The Workplace Innovation Program is a new offering from GreenHouse that enables students to discover and test innovations within established social-purpose organizations.
This past fall, the students that were accepted in the program were given a list of innovation challenges from different public service organization partners. The students were placed in Workplace Innovation Teams with other students interested in exploring the same innovation challenges.
Both Karissa Manning, a fifth year Knowledge Integration and psychology student, and Greg Maxin, a third year Computer Science student, expressed interest in the issue of safety and security for mobile staff of KidsAbility, a local rehabilitation service provider for children with disabilities.
Left to right: Greg Maxin, Karissa Manning and Justin Doyle
As they met with practitioners from KidsAbility, however, “We took it further, getting more involved to use design perspective to uncover and understand more significant issues,” says Karissa. While the team (together with their third partner, Justin Doyle, a social work graduate and advocate for accessibility) continues to explore mobile staffing, they also decided to help the organization enhance the efficiency of their scheduling systems by developing custom software.
Both KidsAbility and the Workplace Innovation Team, now named Rocket Care, believe their solution could increase the number of children being served. It currently takes days, sometimes weeks to schedule client appointments at KidsAbility, but RocketCare is confident their software can cut this time down to minutes. To support further development of the platform, RocketCare was recently awarded $4,000 from a partnership between GreenHouse, Velocity, and the Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility.
For the members of the Rocket Care team, the impact of the Workplace Innovation Program goes beyond learning the basics of problem solving. In addition to having learned risk management and collaboration, Greg says,
“Many of my peers at Velocity just want to build software, but it’s been good to learn all the steps of building a business.” For Karissa the learning has been about recognizing her capabilities and passions. “I’ve learned that I actually have valuable skills because this program has made me put them into practice.”
She notes that working with KidsAbility has shifted her thinking about her future career and is considering becoming an occupational therapist.
“I would absolutely recommend anyone do this program,” says Greg. “You get connections and mentorship and get to meet people in the community. GreenHouse has given us credibility.”