BOSCH Beta Initiative – Breaks New Ground
Author: Sue Weston-Senior Research Felow-CLSOR
Experiential learning is the practical application of learning to solve real-world problems. For students, it is a way to bring classwork to life. Herein, it is case studies that take a retrospective view of what could happen, by analyzing how companies acted. Hands-on experience used to be provided in the form of an apprenticeship, but this concept has been transformed in the world today into internships and externships. These semester-long programs are offered as core curriculum in various undergraduate/graduate programs throughout the country. Students typically work in teams gaining short, practical, educational experiences in their respective fields of study. In this paradigm, the company also benefits by identifying and recruiting potential employees through such a process. The student teams are directed by educators and corporate staff, and typically present their findings at the conclusion of their program.
The Bosch/UOPX beta re-writes the value proposition for corporate collaboratives. University of Phoenix – College of Doctoral Studies created a virtual think-tank that generated ideas and approaches for Bosch in 2020. Bosch is an information systems organization that is an innovative force in technology.
In this beta, we understood that doctoral candidates demonstrate a unique potential not only as researchers but as seasoned professionals who bring experience and business savvy to the table. Because they are both researchers and business professionals, doctoral students are also uniquely qualified to bring insights to a corporate entity like Bosch that holds a tremendous amount of value. These same doctoral students are also individually motivated to tackle innovative projects and can do so independently without requiring much corporate support.
This beta with Bosch that launched last year, presented a valuable learning experience for all involved. Our research team had to be adept and agile for a beta project that had not been pioneered before at the University of Phoenix so it was important to find the right students and the right leadership that could exercise such agility in unknown waters. This feature of agility was tested throughout the beta where at times the team had to work to develop and articulate potentials in spots of ambiguity as well as working through various hurdles such as reassignments, scheduling issues, and the phenomenon of a global pandemic.
The initial Bosch engagement began in June 2019, with initial exploratory conversations. The deliverable was eventually defined as evaluating mobility strategies for the Chicago metro market. This scope of concept was one of several initiatives Bosch was interested in exploring and innovating around where urban mobility and the challenges of commuters presents large complexities. As with the start of such beta projects, there were a series of unforeseen timing delays, but ultimately, the project regained clarity in September. As the doctoral candidates approached the end of the third chapter in their dissertation, they shifted their focus to Bosch between classes. Finding this "right" rhythm for the students was imperative and was one of the valuable lessons we learned from the journey. The team finally proposed an 8 to 10-week period to complete their research, which culminated in a final formal presentation to Bosch and their international team. On May 28, a virtual panel of Bosch experts from around the country and UoP leaders assembled to listen to the final presentation. The team’s solutions created a dynamic conversation and sparked an interactive engaging discussion of mobility in a post-COVID-19 environment.
Because this was a beta, we defined the rules of engagement as an organic learning process. Our initial challenge was to determine the time required to produce a thorough and high-level presentation which would be useful to Bosch, while also defining the source material required to make it relevant. Because we were presenting in a COVID19 environment, we would all be virtual and connected from around the country including London. Going into the beta we were unsure of the interaction and engagement required, but after the final presentation during a debrief, we were able to truly assess and articulate our effectiveness, and we knew we had hit the mark!
Unlike traditional programs, the Bosch beta required a low level of corporate engagement and direction. We operated as a consulting firm, requiring a signed NDA to allow a free unrestricted sharing of information. The team conducted an extensive literature search to understand the state of mobility and distilled the finding into a short ‘white-paper’ designed to be business-friendly. They managed the final presentation using a PowerPoint to provide structure and designed an InfoGraphic to capture general Urban Mobility Themes. WebEx was the hosting platform for delivery and the event was recorded for posterity as well as future learning and analysis. The team worked well together, bringing different perspectives and strengths to the table while sharing a singular focus to deliver a quality product to our client – Bosch.
Meet the UoP Team:
Donte Vaughn, MSM, Doctoral Candidate is an Organization Leadership and Growth Strategist serving public and private industry verticles. He is a Doctoral Candidate for the Doctor of Management with a concentration in Organizational Leadership. He also serves as Vice President for a national Cultural Performance & Technology practice.
Christopher Knerr¸ MSIT, Doctoral Candidate is a strategically focused leader in the Information Systems and Technology industry for national and global organizations. He is a Doctoral Candidate for Doctor of Management and Organizational Leadership with a focus on Information Systems and Technology.
Dr. Rodney Luster is the Chair for the Center for Leadership Studies, (COR) Committee on Research Chair, and Lead Designer for the Phoenix Scholar Periodical. He has 17 years in leadership roles, a former HLC analyst for 8 years and Private Practice Counselor writer, entrepreneur, and researcher.
Sue Weston is Senior Research Fellow, writes a column for IDG TechTalk Voices for CIO.com, and is a partner in a supplier diversity consulting firm IW Consulting Group. Her passion is creating workplace inclusion, especially during this climate of uncertainty.
We will potentially begin a track II with a new set of doctoral students in the Fall of 2020. Look for more details on that to come.