stop regular drivers parking in these spots. Signage and potential fines are currently in place, but aren’t 100% effective. The Business Innovation Challenge (BIC) presented this problem to students, tasked with grinding out a solution over two days.
Josh Brydges, GoGet’s Location and Transport Planner, says the challenge is a genuine one for the company.
“Our dedicated parking spots are a key element to getting the most out of carshare, both for individuals and the wider community” Josh said.
“Unfortunately, stopping third parties occupying carshare spaces is a sticky problem. We’ve developed some solutions, but the problem is far from being solved.”
▸ a Question without an answer (yet)
The challenge in this BIC was an excellent one for the students, as it is an emerging problem with no solution. GoGet’s product aims to drastically change the way people move from place to place, which could have a real impact on the future of the students.
By engaging learners in a problem that genuinely affects their lives, and that doesn’t have a ‘right’ answer, students feel (accurately) like they are working on something truly meaningful to them. This boosts their engagement and maximises the development of the soft skills that are in demand in today’s workforce.
“The students really engaged with the issue, more than I would have at their age!” Josh told us. “They know the potential benefits carshare has towards making more livable cities, so helping us solve this issue can directly affect them. I think they appreciated the realness of the problem.”
▸ Actionable solutions
The final presentation from the students unearthed a range of potential solutions. These included technology based approaches like smart bollards and remote sensor systems, as well as softer approaches, like using behavioural psychology to influence the behaviour of drivers.
By seeing their solutions received so positively by the GoGet team, the learners had their work validated, which will inspire them to seek out and accomplish other challenges down the line. With real world experience on how problems are solved in today’s business’ and communities, the students go away better equipped to solve problems in their school and home life.
“I was really impressed with some of the solutions offered” Josh said. “The students engaged with the challenge on a technical level, but also on a social science level, which I love as a planner!”