2018 IDEA Sandbox Stories - Nour Houdeib

By Carson Deveau


Nour Houdeib never planned on applying for the IDEA Sandbox boot camp, but just kind of stumbled upon it.

Houdeib, a second year engineering student at Dalhousie, had heard about the boot camp from one of her professors Holly Pharoah, one of the instructors of the boot camp, but had never planned on applying for it.          

“I was looking for a job that would last all summer, not just six weeks (which the boot camp runs), so I never really considered it,” she said.

Houdeib did end up getting a job for the summer, as Dalhousie engineering professor Cliff Johnston hired her to do research in his lab. Unfortunately for Houdeib, due to the construction going on around the Dalhousie Sexton campus, the labs weren’t ready to conduct research in time. So Johnston, who is another instructor of the IDEA Sandbox, enrolled her in the six week long boot camp.

As the boot camp enters its’ final week, Houdeib couldn’t thank Johnston enough for enrolling her.

“The (IDEA) Sandbox is such a good learning experience that showed me some perspectives about product design and the ideation process that I wouldn’t have thought of before.”

Throughout her time in the boot camp, Houdeib has worked with other engineering students, as well as students with design and business backgrounds, on a variety of projects. This includes creating and designing her own board game, and her final project, which is to create a more ergonomic diaper bag for parents.

“Working with students from different programs helped me with my decision making skills, as they were able to think about things that I normally wouldn’t be whenever it comes to a product because I’m use to working with other engineers and the ways we think.”

  Because of the boot camp, Houdeib said she has learned how to benchmark more effectively for a new product, how to come up with ideas easier and faster, as well as developed better social skills to be able to actual talk to people to figure out their problems and how to design a better product to help them.

 Looking into the future, Houdeib is unsure what exactly she wants to do once she graduates Dalhousie, but said the IDEA Sandbox boot camp has given her a lot of skills and knowledge to go forward with, including some for her to become an entrepreneur and run her own business.

“I never really thought of it before. But after the boot camp I will have a few entrepreneur skills like knowing the difference between actual value and perceived value, understanding the production process of a new idea, as well as better leadership skills, so who knows.” 

Nour Houdeib, left, presents her idea for a board game to the IDEA Sandbox instructors and fellow participants. 

Nour Houdeib, left, presents her idea for a board game to the IDEA Sandbox instructors and fellow participants.