ResilientAfrica Network (RAN), through the Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab (EA RILab) in collaboration with the Entrepreneurship and Project Planning classes (BEPP 1 & 2) at Uganda Christian University (UCU) organized and conducted a half-day Bootcamp on Design Thinking (DT) and Business Modeling on July 20th, 2016 from 2pm – 7pm EAT.
The camp was attended by over 100 students and 4 lecturers with female domination. The bootcamp dwelt on the merits of the Human Centered Design Course (HCD), specifically training the students on aspects of Needfinding, brainstorming, prototyping, and business modeling. The training also complimented the on-going curriculum training on how to develop business ideas as part of the students’ class assignments. The outputs of the boot camp included
- Training students on how to systematically identify and understand local or community problems/ needs/challenges.
- Training to create intervention strategies/ innovations using techniques like user-centered design and creative community co-creation.
- Establishing a network of student innovators ready to work with community representatives, local entrepreneurs and mentors to address the looming challenges.
- Establish at least one collaborative partnership with the University on programs beyond the capacity building to include opportunities for joint exhibitions, hackathons, RAN4Gals boot camps, and student grants among others.
The session was facilitated by Brian Ndyaguma, Ronald Kayiwa and 2 student interns Faith Ainebyona and Eluid Kispang. The students were coached on the steps of Design Thinking (DT) that include; Needfinding, brainstorming, rapidly building prototypes, and pitching the ideas developed. Among the challenges identified after a mock-up Needfinding drill were; a high rate of milk losses due to infrastructural challenges in Kiruhura district, a non-practical education system that creates job seekers and an idea of a job portal for unemployed youth.The students that were split into 3 groups developed their ideas into prototypes and pitched these to their colleagues and lectures. The session was very interactive with a lot of energy exhibited as the students defended their innovative solutions. The most outstanding idea was the online job employment portal that would be hosted at the University faculty premises for easy enrollment and scrutiny of the students applying. The idea also proposed routine coaching and mentoring meet-ups that would be held during the students’ free time. These meet-ups would mainly give emphasis to discussions about the soft skills that employers highly rate as necessary skills for job acquisition. The idea seemed visible because it uses a lot of leverage of the University premises, expertise (for mentors), internet, and students to make it work. The hosts; Ms. Florence Wanyenze and Prof. Mary Chowenhill were very appreciative of RAN’s engagement with the students and pledged to welcome another training where need arose. Participants were also informed about the diverse multidisciplinary opportunities accessible through the RAN and encouraged to follow and like the Network activities shared on Social Media including; www.ranlab.org, Twitter-@AfricaResilient, Facebook-Resilient Africa Network, LinkedIn and YouTube among others. The session was concluded with light refreshments and networking.