Meet the Participants: Building skills and growing confidence

We’re rounding up week four of IACT20, and preparing for another week of progress. This week, teams had a break from normal content, instead getting a chance to reflect on and refine the work they have done to date, and receiving presentations from the Collective in last Saturday’s Mini Workshop. At Tuesday’s event, teams were able to engage with each other as well as members from the IACT community, to share their progress and give each other feedback. With this social aspect taking a hit in the virtual world, this community-driven event has been a highlight of IACT so far.

We can’t get enough of hearing about the journeys of our brilliant IACT teams. This week, our interviews highlighted how each participant receives their own unique value out of the program, whether that be a new skillset, a challenge, the pursuit of a dream, a new community, and the list goes on. Equally, every person and team brings their own personality, background, and motivation to their innovative ventures.

 Eleanor, from Team CoffeeCall, joined IACT as a way of developing her skills in innovation. As she says, ‘my interest is wanting to have the innovation mindset through the rest of my career, whether that is within organisations, or if I do something on my own, side projects, and even potentially one day joining a start-up or starting something of my own.’

CoffeeCall, the venture started by Eleanor and teammate Danagul, aims to create an app that ‘connects people who are giving and seeking career information, whether it is students or working professionals, who are wanting to chat to a real person about switching or starting careers.’ Their thought process is that currently, it is hard to find personal connections to rely on for career advice, and therefore this product will ‘find people to talk to and be incentivised to help others through a credit system.’

Team CoffeeCall with Suhaib from the IACT Committee

Their thought process is that currently, it is hard to find personal connections to rely on for career advice, and therefore this product will ‘find people to talk to and be incentivised to help others through a credit system.’

While this idea has received positive feedback from potential customers in the student category, Eleanor sees a challenge in ‘reaching out to people who are a bit more senior, to get their perspectives on what would actually incentivise them to contribute to a network like this… It’s fairly straight forward to map out the user journey for someone, like a student, seeking information. But on the other end, I’d like to think a bit more about the user journey for people who are just open and willing to give information.’ Finding this incentive is the challenge she hopes to address in the coming weeks.

For Effie and Jessica of Team Dreaming, IACT has been a chance to refine a venture they wish to carry forward well beyond the program. For Effie, it is ‘a stepping stone to our long term goal.’ She hopes that ‘we can acquire all the necessary skills involved in setting up a business, and actually see the fruition of this project.’

Beyond this, Jessica says that IACT has vastly improved her confidence, particularly after last Tuesday’s event, where teams pitched their ideas to potential mentors.

‘My courage has just boosted right up! Effie knows, I used to be really introverted, and I wouldn’t really talk with strangers. But last Tuesday I was really thrown out there by myself, so I really needed to engage and talk with mentors. That really boosted my confidence.’

Team Dreaming with Anika from the IACT Committee

As explained in their well-rehearsed pitch, ‘Dreaming is a venture addressing educational inequality in developing countries… We aim to provide accessible education and foster self empowerment in those prevented from quality education by conventional barriers, such as technical difficulties, financial difficulties, and gender inequality.’ They are focusing in particular on Malawi, a country which Effie has visited and has a close connection with.

When asked about their toughest challenge so far, Effie responded that ‘coming up with a solid idea has been the most challenging. Every time we think of something, naturally you think of all the barriers that exist, and what might go wrong with this idea, and also you need to be cautious in the sensitivities that surround certain issues… But right now we’re heading onto a track that has a more visible outcome, and I think that’s pretty good.’

We are thrilled that IACT is enabling students to challenge themselves, build connections, pursue their passions, and develop their own skillset along the way.