Innovo Scholars Consulting

The Innovo program is framed by the FEARLESS consulting model, which teaches students how to solve complex problems and manage the dynamics of client-focused engagements. Throughout the program, students receive professional coaching from practicing talent managers and management consultants, with an emphasis on developing skills required to succeed in professional careers.

The program currently has two practicums which focus on transforming Smith School courses and programs and innovating university business process.

Innovo: Smith

In the Innovo: Smith practicum, students partner with Smith School faculty and administrators to identify the strengths and opportunities of current courses and programs, prioritize issues, and apply the research on learning and engagement to recommend improvements. When proposing recommendations, Innovos consider human capital, organizational, and technological issues to ensure the proposed solutions are feasible. Design thinking and agile development methods drive course and program innovation. Innovos typically work alone or in pairs on their project and must enroll in BMGT 498L: Transform Learning.

In the first four weeks of the semester, students identify the current state of the course or program and develop root cause hypotheses for this state. In the following six weeks, students design, distribute, and interpret a series of research tools, include surveys, focus groups, benchmarking and interviews. After concluding this research, students analyze the information and develop a well researched account of the strengths, challenges, and opportunities currently present in the current environment. After establishing a firm understanding of the current state and opportunities, students develop and rank 3-5 recommendations to mitigate the challenges and leverage the opportunities. These recommendations are presented to the client in a final presentation. Students working on course-specific projects will spend the final portion of the project developing one to two of the recommendations they provided their client.

Past projects include individual course innovations, programs like Smith Start and Smith Live Cases, and school-wide issues like academic integrity and required team projects.

Consulting engagements are guided by the Smith School's Office of Transformational Learning.

The Innovo: Smith program is open to Smith School majors and minors.

Innovo: Business Processes

In the Innovo: Business Processes practicum, students partner with university administrators to understand and map a business process that affects students, identify opportunities for process innovation, and recommend solutions. When proposing solutions, Innovos assess the potential application for software to augment the streamlined process. Project teams are typically 5-9 students and students must enroll in BMGT 398L: Innovating University Business Processes.

The one-semester engagement is broken into four phases: Frame, Explore, Analyze, and Recommend. In the framing phase, Innovos work with the client to understand the challenges with the current process and scope the boundaries of the engagement. In the exploration phase, students conduct field research with stakeholders (e.g., students, administrators, advisors, managers) and apply business process visualization tools to create and verify an as-is process landscape. In the analysis phase, Innovos identify opportunities to streamline the current process and assess the potential for software to augment it. At the end of the semester, students present recommendations for process innovation to the client, along with mock-ups illustrating the application of software to the reengineered process.

Past projects include the processes by which students change their major, apply to study abroad, matriculate from community college into the University, and change personal identifiers in University databases.

Consulting engagements are guided by the Office of University Process Innovation in the university's Division of Information Technology and the Office of Transformational Learning in the Smith School.

The Innovo: Business Processes program is open to all undergraduates at the University of Maryland.

Students interested in Innovo Scholars can submit an application at any time.

Innovo Scholars in the News