September 11 2020
Innovation at Entuitive: Entuitive U
Part of Entuitive’s commitment to the continuous pursuit of advancement is our in-house innovation process known as Ennovation. Ennovation is a key strategic enabler, rooted in our commitment to uncovering innovative design solutions and processes. We use it to channel the firm’s collective intelligence and deeply entrepreneurial spirit.
Earlier this year we ran our first ever Dragon’s Den-style challenge, asking our people to submit their ideas for how we could better live up to our brand promise of uncompromising performance. Up for grabs was $10,000 worth of time and resources to test the concept for validation and implementation.
One of our winners, Stephen Cohos, recently launched his project for validation, Entuitive U, a recruiting platform to help identify, assess, and recruit top talent to Entuitive.
We sat down with Stephen to talk about his inspiration for Entuitive U, how it helps deliver uncompromising performance, and his plans for implementation.
Thanks so much for your time, Stephen. Tell us a bit about Entuitive U and how you came up with the idea.
Stephen: Entuitive U is a platform that easily connects us to prospective engineering candidates. We’ve developed a series of activities based on real engineering challenges we’ve encountered and ask users to interact with them and send us their thoughts on how they would approach each problem.
Our aim with the activities is to show candidates what it’s really like to work at Entuitive, and for Entuitive to gain better insight into a prospective candidate’s engineering knowledge and skills.
I’ve had the idea for Entuitive U for a while. When I was in engineering school, the general sentiment in my class was that structural courses were very difficult and focused heavily on the technical side of engineering. I realized that this was a misconception after working at Entuitive for 15 months between my second and third year. There is so much more to working at a consulting engineering firm than bending moment diagrams and lengthy excel spreadsheets.
My peers and I didn’t have a wholesome understanding of what working at a structural engineering firm was like. I believe that’s a huge missed opportunity, and I wanted to share my experiences with students who are currently figuring out what their future in the AEC industry could be.
Entuitive is way more than a structural engineering firm. We have groups that work in new buildings, existing buildings, sustainable performance, building envelope, fire engineering, transportation, modular, mass timber, pedestrian modelling, and more. We are creative, collaborative, and eager to shape the future of our industry.
The second piece of inspiration for this idea was the lack of exciting case study material that existed when I was a student. I call it the Old Testament of Learning Tools. Most of the case studies we discussed in class were paper-based, came out of textbooks or design papers, and had no interactive media. To put it mildly, they were boring!
The idea really came together when I started thinking about how the NCAA and professional sports teams recruit their best players. They identify talent early on, assess the athletes’ abilities, and finally recruit and draft them into their franchise through a rigorous discovery program that spans many cities and countries. I realized we could learn a lot from this process. That was the last piece I needed for Entuitive U.
We love this idea and how the activities illustrate all the different types of work and career paths at Entuitive. What’s your aim for the initial launch of Entuitive U?
Stephen: Right now, we’re validating the Entuitive U platform by inviting engineering students to test it out. We have created four activities ranging from the areas of restoration, structural retrofits, and mass timber.
By showcasing a few of the services Entuitive provides, we aim to show students that working with us means working on a broad spectrum of engineering challenges that can string into a really interesting and engaging career.
I took the approach that students see enough textbook problems. I wanted to visually express what walking a job site is like, and for candidates to start thinking about how structures are built and rebuilt over their lifecycle.
For example, in one of the activities, I photographed a site with a 360 camera and then used software to create a 360 photo model of that site. Students can move around the space and click on different information points to learn about construction terminology and see firsthand the issues we identified when we conducted our structural assessment. Then it’s up to the students to assess what they see and describe how they would approach the repair.
Not only does this provide students with a different opportunity to learn, it also provides Entuitive with an insight into the critical thinking skills of each candidate, which ultimately leads to a better understanding of their fit within Entuitive beyond their resume or cover letter. It’s a two-way street for both of us to learn more about each other and see if we are a good fit.
This initial phase sounds like a great way to test and refine your idea, which is a key pillar of Ennovation at Entuitive. Once the testing is complete, how do you plan on implementing it to a wider audience?
Stephen: After we’ve incorporated the feedback from the 30-40 students, we plan on creating more activities to ensure we are providing learning opportunities that students can engage with and want to learn more about.
Our platform will be candidate-driven in terms of what we are going to share. I want to inspire students to imagine what their career could look like after they graduate. If they are craving some content about modular design, guess what, that will be our next activity.
In addition, we will work on exposing candidates to opportunities they might not know existed. Computational design and pedestrian modelling are two fields of engineering I didn’t know about as a student but would have been interested in learning about. You can’t be what you can’t see. How can someone aspire to be something they don’t know exists? Our goal is to make their future is visible, and in turn possible.
Of course, Entuitive U is a great platform for mid-career engineers as well who want to learn what it’s like to work at Entuitive. We are testing the platform and refining it based on student feedback, with a wider goal of anyone who is interested in working at Entuitive heading on over to the site to get an idea of whether Entuitive is a good fit for them.
We’re excited for Entuitive U to help us find the game-changing engineers of the future. Thanks so much for your time, Stephen.