If you are in the corporate, venture capital or economic policy-making business, May is a special month for you. Students at design/innovation schools present their work publicly to their professors, peers and parents at the end of the semester. I am seeing student presentations now at The New School and I have seen many at the IIT Institute of Design, CCA in San Francisco, the University of Cincinnatti, CMU and at other top-rated schools and they are amazingly insightful, developed and often wrapped in a real business plan.
Many design student briefs and projects are one and two degrees away from angel investing. A few are ready to go. One group of my students (we have teams of product, graphic, communication and technology designers and design management students working together). showed me research into Gen Y communication that is worth at least $1 million to a packaged goods company. Another team came up with a sophisticated business plan involved a beautifully designed, corn-based water bottle that can be used for compost and fertilize organic crops from local farmers connected to city people linked by community-based agriculture networks. These design briefs were so good, I just rocked in my seat.
There is enormous potential to build a global network that links these student projects with businesses and investors. If such a network already exists, please let me know.
InnoCentive, this may be a great opportunity for you.
May is a great month for growth. Birds are singing, sap is rising and students are creating. We need to tap into them.