In their first step towards debuting their capstone-like Masters level Launch Projects in December, students in the Masters of Science in Technology Innovation (MSTI) program recently met and formed into teams with GIX Consortium members and partners. Consortium and partner representatives from Microsoft, T-Mobile, Vulcan, PATH, Port of Seattle, The WA State Department of Natural Resources Wildfires Division, and the University of Washington, met with students to identify the needed skillsets and to form appropriate teams for the projects’ success. “The Launch Project is an unparalleled opportunity to see students’ intellectual growth over six months,” said Dr. John Raiti. “During this time they progress from immersing themselves in a problem space to creatively identifying possible solutions, and to designing, testing, and evaluating their working prototype.”
As part of the virtual event, Linda Wagner, Director of Academic Programs, discussed the project timeline, including the four key milestones that students and project partners will go through. “The Launch project is unique in that it incorporates truly interdisciplinary work,” she said. “Students have to conduct user research, design and build technical functional prototypes, assess the legal and regulatory issues for their project, and identify potential business models. We bring in mentors and guests with expertise in each of these areas to help them develop their ideas, and have an interdisciplinary teaching team.”
Milestone One consists of formative research and reviews what is already known about a problem or challenge. Milestone Two delves into primary research, in which students form a deep understanding of stakeholder needs to inform early concept ideation. Milestone three consists of an early prototype, such as a low-fidelity physical prototype or software wireframe. Both Linda and Dr. Raiti will check-in with industry and faculty mentors after each milestone and students will also have the opportunity to provide user feedback throughout the process. “Students learn both from the strengths of an interdisciplinary teaching faculty team, and from the professional and academic experiences of their fellow students in a cohort model,” said Dr. Raiti. “Industry and Faculty mentors benefit from an accelerated prototyping cycle allowing companies to test concepts and explore new directions that they otherwise might not be able to within their company structures.”
This year’s projects address a variety of health, economic, social, and internet-of-things challenges. Students will work with industry and UW faculty members to develop the hardware and software needed to enable their innovative products and solutions, and they will then test them with real-world users before integrating their feedback. Additional project details will be shared here in December.
Interested in learning about previous Launch Projects? View them here.
Interested in learning about how you can partner with GIX on a Launch Project? Email Anthony Robinson.