Following their completion of the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy’s 2011 Summer Session, 18 outstanding Scholars were selected to join incoming and returning IIT students for “Engineering 200: Introduction to the Entrepreneurial Mindset” — a two-week IIT short-course that provided students with a framework of entrepreneurial skills to guide their future creation and innovation. This course was offered by IIT Armour College of Engineering Professors Mark Snyder, David Gatchell, Paco Ruiz, and Victor Perez-Luna, and fully funded through generous support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Kern Family Foundation.

“Engineering 200” participants received two college credits for their work and, as part of the course’s concluding competition, had the opportunity to work in teams to develop and propose entrepreneurial projects.

Please welcome guest blogger and IIT Boeing Scholar Adrian, sharing Team JAGAD’s winning idea and problem-solving process!

Adrian writes:


The way things are now.

Our group was charged with the task of improving sustainability on the IIT campus. Our goal was to create a viable product that would do so.

So we asked ourselves: What is the actual problem?

We looked around the IIT campus, and realized that recycling bins were usually empty. This and other factors suggested that recycling bins were not used often. Our goal was to find a way to increase use of recycling bins. We did this by giving the users (in this case, IIT students/faculty) an incentive to recycle.

We decided to propose implementing a “gamification system” onto IIT recycling bins. A gamification system is basically a reward system that rewards the user for exercising a course of action. In our case, we wanted IIT students/faculty to recycle more. Points would be awarded to a person’s IIT ID card depending on how much and what they recycled. The points would then be accumulated to purchase free rewards.

Adrian (center) and fellow IIT Boeing Scholars Amrianna and Dillon.

Our idea is nothing new. We’ve seen it done before, from Coca Cola rewards to Disney rewards to Chase rewards. Many big name companies have implemented the gamification system. Our research tells us that it has never been done before on recycling bins, and we want to try it. Since the scale and area of our project is relatively small (the IIT campus), we believe giving rewards for recycling could be viable and affordable. Rewards could also include sponsorship from nearby food companies (Starbucks, Jimmy Johns, etc.). Monthly revenue could be generated from placing advertisements on our recycling bin — since we are hoping it will become a point of interest.

We don’t have any statistics yet to prove our product works, but we want to test it. We want to compare its accumulation of trash compared to that of normal recycling bins. We will do so by placing one of our recycling bins near a normal recycling bin and record the results over the course of weeks or months. For now, we are working to improve the design of our product to be simple, easy, and effective.


IIT Boeing Scholar
Junior at Whitney Young Magnet High School

Great ideas from great students: Adrian and Team JAGAD win IIT’s “Engineering 200” competition