How F4S supports tertiary student undergraduate programs in entrepreneurship

Company: University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

Client & Role: Jeri Childers

  • Location: Sydney 
  • Industry: Tertiary Education 


As Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) I wanted to implement an evidence-based assessment that could be used to build a capabilities framework upon which we would build new learning models for our innovation and commercialization programs.

In particular, I wanted to focus on mindset development for innovation and entrepreneurship and use a proven tool that was effective in individual, team and organisational development.  UTS needed an analytics platform that would enable soft skill development.

The challenge:

The future of work is calling for engineers and IT professionals to innovate, apply enterprising mindsets and to work in global, interdisciplinary teams to create increasingly complex deep tech solutions.  

The jobs of the future are expected in areas such as systems design (cyber-physical, IIoT), modelling and programming, intelligent data analytics and machine learning, industrial automation and robotics, as well as cyber security and will impact virtually every sector of our economy and society. 

University leaders need to find evidence-based approaches to build mindsets, skills and abilities and Fingerprint for Success (F4S) enables us to transform our learning design to include analytics and coaching.

Additionally, our university was investing in supporting students, alumni and our university partners to support the startup ecosystem.  We were launching pre-accelerator programs and activities to strengthen collaborative research and deep tech prototyping.  We saw F4S as a tool that would enable data-based conversations about leadership and venture success.  F4S enables leaders to calibrate their development with the startup and scaleup phases of their venture development.  F4S enabled startup founders to identify co-founders, form their teams and to kickstart their team development strategies. 

We were looking for a tool that would be applicable at the undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral levels and for our alumni and university partners.  We needed a tool that was valid across a professionals’ career and would offer data that would be useful for career decision making, leadership development, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The solution:

We embedded F4S into our curriculum--integrating it into 1) a new sub major for innovation, 2) corporate training programs for our alumni, 3) our Techcelerator--a pre-accelerator for deep tech prototyping and 4) our Female Founder Mentoring Program. 

Our mission is to 1) develop leaders who are job ready for developing the deep tech solutions of the future, 2) researchers who can combine technical, innovative, and enterprising mindsets for commercialization activities, and 3) leaders and founders who can lead change and deep tech innovation. 

F4S gave us the ability to offer our leaders a tool and the insights that enables them to increase their innovation, commercialisation, and venture startup capabilities.

The result:

The students, staff and industry partners using F4S discovered new understanding of themselves as innovators and enterprising professionals.  They gained confidence, inspiration, and a pathway for self-directed learning. 

We were able to implement coaching into the classroom delivery which amplified the results and the insights.  The leaders walked away with an appreciation of the power of mindsets and how they can enable individual and team performance.

The future:

We got excellent traction in diffusing F4S across use cases at UTS.  Our next step would be to develop case studies of the different uses for professional and venture development. 

I would like in the future to develop a method for implementing a pre- and post-assessment method into the subjects/programs so that students could see their progress on different learning goals that they have established. 

I also am working with the F4S team and Michelle Duval to explore research data on how we can use F4S to aid in career navigation.  It is our hypothesis that participants in our learning programs have different career navigation patterns based upon the 48 dimensions of their workplace motivations.  In the future, I would like to adapt the F4S to enable even more insights about how to startup and scaleup successful careers and ventures. 

Why F4S:

At UTS we found that students gained the following from F4S:

  • Increased self-awareness and understanding of the soft skills required for leadership and venture success
  • Experience with the power of diverse cognitive styles and how to motivate and engage team members and stakeholders who will invest in their ideas and collaborate to invent the future 
  • Increase appreciation of their talents and potential as an innovator and entrepreneur--traits that employers value
  • Confidence from leveraging their strengths and new insights while practicing new innovative and enterprising mindsets and skills
  • An appreciation of the power of coaching and use of data analytics to enhance their capabilities and reach their goals.

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