Aleveo, The Place Where Students' Ideas Reach Companies

Chiara Cicenia and Dejan Strbac, two students of the Politecnico of Milan, have designed and published online "Aleveo", an initiative which, by its high level of innovation, has become part of the initiatives linked to the European Year of Creativity.
Aleveo, The Place Where Students' Ideas Reach Companies

What is Aleveo? This is a place where businesses and young 'innovators' meet. Everything revolves around a highly motivated online community for university students, but also everyone else, eager to show the creative talent in the form of ideas, projects and feedback regarding products, services and the world around us, offered to companies for free.

Aleveo wants to be an open channel between young people and businesses: a major opportunity for students to finally make public the spirit of innovation, but also a constant source of constructive and well structured suggestions, which companies can consider to pursue, test and use for their marketing and other strategies. The project's service offers many benefits, not only to students, especially in terms of personal visibility, but also to companies that may use the pool of ideas and proposals coming from outside, in a constructive form very different than complaints and feature requests currently companies are used to, all with a clear goal to improve the offerings and brand, but also everyone's lives. But innovation does not happen just spontaneously. That's why companies are also able to publish explicit requests for ideas and projects through "challenges", a public call directed to all the users. Best ideas are then rewarded both by Aleveo and companies, with various awards, internships, job opportunities and sponsorship. Students are encouraged to develop practical skills, by being active and involved during their course of study. In this sense the project Aleveo assumes the role of "facilitator" to improve the integration of young people into work and helping companies to find talent. The starting point of Chiara and Dejan was that students’ self-initiated ideas and projects almost never have the means to get attention and support from companies and universities. It is also widely known how difficult it is to assess the real creativity and innovative capacity of a new graduate, usually discriminated in job interviews with curricula that are purely academic and based solely on past experience, rare in graduates, that hardly ever emphasize aspects such as entrepreneurship and innovation. The connection between ideas and companies is made trough "tags": a company registers and defines the fields of reference and what they are interested on, while the students bring proposals and suggestions related to the various areas. But what kinds of ideas can be found on Aleveo? Chiara and Dejan say that this space is available for the exploration of creativity and innovation without limits: an unlimited way for tips on products and services, proposals for new designs and prototypes, computer applications, marketing campaigns, models business and much, much more. The contents are always checked and "filtered" before being public, because of a certain criteria in terms of clarity and usefulness for businesses. Already many companies have chosen to join Aleveo and give importance to the needs and (often) brilliant insights and ability of external users, among them some leading brands such as Bialetti, Alessi and Nokia Italy. Joining Aleveo is easy and does not cost anything, just follow the online registration process open to all "innovative" and completely free (at least in the basic package) for firms. Among the various sections of the site, we emphasize the "Public Garden Idea" as a public repository of thoughts, creative and innovative acts, as well the board with job postings.

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