When I was in command I had a list of broken systems. I knew what wasn’t working in my organization, I just didn't have the manpower or time to commit to fixing all of them. I had to pick and choose which problems were the most severe and address them. The rest would be left to fester and hopefully be fixed on another day.
As an MBA grad student, I am constantly pairing with local businesses for class projects. Our professors encourage us to use the techniques we learned in the classroom and apply them to real world problems. I have worked with several local businesses during the last year in topics ranging from social media optimization of a frozen fish food start up to improving throughput at checkout lines at a local Whole Foods. Tiger teams or other consultants are often employed to solve Brigade and above problems. Why don't Battalion and below organizations partner with local colleges to try and benefit from their skill sets?
If I could go back, I would have loved to stop by the University of Texas El Paso Business School and meet with some of their professors. I would share with them some of the problems my organization was facing and then see if they have any upcoming projects that would fit my issues. I would then invite the students to my organization and given them full access to both people and anything else they need to improve my systems. If I was concerned about what information I was providing the students, I could have them sign non-disclosure agreements (a common practice). Graduate students working on projects are not paid for their efforts, but at the end of the project I would bring them back and offer some small token of thanks as a way of rewarding their work and fostering relationships with the local community.
With the benefits of refining systems for organizations that are often too busy to address them themselves and improving relationships with the local community, why wouldn’t we try and partner with local graduate schools?
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