In the summer of 2017, the Leaders of Tomorrow team sat down and discussed where we wanted this programme to go. So much had been achieved in the first ten years of Leaders of Tomorrow but a change was needed.
Inspired by the continued growth and success of our 2017 winner Ailbhe Keane of Izzy Wheels, we reflected on our approach and how best to enable these “Leaders of Tomorrow”. With that came a reimagining of the LOT programme. Where once before the idea was at the heart of what we did, moving forward our new focus was to identify great people and let the ideas emerge from there.
Campus Engagement and Workshops
From February through to March of 2018, we advertised the new programme to colleges with the aim of identifying students from diverse backgrounds who all shared an entrepreneurial spirit. Workshops were held in DIT, UCD, Smurfit and Accenture’s head office in Grand Canal Square.
The workshops consisted of a problem statement and an introduction to a Design Thinking methodology. Students were grouped based on their backgrounds and interests worked together to develop creative and interesting solutions to these problems.
The second goal of the programme was to take the great people we’d identified and form them into balanced teams. With the framework established and the methodology well practiced, the teams were invited back to the Accenture head office for another workshop. This time, the focus was to build on the new skills they had learned while also introducing the students to likeminded individuals in a network wider than their campus.
Ideas people spoke with designers, business students collaborated with technology students and 12 teams were formed, each working on an original idea (some of which were thought up in the room that day!). Twelve presentations later and the teams departed to prepare for the final, each having been assigned a mentor from the LOT programme.
On the 26th of April, the teams reconvened at Accenture’s Head Offices to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. The panel was made up of previous winners Ailbhe Keane and Shane Murphy from Izzy Wheels and Groopeze respectively.
The C-Suite members of the panel included Accenture Managing Directors Graham Healy (Health and Public Service) Suzanne Hickey (Global Skills to Succeed Technology Lead) and Eithne Harley (Director of Integrated Marketing and Leaders of Tomorrow Programme Sponsor).
The Leaders of Tomorrow Programme Manager Peter Cleary filled out the final spot on the judging card. Each team was given ten minutes to present which was followed by a ten-minute Q&A session with the judges.
The standard of presentation and idea was exceptional, especially given the nascent nature of the majority of the ideas. In the end, DIT students Raunak Renge, Mrunal Tipari and Odunayo Adedeji (all completing Masters in Data Analytics) and Claire Cunningham (Masters in Creative Digital Media) were ranked highest by the judging panel and won the top prize of a €10,000 investment in their newly formed company.
Their business idea “Gloria” was an ambitious application of AI in the world of speech-to-sign language.
The third goal of the Leaders of Tomorrow programme is to develop the ideas and the entrepreneurs through a series of interactive workshops over the course of the summer.
This started last week with a Business 101 Crash Course delivered by serial entrepreneur Sean Judge. Shane Murphy and Darragh Kirby of Groopeze shared their experience and the day was rounded out by guest speakers from the legal world as well as the design world.
The benefits of the programme will be long felt by all those who continue to participate and the Summer Accelerator Programme is only beginning. The Accelerator will now continue the great work that has already been put into these businesses and the teams will continue be exposed to Accenture knowledge and an array of skills and expertise they would struggle to secure otherwise.
Last summer the LOT team set themselves an ambitious goal of taking a group of individuals, forming them into teams, taking them through the ideation process and building them into tangible business proposals. We’re mid-way through the process and all targets are on track!
Our next blog will follow the teams on the next steps of their journey as they build towards the conclusion of the programme and the first steps of their solo journey into the marketplace.