Social Innovation Fellows Impact Manufacturing, Making, and Play Cultures

July 13, 2016

Social Innovation Fellows Impact Manufacturing, Making, and Play Cultures

Social Innovation Fellows Impact Manufacturing, Making, and Play Cultures

This summer, Accelerate, Wentworth Innovation + Entrepreneurship Center, is partnering with the Boston Children’s Museum and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as part of Accelerate’s Social Innovation Lab [SIL].

WHAT IS THE SOCIAL INNOVATION LAB?

SIL is a 12-week, interdisciplinary, immersive experience that encourages students to solve real-world issues and work in a high-intensity environment.

Six Wentworth co-op students from different disciplines—known as SIL fellows—connect with more than 30 external thought partners and organizations, learn about their subject matter expertise and transfer it to SIL challenges. SIL fellows are also exposed to innovation methodologies and different processes including design thinking to generate more systemic, sustainable, and meaningful solutions.

At the core of SIL are the following four phases enabling students to gain specific insight and competencies in each:

  • Uncover – Analyzing the challenge to truly understand needs and opportunities.
  • Ideate – Utilizing insights of peers, mentors, Accelerate’s innovator-in-residence and faculty ambassadors to catalyze possible solutions and ideas.
  • Prototype – Transforming ideas into reality by designing and testing early prototypes, soliciting stakeholder input, and evolving iteratively.
  • Realize – Creating an ultimate solution and presenting it to partners and stakeholders.

TWO TEAMS, TWO PROJECTS

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

As Massachusetts expands its leadership position in the innovation economy, manufacturing companies are seeking well-prepared new and diverse talent with the ability to develop innovative production methods to stay on par with demands for new products and technologies.

The SIL team will propose ideas for manufacturing companies to open up a conversation with young talent and attract talent for their industry.

Boston Children’s Museum

The SIL team will help build the case that children (and adults) need unstructured play time to explore their worlds, develop crucial interpersonal skills, and fuel creativity and innovative thinking. Together with the museum and other organizations, the SIL fellows will develop a portable kit that can be brought to new communities, used in workshops (even companies), and leveraged to spread the benefits of creative play to a diverse population.

IMPACT AND BENEFITS FOR STUDENTS

By participating in the Social Innovation Lab, the Fellows have the opportunity to address real challenges and make an impact in their community. Along the way, they develop critical competencies at the heart of Accelerate’s mission: empathy, inspiration, discovery, resilience, and presence. With a strong emphasis on experiential learning students gain experience in idea iteration, building confidence by taking risks with small projects and big ideas and empowering them to continue innovating throughout their lives and careers. Learn more about Accelerate at their website and keep up with SIL fellows on their blog.

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