The Innovators spent today at the classrooms in Suffolk. Their day was jam-packed with learning and informative, engaging seminars. 

First came a session with Borja Peropadre, the Director of Technical and Strategic Alliances at Zapata Computing. Zapata is a quantum computing startup created in Harvard University in 2017. The startup is dedicated to developing quantum computing algorithms and software to alleviate looming problems in the computational industry.

The Innovators pose with Borja after his lecture

The Innovators pose with Borja after his lecture

Quantum computing is rooted in mathematics and physics. The computers are incredibly powerful—they can solve issues like complex factoring, improve machine learning optimization, and improve encryption techniques. There are two leading prototypes for quantum computers—trapped ions and superconducting circuits. The Innovators learned the pros and cons of each as well as the overall importance of the computers in today’s modern, ever-evolving world.

Then, the Innovators collaborated for some time on the the Challenge, oiling and fine-tuning their ninety-second pitch to prepare themselves for another session in the evening.

After lunch, the Innovators enjoyed a session from Chuck Goldstone, a master of storytelling. He taught the Innovators how to get others to listen, like you, and do what you want. 

It’s all about a personal story. The key to making a presentation excellent is making a presentation memorable—when telling a story, the key is to make it about the audience instead of the storyteller themselves. Find out what is in the audience—or stakeholder’s—interest, and how to best serve them.

To be successful, you need a good idea and a great way to communicate and ensnare your audience. No matter the actual subject of the company, there must be a successful communications department.

Presentations should not merely be a dry PowerPoint lecture with bullet points. The concept of visual learning and support is one of the most important things to attend to in today’s society. Every presentation must begin by capturing attention and engaging audience members. Keep the technical information to a minimum at first—like a newspaper article, start broad and then taper to narrow details. Make your presentation clear and memorable and drive action. Emphasize a narrative and emotional link. 

The Innovators learned some key tips to improve their presentations for the Challenge—tips like minimizing the amount per slide, making effective use of feedback, and doing away with pesky, distracting transitions and animations. Keep reading for more updates on those presentations!

The Innovators listening to Chuck’s talk on presentation skills

The Innovators listening to Chuck’s talk on presentation skills

Improv practice!

Improv practice!

After a short break, the Innovators reconvened for a session with Cheryl Lekousi, a hospital clown. Cheryl works with Hearts and Noses, a troupe of clowns that go around to hospitals to cheer up young, sick children. Her clown is named Tic Toc. 

Cheryl taught the Innovators about improvisation, or acting without preparation. The Innovators did a series of exercises, including passing around an imaginary ball. She also told them about some of her interactions in the hospital. Cheryl and her other clowns have been remembered by children for years; have been loved and made an important component of a life spent in a hospital. 

The Innovators finished off the day working on their Challenge again. More news on that front soon!

Emerson Monks