An innovative new scheme from RMIT University trialed this year at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu is set to spread across industry in 2008.
The scheme aims to expose students studying entrepreneurship to an entrepreneurial environment. It places students within a company to work for free on projects involving problem solving and innovation.
David Gilbert, the program coordinator for the Bachelor of Business and Entrepreneurship program at RMIT University, says that Deloitte had a database of 5000 ideas from people within the company and seven ideas were selected for the students to work on during the year.
About 22 students were divided into teams of three and they then spent about 15 hours a week over 13 weeks solving a problem and innovating. The teams have a mentor from the university who monitors progress.
Gilbert says they learnt a lot from the pilot this year. “We are looking to bring in some computer science students next year as many of the projects are around Web 2.0 and those skills will help the team.”
At the end of the project the students reported to the Deloitte innovation team. “Some reports were over 100 pages long,” Gilbert says.
He says the students learnt to deal not only with problem solving, innovation and entrepreneurship but also with uncertainty and complexity.
RMIT is now looking to roll the program out to other companies next year.