I received my Kelley Coin for being a member of the winning team from the first Kelley Connect Week in Summer 2020: Navigating a COVID-19 World. Several weeks of learning from experts about the challenges of the pandemic and certain business implications culminated in a 72-hour entrepreneurial idea sprint. Each team was tasked with developing a novel solution to a COVID-related problem, creating a minimum viable product (MVP), validating the solution and MVP with data from potential customer groups, and developing a crowdfunding-style video pitch. I was exhausted by the end of the weekend blitz, but it was thrilling to solve real-world problems and develop a solution that could truly make a difference.
My teammate – inspired by his own experience with uncomfortable surgical masks in his healthcare field – came up with a brilliant solution to develop an innovative mask that would circulate cool air. My team and I solved the challenge by taking the time to get to know one another and learn about each other’s backgrounds and strengths, which built the trust necessary to be open about our gaps. In the end, it all came together in an amazing, winning video pitch, because six people chose to trust each other, rather than be consumed by the challenging experience. (more…)