We wanted to give some up and coming University of Portland students the chance to solve some real world problems.
We invited a select group of students into the Maker Space on campus and brainstormed solutions to some real hurdles we’ve been facing at Produce Mate. Students broke into small teams and used the principles of Design Thinking to brainstorm ideas relating to our supply chain, to our overall sustainability, to our packaging and to our marketing efforts.
We were blown away by what they were able to come up with. Many ideas that were discussed that day have influenced the way we’re doing business. Thanks everyone!
So why does this matter? Why write a post about it?
We cannot continue with “business as usual”. Students today are more stressed than ever and feel a general responsibility to tackle global problems. It’s going to take ambitious, enlightened young leaders to truly change the powers that be.
We think it’s crucial to empower students to solve real world problems. Design thinking provides a useful framework, and Produce Mate provide the problems! From there, it’s about showing students that their ideas matter. We want to help develop action-oriented critical thinkers. Plus, by giving students a glimpse into the inner workings of our business, they might gain a better sense of direction, or even feel empowered to pursue entrepreneurship.
This workshop experiment was worthwhile for us, and for the students. We learned a lot and gained valuable insights, and the students walk away having spent an out-of-the-box hour learning a new skill (design thinking) that might better prepare them to tackle some of the planet’s biggest issues. We loved putting this workshop on and would love to host more! Please reach out if you’re interested in hosting us.