Cultivating Innovation and Future Talent
Ignite Data Solutions have recently partnered with Monash University, taking on a mentoring role within the Postgraduate Industry Capstone project. This project is focussed around bringing together industry professionals and students from multiple disciplines within the Faculty of Information Technology Masters Program. The aim is to develop innovative systems for commercial use in an industry focussed setting, rather than in a purely academic sense.
The Monash University Capstone project is designed to help Monash students gain authentic and worthwhile experiences, and to assist with increasing their employability. The regular engagement with industry partners exposes them to current best practices, and what it may be like working in the IT industry. Further, the systems developed can be of great value to the wider community.
Monash University’s Gail Bourne stated that ‘we are keen to get organisations on board that are professional, innovative, practical and ambitious. We recognised that Ignite was one such organisation with a great deal of expertise, particularly in the data analytics business intelligence area.’
The students were tasked to work within multi-disciplinary teams to analyse open data, as well as identify community problems or opportunities that arise as a result. They then use an agile approach to develop and implement solutions to meet those needs.
Kris and Harj from Ignite Data are still genuinely engaged with their role as mentors and mangers. Their aims are to support and grow the community knowledge base, as well as provide access to industry best practice. This is done within a supportive environment that provides an open platform for discussion around differing approaches and constructive feedback.
Students are exposed to a professional industry development environment. As such, they experience the intensity of solution development to a very tight deadline and the sense of achievement and confidence that results from successful completion. They learn how to resolve conflict, handle issues and problems within their self-managed teams and achieve outcomes, which are all useful strategies for future employment. Gail mentioned that ‘this allows them to gain confidence in their ability and empowers them to hit the ground running when they are employed.’
The mentors play a key role coaching, questioning, opening students’ minds and providing feedback throughout the process. The feedback given is used not only by the students, but by the program to make sure the experiences gained are of practical use to the industry
When Ignite Data was first approached to contribute as mentors, both Kris and Harj had concerns around the time commitment required. After looking into the program further, it was evident that there is a myriad of benefits, both from the perspective of the mentee and the mentor. The ability to identify and support future talent, as well as the opportunity to contribute to the generation of new ideas provides a distinct advantage to a start up company such as Ignite Data.
The program will culminate in an expo of student work in the coming weeks.
To learn more about the program visit http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/