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MSc · Sophie George

Summer Break is Overrated! Reflecting on Sprint One of the Ivey Digital Innovation Studio

May 27, 2024

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If you think that graduate students at Ivey get to enjoy a relaxing summer off from school... you are sadly mistaken! Over the past four weeks, my cohort and I have been diligently working on our summer practicum project, the Ivey Digital Innovation Studio (IDIS). In the fast-paced world of technology, it can be hard for companies to prioritize a future-oriented approach to innovation. This is where IDIS comes into play. MSc students in the Digital Management stream are paired with three different businesses in three different sprints and are tasked with helping them prepare for a future that is rapidly changing. The goal of the studio is to be a visionary and think about what is possible, rather than what is plausible. IDIS is where creativity and business acumen meet.

In our first sprint, my team was paired with Ivey Publishing, one of the biggest case publishers in the world, second only to Harvard Business Publishing. Ivey Publishing provides us with our beloved cases at Ivey. Working with them was a fabulous way to start IDIS, as our first-hand knowledge benefitted us immensely. If you weren’t aware, Ivey is notorious for its use of case-based learning which, in my humble opinion, is one of the best (and most intimidating) ways to approach education. Our team was tasked with addressing Ivey Publishing’s current pain points and helping them prepare for the future of learning, which we identified as virtual reality (VR).

The Experience

What I have failed to mention is that while participating in IDIS, many of my classmates (including myself) are also working full-time - don’t ask me how we’re doing it – we just are! Days are filled with work meetings and evenings are filled with school meetings. The lines between the two start to get blurred but, nevertheless, when an opportunity presents itself you must take it! With a tight three-week deadline, our goal was to create a forward-thinking approach that not only addressed their immediate needs but also set the stage for future advancements in educational technology.

Our Solution: Optimize/Modernize (2025 MSc students - stop reading here!)

After three weeks of collaboration and hard work, my group finally came up with our solution. We named our two-pronged solution Optimize/Modernize.

Step One - Addressing Current Pain Points (Modernize): We conducted a thorough analysis of Ivey Publishing's existing processes internally and by interviewing professors and identified key areas that required improvement. Our focus was on enhancing efficiency, streamlining operations, and improving the user experience for both educators and students.

Step Two - Preparing for the Future (Optimize): Recognizing the transformative potential of VR in education, we proposed a visionary plan that integrated VR technology into Ivey Publishing's offerings. This included developing immersive learning experiences using VR that could revolutionize how case studies are taught and absorbed and diversify revenue streams.

The Result

Our hard work culminated in the creation of a detailed 20-page report and an engaging video presentation. The report outlined our findings, strategic recommendations, and a step-by-step implementation plan for integrating VR into Ivey Publishing's educational framework. The video showcased our solution in a compelling and visually appealing manner, highlighting the potential impact of VR on the learning experience.

Presenting our solution to Ivey Publishing was a pivotal moment. We were nervous but felt excited and ready to defend our ideas in the 10-minute Q and A. Despite the challenges of balancing full-time work and team collaboration, our group was thrilled with the outcome! Our solution not only met the immediate needs of Ivey Publishing but also positioned them at the forefront of educational innovation with VR. The positive feedback we received validated our efforts and underscored the importance of forward-thinking solutions in today’s rapidly evolving educational landscape.

What Comes Next

The past three weeks have been intensive, marked by brainstorming sessions, late-night discussions, and meticulous research. But, the power of teamwork and potential of emerging technologies allowed us to come up with a solution that we truly felt proud of.

For anyone involved in digital innovation or educational technology, this project was a testament to what can be achieved with dedication, creativity, and a clear vision for the future. I’m excited for the next month, where we get to do this twice more with SickKids Hospital and CIBC. Wish us luck and send us energy!