Dishing Up Hope at Inspiration Cafe

Brief description of the project

Four DePaul Graduate School Students from the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business endeavored to raise money and host a community service event in order to give back and help those less fortunate in these difficult times. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the economy and no other group of people have been hit harder than the homeless population. Partnering with a local Chicago charity known as Inspiration Corporation, we raised money to support the charity’s ongoing programs and solicited in-kind donations of food and snacks for our event.

As an additional contribution, we offered to bring in a group of volunteers to Inspiration Corporation’s program site and take on the duties of administering their nutrition assistance program on Saturday, August 15, 2020 so that their staff could take a well-earned day-off. Our duties included everything from preparing and distributing food, to cleaning and sanitizing the space.

Using the food and snacks we received as donations, our volunteers cooked a hot meal and bagged a to-go meal for the homeless population in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. The event occurred at the Inspiration Cafe at 4554 N. Broadway as they have kitchen facilities and people in need are familiar with the charity as a place where they can go to get a warm meal and other services.

The Uptown neighborhood is known as a neighborhood where large numbers of people experiencing homelessness and other barriers like mental illness, substance addiction, and physical and mental disabilities reside.

Brief description of the charity

In an atmosphere of dignity and respect, Inspiration Corporation helps people who are affected by homelessness and poverty to improve their lives and increase self-sufficiency through the provision of social services, employment training and placement, and housing. Inspiration Corporation has been providing free meals to individuals experiencing homelessness, shelters, and transitional housing for over 30 years.

The agency was founded in 1989 by Lisa Nigro, a police officer who was searching for a personal response to the people she encountered on her beat. Lisa borrowed her nephew’s red wagon, filled it with coffee and sandwiches, and pulled it around the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago offering a little dignity and respect to the people she encountered. Over time, the wagon grew into a van, bus, and eventually a full-service cafe, where men and women experiencing homelessness could sit down, order off a menu and be served.

Factual analysis of success in terms of project objectives

The fundraising and event were a huge success! We met the project head on, exceeded our financial goals, distributed more meals than planned and helped many Chicagoans experiencing homelessness have at least one day better than they have had in recent memory. 

  • We raised more than 150% of our goal of $3,000. We ended up with $4,711 in donations raised through a variety of channels including social media, email and phone calls.
  • We received almost $1,000 ($990.84) worth of food donations, including ribs, tofu cups, and potatoes from area food producers.
  • We distributed over 150 meals to 75 people including men, women and children. 
  • Although there were only four members on our project team, we solicited support from others for the day of the event and ended up having nine volunteers help set-up, cook, pass out food, and deep clean the Inspiration Cafe.  

Lessons learned about project management

  • Do not put off the work! Make sure to get your team together to start planning early, and make sure you are meeting deadlines, handing in deliverables, and staying accountable to your team. There is no way we could have done all of this work if we had put off until the actual event. There is a lot to do, but if you take it one day at a time and delegate properly, you should have no problem hitting your milestones. 
  • In the very beginning, set up a recurring day and time for everyone to be on a Zoom or conference call. It is imperative to have regular check-ins to keep your project moving forward.
  • Be thorough with your risk assessment and contingency plans. Several of our risks presented themselves including increased COVID-19 restrictions, a project team member’s first baby, and even rioting in Chicago.
  • Make sure your Work Breakdown Structure is comprehensive and clear, and that it logically connects to your other project planning tools like the Gantt Chart and Risk Matrix.

Advice for future teams doing similar projects

  • Be less concerned with the number of donors you need to reach out and more concerned with the average donation amount. We overestimated the number of donors we’d need and underestimated the amount of each donation. Pick a financial goal and don’t get bogged down with how many people invest. 
  • Don’t over-invest on securing in-kind contributions. We spent too much time tracking down food donations, finding that the logistics around soliciting and handling those contributions was more time intensive than we expected. If we had spent that time soliciting monetary donations, we could probably have made more money than the amount of money the food cost.
  • If your event involves food preparation, make sure to start early on the day of. You can always put things on the warmer for a while, but you can’t serve raw chicken.
  • Schedule all baby births after the event!
  • Try not to do your project during a global pandemic! 
  • Have fun! We had a great time and will remember this project forever!

Camp One Step

Brief description of the project

Our team raised money by taking lump sum donations or by a dollar per mile by the group.  Our virtual event ran from August 1st– 15th.  One Step provided the team with a website that we used to track all funds. We provided awareness to our friends and family through social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and email.  We also be used a tracking application as a team called Strava, which One Step has had great success using to track activity and miles. This application can be used with any cell phone device and can be linked to an Apple iWatch, Fitbit, or Garmen.  

Brief description of the charity

Camp OneStep, by Children’s Oncology Services, the goal is to empower children ranging in ages 5-19 who have been diagnosed with cancer to find new hope and to believe they have a brighter future. Camp OneStep has programs ranging from overnight camps, Chicago Day Camps, Ski Program trips, Washington DC Trip, sibling camp, and camps for Families to attend as well. The goal of the camps and adventures is to help a child find new hope as well as forgetting about their cancer diagnosis. 

 Camp One Step is run by Children’s Oncology Services.  Children’s Oncology Services is a local organization in Chicago and pride themselves on being the leader in providing empowering, supportive, educational, and fun experiences to children who have been diagnosed with cancer.  They offer 11 different programs throughout the year serving children and families who live in Illinois, Wisconsin, and throughout the Midwest.  Thanks to the numerous volunteers and medical professionals, OneStep can provide medical care and treatment to their campers even away from home.  Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, Camp OneStep was unable to hold its away camp in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin this year.  Instead, they have been hosting online camps for the first time with great success. They have been able to offer camp events from the comfort of the camper’s home. Robin, on our team, has a personal friend that attended camp when they were in 7th grade.  Colleen was 13 years old when she was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. She beat her diagnoses and is now an advocate for raising awareness for OneStep and the work that they do. 

Factual analysis of success in terms of project objectives

  •       Financial goal: $2,000
    • Actual: $2,073
  •       Mileage goal: 100
    • Actual: 75

 

Two or three lessons learned about managing projects

  •       Planning improved execution- helped call out obstacles, leverage team members strengths
  •       Communicate frequently- had weekly zoom meetings and weekly summary email
  •       Immerse yourself and have conviction in your project- having ability to experience the camp first hand allowed the team to convey our passion for helping kids who need a positive empowering experience the most

 

Advice for future teams doing similar projects

Our advice for other groups is:

  •       Start early- there is a lot of planning that goes into an event, even a virtual fundraiser. Understand that because of the pandemic, people may not have normal schedules, discretionary income to donate, so teams need to be flexible  
  •       Hold each other accountable and communicate- We had a large group and many tasks assigned to each individual person. By making sure team members held others accountable, we were able to smooth out dependency road bumps and successfully implement our plan. We met weekly and was a great way to touch base
  •       Enjoy the experience and have fun! You are here to make a difference in the lives of others and if you have a positive attitude about it, others will be excited as well and will be willing to help with your fundraising goals.

Team 4 – NAHS Fundraising Project

Project Description:

Our team chose the Naperville Area Humane Society as our non-profit organization to focus our fundraising effort. Admittedly, we were really ambitious with our goals at the start our project (more on that later!) but ultimately narrowed our focus toward achievable goals given our timeline. Our group focused on the following Events:

Go Fund Me Campaign

Raffle Event

Mini-Golf Tournament

We identified our strategic audience for each event to ensure we were targeting the right donors and then used many of the PM best practices to drive the events to completion. Ultimately, we were able to meet our fundraising and participation goals for each event with the bulk of our donations coming from our Go Fund Me campaigns. Overall, we were able to raise a little over $1,100 dollars for the Naperville Area Humane Society!

Charity Description:

The Naperville Area Humane Society is a no-kill animal shelter for cats and dogs that services the Naperville and surrounding area. The Naperville Area Humane Society is dedicated to making sure every animal can find a home, and receive the care they need to live a happy and healthy life. Their mission is promote the humane treatment of companion animals and create lasting human-animal bonds. They deliver services to the community that reflect integrity, respect, compassion and joy for all people and animals.

Project Goals:

The above table shows the matrix we created to grade our efforts with each event in our project scope. We decided to weight our success from “Goal Partially Met” – “Goal Exceeded” and then we determined a dollar range for each of the buckets in the matrix. The purple highlighted boxes represent the actual range we achieved for each event. We raised a little over $1,100 across the three events = GOAL MET!!

Lessons Learned:

We mentioned earlier that we started off with huge ambitions and many ideas on how we could make a difference and raise money. This made it difficult for our team of five to make decisions and move the project forward early on. There was quite a bit scope creep early on and when we compared our ideas to the project timeline, we were able to plan more realistically with the time available to complete each event.

Advice to Future Teams:

First, don’t forget to have fun with your projects – You’re helping to make a difference and that’s awesome!

A detailed risk mitigation plan is very important because there will be things out of your control that may negatively impact your project – Your risk mitigation plan will literally help you weather the storm! Identify everything that could possibly go wrong and you’ll put your team in a position to meet your goals.

We had a big team and it was important to send summaries of meeting minutes and deliverables, after every meeting, to ensure the entire team was on the same page and up to speed on next steps. Even on smaller teams we found that this was an effective way to avoid confusion and keep the project teams aligned with the project status and on-time with deliverables.

 

Apple’s Product Cycle

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Apple Corporation seems to always have something new to keep their name a popular topic. Even though the adjustments they made to their software are very minimal and there are already systems very similar out, every new launch from Apple a huge hype and gets attention from majority of people.

Every time a new software or phone is released by Apple, they have a huge Keynote that has viewers from all over the world. Apple does not spend money on the advertising for the Keynote but they are still able to have millions of viewers. The Keynote goes through the details of the new product, shows the product to the public for the first time, and finally gives the release date for the item. With the release date being in the near future, customers gain anticipation to get their hands on the product when it first goes public.

Apple now has a cycle for each one of its’ products so they are constantly introducing the next big thing. With this stable cycle, Apple is always able to keep their company on the surface and continue to be a popular brand. Although some may think Apple is making their previous products go out of date very quickly, the purpose of Apple’s constant cycle of upgrades is to make their product irresistible to the millions of people that have yet to buy the product. The cycle also manages to keep the competitors on their toes; when they come out with their first of a product similar to Apple’s, Apple is already ready to release the next generation of the product.

Apple is making their product cycles long enough to have customers with the past model upgrade at the time of release while maintaining the newest products constantly. Some people are ready for the upgrade when it comes out but even the people that are not will be intrigued by the newest release and pay the price to keep up with the latest and greatest from Apple. For example, Apple is at the 8th generation of iPhones, but when the six came out there were still lines for hours the day of the release, even after some people participated in the online preorder that Apple offers.

Thus far the Apple product cycle has been able to keep the company pretty successful and at the top of the market. Apple is able to release the newest products without spending much on advertising and having a good turn out.

 

http://recode.net/2014/09/01/the-apple-product-cycle-comic/

http://buyersguide.macrumors.com

The Electronic Tattoo

'Biostamps' made by IC10 feature bendable circuitry that can stretch up to double its original size

Motorola’s tattoos could replace passwords

LINK: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/mobile-phones/10090863/Google-Motorolas-tattoos-could-replace-passwords.html

There’s a new technology on the horizon – a quite interesting one at that. This technology plans to remove the need to require passwords and replace them by simply with a phone being near the user’s body. The idea was suggested by Dennis Woodside, Motorola’s chief executive, at California’s D11 Conference on May 30, 2103. The tattoos were developed by MC10, an engineering firm in based in Massachusetts. The tattoos contain flexible electronic circuits that are attached to the user’s skin using a rubber stamp. Nokia has previously experimented with this, but Regina Dugan, Motorola’s senior vice president of advance research was a former head of the US Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The agency demonstrated the silicon-based technology that uses the bendable electronic circuits. It was initially designed for medical purposes, but Motorola is hoping for success with these “Biostamps” for consumer authentication purposes. Motorola’s has the notable expert on their team to get the pan implemented quicker than other companies.

Motorola is also investigating the Proteus Digital Health Pill, which is a computer chip that is powered by a battery using the acid in the user’s stomach. This was already approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and was given approval by European regulatory in 2010. The pill creates a unique signal that gets picked up by devices outside the body, which could be used to verify a user’s identity. It’s been claimed that the pill can be taken daily for about a month.

Admittedly theses experimental ideas are not going to be on sale anytime soon, but Wooside has claimed Motorola has “tested it authenticating a phone, and it works.”
Former Google employee who now is apart of Motorola said, “Having the boldness to think differently about problems that everybody has everyday is really important for Motorola now. Authentication is irritating. In fact its so irritating only about half the people do it, despite the fact there is a lot of information about you on your smartphone, which makes you far more prone to identity theft.”

Motorola has already begun to enter the smartphone realm by preparing to launch the Moto X Phone in October. It will go on sale for much less than the iPhone and other smartphones in the market now. Motorola is behind but it just can’t simply compete by selling the same phone everybody else is selling at a cheaper price. It needs to exceed expectations and issue a technology that surpasses that of its competitors.

Although many people will be creeped-out by this, I think that it’s not only fascinating but that it can revolutionize the industry. I agree with the former Google employee; it is very irritating to have to log in with a password over 50 times a day. I am in fact so irritated that I do not have a password on my iPhone or iPad. Although some may believe that is a security issue, I make sure I have the devices either near me or in a locked area. The minute I discover my phone is in danger I quickly find a computer and lock it and erase its data. But that’s beside the point; it is a pain to go through authentication constantly. I think the idea needs much work and warming up to, but I think it’s fantastic. We already have very technologically advanced biometric systems in motion, so why don’t we get consumers to start using them to their benefit as well?

How do you think the company Motorola will do? What do think of this idea? Are there safety issues? Would you be willing to try it out?

SOURCE: The Telegraph

A Cocktail Shaker with a Twist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fellow college students just like us had an idea that had the potential to turn into millions.   The Mason jar has been popular among people and restaurants for use as a drinking glass.  But what about a cocktail shaker?  When college friends Eric Prum and Joshua Williams were playing around with a Mason jar last year, and transformed into a hip new cocktail shaker, they had no idea it would turn into such a hit.  Their Mason Shaker idea was made with a Ball Mason jar and fitted  with a custom lid representing the same structure as a cocktail shaker lid.   Last November, the initial order of the shakers were introduced at West Elm stores and thousands were sold out with in just three weeks.  In January, the sales of the shakers through the Internet and the West Elm stores had reached $250,000.

In January last year, these college buddies first came up with the Mason shaker and designed it.  Later in that following July, they came across this crowd-funding website called Kickstarter.  This site helps raise money for start-up businesses.  Their goal was to raise $5,000 to help manufacture and supply their product.  They shattered their goal of $5,000 by raising $74,738 from approximately 2,000 investors in as little as a month. 

This was not the students’ first entrepreneurial engagement.  Williams, who had a passion for food and drinks, started a catering and cocktails business with his fellow friend Prum.  During the company’s events they discovered how useful these jars worked well for creating their unique cocktail concoctions.

Previously, Prum was a designer and developer for a paintball company, so he took the knowledge gain from this experience and thought to design something with his best friend – a cocktail shaker.  These friends took their product design skills and knowledge to refine their Mason jar cocktail shaker invention.  Making over hundreds of tweaks and finally happy with the final prototype, they began their business.   Prum and Williams founded the W&P Design, a Brooklyn-based product design company.  Then they launched the Mason jar shaker on Kickstarter.  Prum was working as a full-time managing partner, while Williams still employed in his banking job, working as an adviser on product development and business strategy – 2 important operations management tasks.  Then they launched their product by a good deal with a home goods chain called West Elm. 

The company is already profitable, but it’s still very much in startup mode.   They are both hoping that through their skills and knowledge, they will achieve longevity in their business.

I believe these students turned a simple idea into a creative invention that became popular and profitable, but it maintained its profitability and exceeded it through knowledgeable decisions on operating their business.

Prum and Williams, a pair of wise college students made very intelligent and correct operations decisions in their start-up business to not only reach goals, but exceed them.  Their Mason jar shaker was a success and their future decisions will continue to show how successful the shaker can be and how their business will progress.

Source: Link

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the World of Blogging!

The objective of this blog site is to extended our classroom to the world! I would like for you to share personal reflections on the material covered in class – for example, what you learned that was new or surprising to you, examples of how you have seen the concepts or philosophies practiced in your jobs (either good or bad), discussion of interesting articles or news items about operations that you read in the newspaper, magazines, or on the Internet. 

I expect you to seek out relevant information from the Internet and other relevant web sites to supplement the class material and support your thoughts and interests.  You need to cite any sources that you use in the creation of your post.

Happy blogging!