Return on Impact
PROVO, Utah – Nov 13, 2017 – An entrepreneurship senior at the Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business is directly opening the doors of possibilities for wheelchair using college students across the country.
When Morgen Glessing learned that wheelchair users still wrestle to get through automatic doors before the doors close on them, he helped create a new accessibility system through a company called Piero that he cofounded along with a Crocker Innovations Fellowship team.
“I have a lifelong goal to always be involved in social enterprise,” says the native of Vancouver, Washington. “I want to be able to build valuable companies that have a return on investment and return on impact.”
To solve the issue of doors closing too early, Piero improves the system by attaching hardware devices to doors that works with Bluetooth IDs to automatically open and stay open as long as the Bluetooth device is near the sensor.
In addition, this device enables campus diagnostics. Universities have no way of knowing which doors are broken unless each door is physically pushed open. The Piero device alerts the campus in real time, ‘Hey, this button is broken. Can you please come fix it?’
“That way the campus remains accessible, avoids liability, and helps give students a better workflow on the facility side,” Glessing says. “It’s a simple but elegant solution.”
When it comes to Piero, Glessing applied what he learned from BYU Marriott about cheap and efficient ways to go about prototyping and deciding whether a business idea is worth pursuing.
“Rather than having an idea, spending time and money building it, and then showing it to the customer, flip that situation around,” Glessing says. “If I have an idea, the first thing I do is take it to potential customers to see what they like and don’t like. Once I’ve talked to enough customers and have an understanding of what they want and how much they’d pay for it, then we can consider building it.”
Nile Hatch is an entrepreneurship professor who regularly taught the team the importance of following this flipped framework for the best results. He meets with Glessing and team members Josh Horne, Sam Lew, Connor McCleod, and Jake Parry to guide and instruct them.
“They’re a good team in the sense that they have not taken any shortcuts, and I’m always impressed by that,” Hatch says. “They tend to go find and dig into important needs—they get things done.”
The group is currently running beta tests at Utah Valley University and will soon be running a second test at University of California, Berkeley.
“We’d like to have an impact across the board with accessibility,” Glessing says. “Our goal right now is narrow—we want to do one thing, install the device on doors at every campus in the United States and do it well.”
Media Contact: Jordan Christiansen (801) 422-8938
Writer: Emily Colon