MIMS Students Win Top Honors at Haas Innovation Challenge
Berkeley School of Information
29 November 2017
Photo courtesy Berkeley School of Information
Image: Pictured, from left to right: Team members Jaime Lopez (M.C.P. ‘18), Annie Sept, Nisha Pathak, Tal Eidelman, and Gabe Nicholas.
College of Environmental Design student Jaime Lopez (M.C.P. ‘18) was part of a collaborative and multidisciplinary team that won the Haas Innovation Challenge, an annual full-day competition where students help find real-world solutions to a client’s problem. Along with two Master of Information Management and Systems students Gabriel Nicholas and Nisha Pathak and Haas MBA candidates Annie Sept and Tal Eidelman, Lopez’s team tied for first place and won the People’s Choice Award.
The team worked with The Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Alameda County Transportation Commission to design improvements to the Clipper Card to optimize public transit services for low-income families and students. The teammates worked together to interview clients, including low-income community members, a bus driver, and other public transit representatives to develop innovative public transit improvements. They found several problems that needed to be solved, including families’ inability to withdraw funds previously deposited from the Clipper Card and the inability to share funds between relatives.
The team also designed a way for Clipper Card users to text the system to add additional funds to the family plan, and a design process that indicated where children were on their routes to/from school after using the card to ride BART.
The team came together through the diversity of their backgrounds and flexibility of their planning. Both I-School students attested to the value of the relationships built at the competition: “The best part,” said Gabriel Nicholas, “was working on a team with so many different backgrounds. Nisha is a designer, I’m a programmer, we had a first- and second-year business student and an urban planning student. Our diversity of knowledge is why it was fun and why we did well.”
The Haas Innovations Challenge is hosted by the Haas School of Business Innovation and Design Club, in partnership with IDEO, a global design and innovation firm. Students were challenged to use IDEO’s model of human-centered design to devise solutions founded upon empathy and cooperation with the people they were trying to help. IDEO and the competition’s clients were ultimately responsible for determining the best ideas from the event.
The Berkeley team was awarded first place honors along with the People’s Choice Award, showing their design truly responded to the problems of the communities they were intended to serve.