Open Innovation Boost for the Future of Education

Published Jul-07-14

Open innovation competition generates innovative concepts to improve education.

Microsoft, United States

The Story:

Open Innovation Boost for the Future of Education The power of the crowd can achieve great things when smart brains come together to work on ways to bring about meaningful changes in society. Their ideas, once put into action can make a terrific impact.

The Microsoft Innovative Schools Pitch Competition was a global open innovation contest that premiered in 2014 and sought ideas from teachers, students and school leaders for breakthrough concepts in education.

They were asked to share their visions on how they would transform schools across the world if they had the requisite money and support. The competition was modeled after the TV show ‘Shark Tank’ where inventors and entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of investors.

The Microsoft Innovative Schools Pitch Competition drew a healthy response and dozens of inspirational ideas were submitted. These were whittled down to six finalists who competed for a share of the $50,000 prize pot by pitching their ideas to a panel of experts.

The open innovation competition winners were:

Broadclyst Primary School from the UK, for their idea of a global enterprise challenge. This is a concept where students from different countries come together to run an international company that competes to become the most successful company globally. The school was awarded $25,000 to help implement their idea. The judges were impressed by how the project will give students entrepreneurial skills as well as an understanding of world markets and cultural diversities.

“There are some really great learning opportunities in a project like this,” said Jonathan Bishop, Head Teacher, Broadclyst Primary School. “It's the entrepreneurial skills, but also embedded within it are literacy skills and maths skills. So much can be gained from this, as well as linking with children around the world.”

Gayaza High School from Uganda was awarded $15,000 for an idea that lets students support local entrepreneurs and help them with marketing activities. Students will also help their communities with best practices by creating a library page that has links to videos going behind the scenes of local enterprises in Uganda. “If all our schools can support the communities, you'll have better communities," commented Ronald Ddungu, Deputy Head Teacher, Gayaza High School. “Education is broader than examinations, it's broader than the curriculum."

Schloss Neubeuern from Germany picked up a $10,000 check to help implement a program where students and teachers create a company that makes learning videos for their own school. The long-term aim is to make these videos available to other schools, learning institutions and teachers.

Jörg Müller, Principal, Schloss Neubeuern said: “As a school with a very strong background in economics and entrepreneurship we thereby teach our senior students indispensable 21st century skills by giving them a chance to participate in the creation of curriculum content as a business idea.”

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