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Connected Community-How Catalyst Program is helping Entrepreneurs at every level

If you want to drive entrepreneurial spirit and innovation and you want it to start with young people, you may only need to look in your backyard for inspiration and expertise.

That’s what Professor Dan Doiron did when he was looking for a way to break 68 top high school students into entrepreneurial teams. It was for the International SHAD program at UNB-Saint John.

The grade 11 and 12 students from across the country needed to show scientific and technological capabilities, but also have an entrepreneurial spirit.  They would be put into teams, and whatever team came up with the best business idea, had the potential to have it submitted to a national competition.

But, when you have 68 students, how do you keep the teams balanced?

Doiron turned to Mark Breen, the Senior Economic Development Officer at Enterprise Saint John. As a certified Simplexity instructor, Breen works with businesses to find out their team’s problem solving style to help them tackle complex problems and improve their bottom line. He did the same thing with the students. Here are the four problem solving styles:

Generators: These people are great at coming up with new ideas and ways of doing things.

Conceptualizers: These people are deep thinkers and think big picture

Optimizers: These people like solid, practical step by step plans

Implementers: These people are all about action and getting things done

None of these are “right or wrong,” it’s like asking, what’s your favourite colour?  Min Basadur, who worked for years with Proctor & Gamble in Hamilton came up with the methodology in 1981. His research has found using this method, is a good way to create a well-rounded team that produces better ideas and better results

Doiron says Mark’s profile process, helped them to pick good, well-balanced teams.

“It was a great session. The tool helped us to build effective teams and the ideation process really helped the SHAD’s come up with some great ideas for products around their theme of Canadian food security,” he says.

Such good ideas, that one of those ideas placed 3rd  overall the national competition October 27th in Toronto.

The team came up with “ZENsense”. A sensor that could be put in fruit farmers’ fields to sense levels of enzymes the fruit is giving off.

The would help farmers determine the ripeness of fruit, since research shows 20 percent of crops are often wasted due to overripening.

Whether it’s helping to solve problems for business or student entrepreneurs, the Simplexity Training process is just one tool in the kit as Enterprise Saint John continues to make Saint John Canada’s Most Connected Community.

In this case, it’s taking new entrepreneurs and connecting them to their future.

If you want to learn more about Simplexity thinking and training you can reach Mark Breen at mbreen@enterprisesj.com.

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Originally published in “Connections to Growth” column in the Saint John Telegraph Journal, December 18, 2016