Introduction

We cannot overstate how much E-180's entire company philosophy and culture is in line with the QS Stars Awards' core value of innovation. Nonetheless, to be honest, working on completing this application made us realize that we had to be sincere from the start. So let's not beat around the bush any further and begin with a confession: we are not the typical higher education technological tool.
We are much more than that.
Reimagining education is at the core of what we do as we believe that education is a relationship and that an hour of our time can change another person's life.
Our mission at E-180 is deeply rooted in the belief that human beings with their wealth of experience and knowledge are the greatest asset available at any given time in a particular space. Accordingly, we use the power of Brain Dating to foster meaningful connections among human beings.
Our mobile app Braindater aims to create spontaneous meaningful connections among individuals while turning spaces into learning communities using our matchmaking and peer-learning expertise to offer a truly human experience. Simply put, this is what we do.

Synopsis

Objective

Over the past few years we have worked hard on transfiguring our know-how and vision into a mobile application expected to redefine human interaction in museums, libraries, universities, airports, trains and cafes. Today, Braindater is a reality. Our experience brought us to be sure of one thing: human beings can learn far more from the person sitting next to them than from the “expert” lecturing on the stage and through our Braindater mobile app, we connect humans on the basis of what they know or want to learn instead of whom they know, adding a layer of meaning to the conversation. Our product is a powerful connector that brings people together for much more than networking – but rather for peer-learning on the topics that matter to them most and, on top of that, it is spontaneous! We go out of our way to make sure individuals learn from their valuable stranger but more importantly we have come to consider our work on a greater scale. We are undoubtedly on a secret mission to change the world and we will not rest until we turn every single human being into a life-long teacher and unleash the potential of individuals, communities, and spaces all over the globe.

Approach

Our approach draws on the fields of alternative education, social entrepreneurship, and collaborative economy. We know that the sharing economy is changing everything from the way we travel to the way we learn and this new shift in our overall consumption is inspiring E-180's innovative practises. We rethink the traditional educational model to ensure it is in sync with people’s new learning habits and we use Braindater as a tool to emancipate the wealth of knowledge available around us by unveiling people’s unique personal and professional experiences: their failures, their successes, their challenges and all the knowledge gained along the way. Braindater aims to help humans share knowledge and connect with each other, on the fly, allowing them to curate their own learning experiences. Individuals create their profiles on the app and take time to reflect on what they can share or learn from the community. They then create their Offers and Requests for knowledge (ex: How to use meditation to refocus your business) and browse to see what the community has to offer. Once they find a knowledge Offer or Request that they are interested in, they contact the fellow human through Braindater and book a Brain Date to happen right here right now.

Engagament

Our Braindater app includes the following key elements:

•Profile creation (profile picture and about me)
Each individual can create their profile by taking a “selfie” on their phone to be easily identifiable for their match and adding a short “about me” text that will be visible through their Offers and Requests.
•Anonymity
Individuals’ profile pictures are blurred until the point where they accept a Brain Date invitation at which point their “mission” is to find each other. This trick truly gives the individual the opportunity to refuse a Brain Date without feeling awkward (if the person is sitting right next to them for instance).
•Offers & Requests creation
Offers and Requests can be created on the fly through the Braindater app, and categories help other people quickly find what suits their current interest.
•Booking instant Brain Date
Individuals can invite other human beings for an instant Brain Date based on knowledge Offers or Requests. The creator of the Offer or Request will receive a push notification with the invitation and has a limited time to answer. Once an invitation is accepted, both participants see a “mission” screen and need to find each other.
•Venue map with meeting location
The “mission” screen shows a map of the venue and a meeting point, where both individuals will find each other and meet.
•Messaging with others
Once an invitation is accepted, both participants can send messages to each other.
•Automatic check-in and check-out
After a specified time of inactivity within the app, individuals’ Offers and Requests become invisible to others. Once the person opens back the app, she becomes available again and her Offers and Requests are set to visible.

It is important to specify that the mobile app is only a tool. The end goal is for both persons to meet face-to-face and learn from each other. We have found that onsite engagement is crucial to the experience. We work with our clients to design the perfect Brain Dating lounge space within their layout, in a way that maximizes the potential for successful Brain Dates. Specially trained E-180 Matchmakers are present at the launch event of the app. They take an active role in the activation, monitoring, documentation and animation of the Brain Dating community. We actually humanly intervene where technology reaches its limits, ensuring that there are no missed connections.

Impact

Braindater was released earlier this spring at the 2015 edition of the C2 Montreal conference in Montreal where E-180 broke a new engagement record fostering over 1400 Brain Dates among the 3800 participants and an engagement rate of nearly 80% on E-180 matchmaking platforms. To foster a maximum number of meaningful connections, we engineered serendipity using our matchmaking technology (web and mobile), our varied engagement best practices and the onsite presence of our professional matchmakers to ensure meaningful conversations between event attendees were not left to chance. On the final survey, Brain Dates scored 3rd place on the “Best element of C2 Montreal” question after 1. The speakers, among whom where Alec Baldwin and Chelsea Clinton, and 2. The general ambiance of the event, curated by Sid Lee and the Cirque du Soleil. Here are few of the testimonials from participants themselves:
“I had four Brain Dates yesterday, it was like having mini-labs. It was really worth my time, I walked away with valuable knowledge. I would come back to C2 for this.” –Lee Sutton, Partner - Retail.FM
“The Braindater app was great because as soon as you had a few minutes to spare, you could arrange a meeting." Marc-André Lanciault, CMO - Karelab
“Talking about your passions makes you connect more easily. It’s a brilliant concept." Despina Sourias, CEO - FEM International
We have come down to the conclusion that teaching is not only about content, but rather about guiding learners through a meaningful learning experience and this is indeed the path we have chosen to make ours.

Next Steps

Our unique take on peer-learning and networking has taken us to work with events, spaces, and organizations in Montreal, Banff, Los Angeles, Doha, New York, Sharm El-Sheikh, Marrakesh, and Libreville, to name a few. More than creating a list of knowledge Offers and Requests, we are building an international knowledge-sharing ecosystem. We have acknowledged that no one has all the answers but we fundamentally believe that when people are brought together, answers can be found and lives can be changed. This is the reason why we do everything in our power to maximize the value offered to the end-users, by fostering meaningful connections based on collaboration, sharing and openness. We are constantly aiming at making sure individuals connect with the meaningful stranger who holds the missing piece of their puzzle. Over the next few months, in addition to our growing network of events and spaces, we are excited to extend our expertise to higher education institutions including Ecole de Téchonologie Superieure (ETS) in Montreal who is trusting us to transform its library into a peer-learning hub with the goal of enhancing the student learning experience. We firmly believe that the connection aspect of our product, based on peer-learning, will contribute to fostering life-changing, innovative, and transformative human interactions.

Other Information

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