The Innovators began today with a visit to Artisan’s Asylum, a creative workspace located in Somerville.

The workplace is located in a sprawling, three-building complex subdivided into small “shops,” or designated project-specific areas. The Innovators toured the main building, exploring the jewelry shop, bike shop, and circuitry and robotics shop. They discovered the different machines throughout the workplace—3D printers, industrialized sewing machines, and laser cutters, to name a few.

In fact, they experienced an in-depth demonstration of the laser cutter during their interactive session. After the tour, the Innovators gathered in a workshop, divided into four groups of around five or six, and collaborated on a sculpting activity. Each group had to make three sculptures out of spare wooden parts: one that could roll or move in some way, one that was at least twenty-four inches tall and stood on its own, and one mobile-esque construction with three separate parts that fit into one another like a nesting doll. 

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The innovators building their sculptures

In-between building, each group took a trip to the laser cutter, where they received an explanation of the theory behind laser cutting as well as its practical purposes. Oftentimes, laser cutters are implemented to form important small parts that fit into larger, more ambitious projects. Its precision is also paramount in textile creation. 

Additionally, the Innovators wrote instructions for each of their sculptures and, after they had finished building their three creations, they switched groups and attempted to build others’ constructions with the written instructions. 

Then, after lunch at Suffolk, the Innovators gathered for a session on entrepreneurship with the founder and president of the Richi Childhood Cancer Foundation, Ricardo Garcia. 

Fundraising is a crucial strategy to building not only a nonprofit organization, but also a startup company or business. Ricardo learned how to fundraise the hard way when he was conflicted with the bills for the expensive procedure that ultimately saved his child’s life. 

He also prepared the Innovators for a fundraising activity on Sunday. To help with the stress associated with intensive cancer treatments, Richi, Ricardo’s son, found solace in art therapy. Now, he paints for fun, and sells his canvases to help the foundation (richiartgallery.com). On Sunday, the Innovators will be selling Richi’s paintings, competing with one another to see who can raise the most. Keep tuned for more information on that front!

After the session with Ricardo, half of the Innovators engaged with a LinkedIn session to improve their profiles. Having a polished, professional social media platform is an important component to a successful contemporary career. In particular, networking—building connections—can help to ensure that you work at the company you want, in the field that you want, with the job that you want.

The other half traveled to Seaport for a tour of Autodesk, a haven of design technology. Autodesk is a software design company, but its technological build spaces—located in Boston, San Francisco, Toronto, and Birmingham—act as much more than that. Creative engineers, artists, manufacturers, entertainers, educators, and students with an innovative project can apply to be fellows at Autodesk. If they are accepted, they get full usage of the machinery available at Autodesk—including cutting-edge technology like jet cutters, robotic arms, and enormous 3D printers—for free. Not only that, but they also get free training in the Autodesk software.

The Innovators learning about one of the resident’s project at Autodesk

The Innovators learning about one of the resident’s project at Autodesk

One of the contemporary designs at Autodesk

One of the contemporary designs at Autodesk

The Innovators received a tour of the facilities, learning about past and ongoing projects along the way. One project involved 3D-printing with cement in order to make better bridge supports. Another entailed a timber frame for a skyscraper in an effort to be more ecologically-friendly. One group created a hybrid basalt chemical that could potentially be implemented for houses on Mars in a NASA-sponsored program. 

After dinner, the Innovators gathered in the Boston Public Garden for a game of rugby. It’s not just about improving the mind every day—it’s about doing something for the body, too. 

Emerson Monks

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