Today’s young adults face uncertainty as they transition out of high school and are forced to navigate their next steps to determine how their interests might translate into a viable career path. “When I Grow Up” is a reality series and corresponding trans-media storytelling platform that gives young adults the chance to learn from their peers’ insights and experiences, while also providing a space across digital and physical platforms for exploration and dialogue about their own dreams. We are in the process of prototyping and testing this model to determine its desirability, feasibility, viability, and impact on young adults at a critical moment in their lives.

Design Challenge

To prototype and test the value proposition, delivery model, and revenue model for a new educational reality series, When I Grow Up.

Since Fall 2013, the Business Innovation Factory has been working towards helping young adults make informed decisions about their future after high school. Based on findings from our human-centered research, we designed and developed a prototype for an educational reality series called, When I Grow Up. The series follows six young adults as they get the chance to “try on” their dream careers through different challenges in real world settings, with the goal of empowering young adults to identify and actively pursue career paths that align with their strengths, circumstances, and aspirations.

Based on current trends in media distribution and consumption, we determined the most viable model for distributing reality content: A trans-media experience that tells a story through multiple media platforms. We are now experimenting with this promising model in the real world to gauge its desirability, feasibility, viability, and impact on young adults.


To experiment with this model, we will be engaging in the following activities:

  • Designing and developing a trans-media platform prototype
  • Recruiting a diverse group of young adults in the Providence area, aged 15-20, to participate in a weeklong experiment, culminating in a participatory design studio
  • Testing the prototype to assess participants’ reception to and enagement with the content, and the impact on their career planning
  • Interviewing potential investors to explore the business viability of the concept
Impact Statement

BIF sees this as an incredible opportunity to connect with young adults at a challenging, but crucial, moment in their lives. The decisions students make as they transition out of high school have a huge impact on the quality of their lives, their families’ lives, and society. Reaching them through a trusted media source with compelling content offers them insight into the choices they are making and ultimately will empower young adults to make more informed decisions about their future.

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WIGU Trailer

WIGU Trailer