After a relaxing weekend, the Innovators spent their Monday diving headfirst into the innovative world of entrepreneurship. 

The first half of their day was dedicated to a leadership workshop. Engagement Managers from a top consulting firm led the Innovators in a seminar on enhancing professional cooperation skills. 

The Innovators pose with the excellent instructors from the consulting company

The Innovators pose with the excellent instructors from the consulting company

The Innovators have been placed into groups of 3 for this year’s Challenge, which is to devise solutions for long-term complications caused by childhood brain tumors in cancer survivors. Working together in groups can be challenging. Everyone has a different style of working: some people like to complete things last-minute, while others prefer to do things ahead of time; some people act on intuition, while others make decisions purely on data.

The leadership workshop aimed not only to improve collaboration tools, but also to illuminate a deeper sense of self-awareness. First, the Engagement Managers gave a presentation on the Myers-Briggs Personality Types, or a series of sixteen personalities. With the help of interactive questions and hypothetical situations, the Innovators classified themselves as either extroverted or introverted, sensitive or intuitive, thinking or feeling; judging or perceiving. 

Then, once the Innovators learned more about themselves, they began to apply this newfound knowledge to professional scenarios. They assembled into their Challenge groups and worked on creative methods to think of solutions to a problem. First, they brainstormed ideas, implementing new tools such as idea trees. Next, they prioritized those ideas, selecting the most important and placing those on the top of their to-do lists. After that, in groups, they processed these ideas, planning to put them into action.

Finally, the Innovators practiced navigating tough situations. Conflict frequently arises in professional groups. To combat this potential scenario in the future, the Innovators enhanced their conceptual understanding of empathy in order to better their problem-resolution skills.

Then, after lunch, Eleven, a design company, gave a workshop on designing a product or concept and presenting it to a potential client. Eleven focused on the importance of experience design, or the attraction of the experience of a product in addition to the product itself. For example, if you go to the Apple Store, you don’t only buy a product, or get a product fixed; you also engage in the experience. You test out the newest models of iPhones and Mac computers and play with new, ultramodern applications.

The Innovators all partnered up and devised a gift-giving scenario, concentrating on the experience of the gift rather than the gift itself. They advanced through steps: first, they sketched an idea. Then, they interviewed one another, asking about one another’s last gift-giving experiences, digging deeper when instructed. After gaining some sort of vague idea, they synthesized their findings, taking a point of view on the partner’s needs. 

Some of the feedback given after the interactive, engaging system with ELEVEN

Some of the feedback given after the interactive, engaging system with ELEVEN

Once they conceptualized the problem, they focused on the solution, sketching radical ways to solve the problem and then reflecting and generating new solutions. Finally, the Innovators created props out of posters, pipe cleaners, puff balls, and other craft supplies to act out their solution to the problem.

In the evening, the Innovators had their first STEAM session with Núria Pairó, learning about the fundamentals of STEAM theories with hands-on activities. The Innovators split into two groups and each observed an experiment silently. Then, they devised a procedure for the experiment using the materials and their best educated guesses. Tomorrow, the Innovators will switch groups and attempt to perform the experiment using the other group’s procedure!

Finally, after dinner, the Innovators collaborated on the Challenge in their groups. Keep tuned for more developments on their projects!

Emerson Monks