As regular readers will know, I have been working closely with Jisc on a number of projects for the last year. This includes Learning Analytics, Change Agents Network, and Developing Innovation.

However, it was my involvement in Jisc’s Summer of Student Innovation 2014, that really kicked this off. Last year, I was one of the winners; this year I was invited back as a Mentor.

I spent four days at Aston Conference Centre working closely with two project mentee teams to help them refine their ideas and begin prototyping. The two groups were very different in nature: CourseMash. was the brainchild of Henri, a Physics Masters student from Imperial, and SocialBridge, created by a group of five L2 creative media students from Redbridge College, an FE college in Essex.

Original pitches

The event programme was organised by Astrid and Flaminia from Livework Studio. It involved the following processes:

  • Unpacking ideas
  • Competitor analysis
  • SWOT analysis
  • User stories
  • User journeys
  • Storyboarding
  • Building wireframes
  • User testing
  • Prototyping
  • Practising pitches

The iterative development process allowed the student groups to create things quickly, test with their users and refine. In the space of four days, groups went from initial idea to prototypes. By focussing on the needs of the end users, it allowed any changes to be quickly evaluated and implemented.

The event ended with practice pitches to the whole group ready for the final Exhibition event on August 26 in London. At the event, the best pitches have the opportunity to win further funding to develop their product.

It was a gruelling schedule, with teams working long into the evenings, but it was also very encouraging to see how quickly the projects became real.

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