Make a Change with the CHANGE BOX
One by disruptive technologies ever-changing environment permanently requires new ideas and innovations. These innovations must come straight from the stakeholders, especially in an university environment. So thinking about how to foster the innovative spirit of the University and HEG of Fribourg, members of ideas@iimt and the Innovation Club aimed to find a medium, which allows expressing and sharing ideas in a simple way. As a result, a pilot project named “Change Box” was introduced.
The Change Box is like a suggestion box, a physical box in which students and employees can throw in business ideas, descriptions of social and environmental innovation projects, or more general suggestions for campus-improvement. Next to the box, the Change Box homepage was launched, including information about the project itself as well as an online submission form.
With this project a variety of goals are targeted. The main idea behind the Change Box is about providing more opportunities to participate and integrate everyone on campus into an open exchange. There is a need to encourage students and employees to express themselves freely, without any inhibitions. Certainly everyone on campus has ideas and suggestions for improving life on campus, but somehow only very few of them articulate their thoughts. The reason for this might be that people are facing questions like: Who is the right contact person for my idea? What if I don’t have much time to invest for my idea and I only want to make a proposal? Is my idea good enough, meaning can it be used to add value to the university ecosystem?
In summary, empowering students- and employees-driven change on a campus level by removing most of the explained inhibitions is one of the main targets of this project.
From the institutions' perspective, this project has tremendous potential for identifying those areas where there is a particular need for improvement. By giving students and employees the opportunity to actively solve important problems, the University of Fribourg and HEG Fribourg encourage and stimulate proactivity and individuals with an open mindset. Moreover, this project enables to stand out as the first University in Switzerland, allowing and empowering students and employees to express their ideas through a unique way named Change Box – seven physical boxes, spread over Pérolles 21, Pérolles 14 and Pérolles 10.
The Change Box is also created to promote entrepreneurship and the foundation of start-ups by giving the chance to submit business ideas. Those ideas with a high potential will be passed to ideas@iimt, the unique program at the University of Fribourg which supports students who are interested in developing their own business idea. All in all, the Change Box represents an exceptional opportunity for participation, improvement and innovation.
The decision to realize this project by a simple but effective prototype was taken for several reasons. In the test phase, the objective is to achieve the highest possible learning effects with the lowest possible costs. Concerning the costs, the self-made boxes and the creation of the homepage were covered with a budget of less than a hundred Swiss francs. With regard to the learning effects an evaluation table was developed, including all metrics on the submissions, the further processing of ideas and finally the success. A campus-wide implementation of the Change Box in every building of the University of Fribourg is planned, if the evaluation at the end of the project indicates a corresponding success.