The Innovation Challenge provides college students from across the United States with a combination of hands-on consulting experience and the opportunity to make a positive impact on society. The winning teams were selected following three rounds of competition throughout 2013. Final selections were announced in November 2013 in Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
The challenge, launched in 2012, inspires students to put their community spirit and creative ideas to the test by participating in consulting projects to support nonprofit organizations. In 2013, more than 1,200 undergraduate and advanced-degree university students competed for the opportunity to develop and implement innovative solutions to key challenges faced by nonprofits Goodwill Industries International and Usher’s New Look.
“The convergence of technologies and societal trends, especially in mobility, social media and analytics, are creating opportunities for leading nonprofit organizations, such as Goodwill and Usher’s New Look, to increase their impact and effectiveness,” said Marty Rodgers, Accenture Federal Services managing director who leads Accenture’s nonprofit practice. “There are many opportunities for nonprofit organizations to develop digital strategies to support their core missions, and we are thrilled to have the chance to work with talented and compassionate students to help nonprofits that are doing amazing work for people in need.”
As part of its mission to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families through learning and the power of work, Goodwill and its partners needed help to catalyze financial wellness for one million low-income households. The winning team from the University of Michigan developed a solution to provide online tools and counseling resources to help families budget and learn to manage their finances.
“The process, from start to finish, was of such a high caliber that singling out any best component isn’t really possible,” said Luke Rondel, a MBA candidate at the University of Michigan and participant in the 2014 Innovation Challenge. “Overall it was one of the most demanding and rewarding aspects of my business school experience thus far.”
Usher’s New Look, which focuses on providing positive role models through peer mentorship, trains and certifies young people throughout the world in four areas – talent, education, career and service – to enhance their success as future leaders. The organization needed to identify and train 2,500 new peer trainers to mentor young members of the organization in time for the 2015-2016 school year. A team of students from the University of Pennsylvania created the winning solution, which tracks student performance, engages alumni and offers networking benefits to retain trainers.
In 2012, the inaugural year of the challenge, teams of undergraduate students from the University of Chicago and advanced degree students from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management worked with an Accenture team supporting nonprofit organizations, America’s Promise Alliance and KaBOOM!In addition to pro-bono assistance from an Accenture team, America’s Promise Alliance and KaBOOM! received grants to help kick-start implementation of their winning solutions, which have provided them tools to develop a stronger digital presence. America’s Promise Alliance has the overarching goal of providing children fundamental resources needed to succeed at home, at school and in their community. KaBOOM!’s mission is to create great play spaces through the participation, engagement and leadership of communities, with a goal of creating a place to play within walking distance of every child in America.
Members of the winning teams participating in the Innovation Challenge are offered Accenture summer internships to implement components of their winning solutions.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 281,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$28.6 billion for the fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, 2013. Its home page is www.accenture.com.
About Goodwill Industries International
Goodwill Industries International is a network of 165 community-based agencies in the United States and Canada with affiliates in 13 other countries. Goodwill agencies are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 2,800 stores and online at shopgoodwill.com®. Goodwill also builds revenue and creates jobs by contracting with businesses and government agencies to provide a wide range of commercial services, including packaging and assembly, food service preparation, and document imaging and shredding. In 2012, more than 6.7 million people in the United States and Canada benefited from Goodwill’s career services. Goodwill channels 82 percent of its revenues directly into its programs and services.
To find a Goodwill location near you, use the online locator at www.goodwill.org, or call (800) GOODWILL. Follow us on Twitter:, and find us on Facebook: .