If I Could Do School All Over Again

This program at Draper University of Heroes was written up in Bloomberg BusinessWeek (25 Feb. 2013) as The Silicon Valley Survival School.

But really this is the remaking of education by venture capitalist, Tim Draper.

There is an awesome focus on building thinkers, dreamers, inventors, and entrepreneurs–not just some more liberal arts majors without an real idea of how to apply what they learned or “what they want to be when they grow up.”

The skills taught get you out of your comfort zone, break your fears, teach you life survival skills, and give you a core business foundation to hopefully, create the next great thing.

Draper uses the terms superheroes, creativity, and imagination–skills so often overlooked in the traditional classroom where dated topics are not applied to real life, stale modes of teaching keep people in their seats and snoozing, and memorization is valued more than real critical analysis and innovative thinking.

I am excited here by a curriculum that focuses on the big picture areas of vision, truth & justice, and creativity, and has lectures with CEOs of successful companies along side practical training in martial arts, survival, SWAT, first aid, lie detection, yoga, art and design, speed reading, cooking and more.

This 8-week crash course teaches you how to come up with great ideas, start and finance a business, network, brand and sell, and classes are limited to 180 students, and the cost is $7,500 or 2% of your income for the next 10 years.

The capstone is a 2-minute pitch to a panel of real investors, and the chance for Draper Fisher Jurvetson to make an actual investment in it.

Investing in good ideas is one thing…investing in great people with the skills to succeed is even better.

I’d like to see this program expand to true University and even high-school level proportions–so we can really teach kids rather than just imprison them in mind and body. 😉

PwC Leading Like Idol

Lights-camera-action

What does it take to spark creativity and innovation in the workforce, Hollywood style?

An article in Fortune Magazine this month (October 2011) presents how a top global Assurance, Tax, and Consultancy firm like Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) is reaching out to its people to harness creativity through a new program called PowerPitch.

“PwC wants to cultivate a particular atmosphere. “We have an average age of 27, but we have roots in tax and assurance,” says U.S. chairman Bob Moritz, using the industry jargon for auditing and related functions. “Sohow do you make this place feel like a Google or a Facebook? A place that feels leading-edge?”

PwC is spurring innovation using an firm-wide contest format and social media to drive innovation for their $29 billion organization.

“An admitted fan of American Idol and The Apprentice, [Mitra] Best was drawn to the idea thatcontests and games could yield serious business results. Employees love the opportunity.”

The PwC program galvanizes a workforce into idea-generating teams, with proposals that are voted on and selected through an internal social media platform by all employees and others picked by a senior panel of leaders. Then the best ideas get leadership “advisors” who work with the teams to present to a top leadership committee. The best idea(s) win some nominal cash for the individuals on the winning team(s), and the proposals move forward with a “champion” to work with the team to actual launch.

PowerPitch is as PwC U.S. Chairman, Bob Mortiz, puts it “a [worthwhile] investment in time and money, but we needed to balance short-term costs against long-term sustainability.”

Nearly 800 ideas were submitted from round 1 and these were narrowed down to the top 25 for round 2 and then ultimately to 5 teams of semifinalists and a winning best proposal–however all five ended up deemed “worthy of investing in.”

And if even one of the proposals becomes the next $100 million line of business for the company, it will be more than worth the investment.

PowerPitch may not have Simon Cowell from American Idol to keep the competitors on their toes or Donald Trump from The Apprentice to say “You’re fired!”, but it has enough of excitement, morale-boosting, idea generation and widespread collaboration to keep an organization out front and advance their mission and workforce.

(Source Photo: here)