From the Founders – June19

Hi everyone! Chris here, co-founder of Harness Projects. Today, Mike and I wanted to share a bit more with each of you on the behind the scenes goings on at Harness Projects.

Our aim is to share a post like this once a month or so. Some of you have now been following our activities for well over a year and we wanted to find a way to engage in a more personal way with you. We’re on a mission to raise the profile of project-based learning as a viable approach to upskilling and employability. Each of you are incredibly important to the work we are doing to bring this new way of learning to the world. Each time we run a project we learn from the experience and look at how we can tweak our approach to continuously drive better employability outcomes for our graduates. So, with that said, we would love any and all feedback and ideas, should you feel the desire to share. You can reach us on


How we find our projects and what our criteria are

This month we have opened enrollments for our UX project with IKEA. For those who have been following us for a little while, you would notice that unlike other education providers we don’t have fixed intake dates set throughout the year. And at times, it can feel that a project like this can appear at a moments notice! Well, the truth is, this project has been 9 months in the making!  Here’s a little about how our projects come to fruition.

When we seek out companies to partner with, there a few key factors we look for. Now this criteria is not necessarily set in stone, and we’re continually reviewing and refining how briefs are curated and companies selected. As our profile in the market grows, the demand we’re receiving from company partners has as well. Whilst a great problem to have, there are only so many projects a team of our size can run at any one time! So, here’s a little bit about what helps us make our selections:

1. Is the company a brand our students would want to add to their portfolio?

This goes without saying, at the end of the day, one of our key services is providing our graduates with a kick-arse portfolio piece. Brand recognition goes a long way to helping our students stand out from the pack.

2. Does the project contribute to society in a meaningful way?

So this is a big one for us. We have a strong belief that there is an enormous untapped potential to leverage the learning market to drive social good. That is, channel the enormous hours contributed by students to their learning onto projects that have a meaningful impact on the world around us. It seems like an incredible waste of time and effort for student work to simply be done for an assessment mark, only for the work to be discarded after completion.  Instead, let’s get this work happening on real world projects that go on to achieve real improvements to our communities and the surrounding environment.

3. Is the project brief interesting & feasible?

The project brief frames the project experience. It provides the focus for students and will ultimately form part of their portfolio upon completion. So, when we seek out project briefs, we aim to select problem statements that are interesting challenges to solve. We have to temper somewhat to ensure we don’t pick a problem area that is beyond the reach of a 9 week project, particularly for those just starting out in UX. However stay tuned on this as we have plans for some more advanced level projects coming in the future.


Looking forward

Over the next month or so we will be bringing a new enhancement to our project based learning experiences that provides an even stronger focus on measuring the employability rating of our students and graduates. One of our key goals in developing our project-based learning framework is to give people the best chance for employment after completing one or more of our projects. Ultimately, in the real-world, hiring managers are looking for experience, strong technical skills and perhaps most importantly the attitudinal strengths that separate top performing employees from others.  We’re really excited on the work we’ve been doing on this, behind the scenes and will share a little more in the near future.