Reflections and Our Lessons Learned
Over the course of this project, our team went through a lot of idea changes. We started off with implementing solar roads as our idea, and ended up with a vocational school and a new technology. Having done this was probably the biggest lesson we all learned. You don’t just dive straight into your final idea. You have to go through changes, suggestions and ideas, trials and errors, to finally come to a solution you are proud of and you think would work. And, while it took us a lot longer than most other groups to come to this conclusion, it taught us all a very important lesson about doing projects like this, and we all agreed was something we were going to be able to take into the real world with us.
We believe the most difficult part of this course was simply understanding the problem for which we were attempting to combat. In terms of our team, our focus was climate change and implementation of renewable energy sources. This is a huge problem and we were struggling on where to focus our efforts. Climate change is an extremely large and global issue that the world faces. Additionally, there are a myriad of clean energy sources. How do we decide which source to focus on? How do we even begin to tackle this issue? Those were two recurring questions we asked ourselves during the problem identification portion and even onwards. We think our group came a long way from where we started at the beginning. One of your comments on our Problem Identification was that we should work and attempt to narrow the scope of the problem we were trying to address. We decided we wanted to give our focus to solar energy, but It was not until maybe three weeks ago we truly narrowed the scope of our problem. After many group meetings, chats, reading of articles, and discussions with others did we identify the lack of skilled technicians able to install solar technology as the true problem. A conclusions that was a difficult to come to.
We as a team also learned how important stakeholders are in this process. The main change we would make if we did this project over again, would be to conduct more stakeholder interviews and talk to more individuals in the field of solar energy. Because we didn’t know what our final project was going to be, finding the right stakeholders was hard. And, while we did learn a lot from the three we interviewed, it would have been even more helpful to find people who worked in trade schools and were more involved in the actual installation and development of these new technologies. But, learning how important stakeholders and their background and knowledge in similar subjects are was another important lesson we learned from doing this project.
Another thing that we wish we could have done to make this project better was provide a more in depth financial analysis. Due to the time we had, we were able to use averages to estimate what our start up costs would be and what our revenue models would be. To make this project a reality we would have needed to go in an actually see how much the technology and hardware would cost in order for us to get started. We also hope to do a breakeven analysis of our trade school and solestre company. This will give us a better insight as to what cost we may need to incur and which ones we can try to avoid. Without the financials to go with this project, it is hard to say if it will be feasible or not.
We as a team learned a whole lot in this course, from hearing the speakers, to researching and truly understanding the global crisis of affordable clean energy to just learning more about what it means to be a team. We worked very hard on a difficult problem and are confident that we delivered a solution that could become a true worldwide success! We care a lot about the environment and all share a passion for trying to preserve it. We are thankful to Management 2850 for bringing us all together to tackle this huge global issue. We are excited to apply our learnings from this course to our future classes and our future careers. We all aspire to be sustainable human beings in all aspects of our lives and only do business with sustainable businesses. We hope one day to even take our vocational school/Solestre idea intp the real world and make a more impactful difference. Even if we can’t, this challenge project has shown us that 5 college students could make a difference after all.
One of the strong points of our team is that we pride ourselves with a high sense of quality control and can submit our work with confidence that it is the highest caliber we could create. One of the bodies of work that we did struggle with was the team contract, where we dissected what our teams strengths, weaknesses, and what our expectations would be. Since we wrote the contract at the beginning of the quarter, we were not all yet accustomed to one another so it was difficult to address what necessarily was each of our strengths in relation to one another. Throughout the quarter, different members showed incredible passion for our project and strong leadership values which helped carry our team towards our goals. In our team procedures, we signed off on all meeting on Wednesday nights, which was poorly planned because we later found out one of our members picked up a evening job after class so we could not all meet at that certain time. If we could go back, we would discuss the possibility of something like a job happening and perhaps word our contract to be much more flexible.
One of the weak points of our group was that we could have practiced our presentation a little bit more. We were able to create effective slides and visuals to get our point across, but our speaking deliverable could have been improved. This would be done through speaking clearer and slower as well as meeting up more than a couple of times to practice it as a team. This was a challenge for our team because we all have busy lives and schedules outside of this class. Toward the end of the quarter, we all had many other projects and teams to meet up with. If we were able to just focus on this presentation and project for a couple of days, our presentation could have hit it out of the park!