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The COVID Sprint
What is it?
The COVID Sprint is an intensive five-week learning and problem-solving experience. Hosted by Babson's FutureLab on Mobility and made possible by the generous support of the Toyota Mobility Foundation, the Sprint will deploy small teams made up of students (undergraduate and graduate), Babson alumni, Babson faculty members who are experienced in real-world problem solving, and subject matter experts.
Each team will be paired with a business or other organization to develop innovative solutions to mobility-related challenges in the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Because these problems are urgent and cannot wait to be solved at a more convenient time, the work of the Sprint will begin this month (May) and will be conducted virtually with participants at home or some other safe location.
What Problems Will The Teams Try To Solve?
Each team of 5-7 members will be paired with a client organization and asked to address an issue. Conversations are underway with several candidate organizations. The final selection of organizations will depend on the number of students who enroll in the program and on the faculty’s assessment of which problems are most likely to provide the best learning experience for the students.
Problems under consideration include:
- A hospital needs to ensure that patients coming to that hospital for treatment unrelated to the COVID pandemic can have a safe, confidence-building trip to, through, and out of the hospital.
- A food distributor needs to find ways to diminish the amount of food that is currently wasted due to the pandemic and find ways to get more to the right places.
- A large financial services company needs to develop a rational and humane plan to bring workers back into their offices in ways that help to get work done and accommodate household realities in the pandemic.
- A college needs to develop a plan to reopen on-campus operations in an environment where the pandemic will be less of a factor but not entirely gone (and might come back).
How will it work?
Each team will begin its work by meeting virtually with their client, gathering background information, and completing a rapid review of the best-known methods for thinking about their assigned problem.
The team will then proceed to a combination of individual and group work to identify creative solutions to the problem and design preliminary experiments that could be implemented to test these solutions. There will be emphasis on Babson’s approach to Entrepreneurial Thought and Action (ET&A) as a way to take immediate, smaller steps that will generate knowledge that can be used in follow on rounds of experimentation.
The sprint will end with a presentation to the client organization, which may lead to further work on the idea.
Full participation by student participants will require approximately 25 hours per week for five weeks, beginning the week of Monday, May 18 or May 25.
Due to the generous support of the Toyota Mobility Foundation, students who are currently enrolled in degree or certificate programs (either undergraduate or graduate) at Babson College, and are not receiving a full-tuition scholarship, will be eligible for a partial credit scholarship (maximum of $1,000) toward the cost of the 3 credit course.
Because the program will be conducted virtually, students are expected to have a functioning computer with high bandwidth internet capability in a location with sufficient privacy to enable them to attend group sessions, collaborate one-to-one with other students, and conduct independent research.
Applications for the program will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 14.