Though CSEI 2020 is structurally very different from years past, the remote program is providing students with the opportunity to learn from mentors and share with colleges, universities and future employers personal growth, achievements and solutions to real business challenges made in the midst of an uncertain time.
CSEI is grateful to its four partner organizations, Dominion Energy
, Impact Makers
, Midas of Richmond
and the Richmond Squirrels
who committed to the program and students this spring in the midst of uncertainty, logistical challenges and structural ambiguity. Partner organizations have charged the students with solving real, very important challenges for their businesses. Those challenges include:
- Designing a remote community experience for Dominion Energy's young professionals employee resource group to enhance internal employee engagement.
- Designing a method to regularly share Impact Makers' unique culture with it's dispersed workforce.
- Designing a new customer experience that continues to deliver on Midas of Richmond's promise - Cars don’t work without proper care. Neither do communities. That’s why we do both. Welcome home, Richmond - even in the era of COVID-19.
- Designing a new customer experience for the Richmond Squirrels that follows CDC guidelines and aligns with the Richmond Squirrel's core business - the memory making business - even in the era of COVID-19.
CSEI faculty, Collegiate teacher Amy Leibowitz and Trina Clemans, Collegiate's Director of Economic Literacy and Entreprepreneurship, work with students to develop and enhance skills, knowledge and mindsets that enable student teams to unpack multiple perspectives and problem solve for partner companies. That work has included learning the Right Question Institute's Question Formulation Technique
and IDEO's Design Thinking Methods and Mindsets
Guest speaker John Dau, Collegiate's Global Scholar-in-Residence
and founder of the John Dau Foundation
, joined a Zoom meeting to share the mindsets that helped him persevere from South Sudanese refugee to prominent human rights advocate and entrepreneur. "I think people refuse to try things because they fear failure." Mr. Dau shared, "there have been many impossible situations in my life, but I keep trying. My family in Sudan thought I was dead and I feared they were dead, but 20 years later we were reunited. You can't give up."
Over the coming weeks, students will leverage their problem solving knowledge, skills and mindsets to conduct interviews and research analogous experiences to brainstorm solutions for CSEI partner organizations. Participants and faculty will continue to gather virtually to welcome guest speakers, play games and run through exercises that reinforce problem solving competencies.