Innovation Box - Student Edition

A couple of weeks ago I had a meeting with a principal.  She had invited me to a meeting to discuss using Innovation Box at her school.  I went through a short story about Innovation Box, including the problem it solves (lack of teacher input into solutions and implementing fast and learning slowly), the physical contents of the box, and how it works.  When I finished she paused and then told me that she wasn’t looking for a method for her teachers to implement, but a set of tools and a process for students to implement in problem solving.  This was a challenge for me to adapt the Innovation Box product and process, initially designed for teachers, to be used by students.  I said I would be back in two weeks with a prototype. 

I made a list of the things that would need to change to make a student edition of Innovation Box. 

  1. Update the process to make it more student and team-friendly.  I needed to update the language and examples in the exercises to be more student-friendly (this was also a great editing opportunity).
  2. Include and different methods that consider context (a school and classroom) and user (students).  For example, I added a method that focused on students creating a photo journal and an activity to boast creativity called The Silly Cow. 
  3. Eliminate the handbook.  There is too much background information and detail regarding the methods. 
  4. Add tools that engage students. 
  5. Develop a workbook that includes templates students can use for the various methods (e.g. photo journal, storyboarding). 

It was a modest list, but I knew I had to work fast and re-designing and improving the methods would be time consuming.

Below is my first version of Innovation Box (Student Edition).  I am working with colleagues now to get feedback.  I would love your feedback as well, so please let me know if you have 15 minutes some time for me to share this concept in more detail and collect your ideas for improvement.  Here are the changes. 

Manual becomes Level Cards

I eliminated the Innovation Box process manual and replaced it with 5 x 7-inch Level Cards (a deck of 25).  These Level Cards are color-coded by level (from Challenge to Spread) and include activities that students can use to improve their framing of the problem to creating various types of prototypes.  The language on the cards feels more student-friendly (although it still needs some work) and the cards are more manageable and fun.  The cards include step by step instructions for implementing various methods and frequently direct the student to use a worksheet to capture their ideas.  I also developed a student workbook that includes blank templates for the students to use throughout the innovation process. 

New Tools

I added an instant camera and structured photo journal that is designed to get students to think differently about the problem they are trying to solve.  Taking and describing photos is a great way to examine your problem from a new angle.  The immediateness of holding a photo in your hand and then analyzing the problem will engage students and allow them to increase their understanding of the issue.

I also included Scenes from SAP.  Scenes is an award-winning tool for prototyping and simulating new ideas using laminated cutouts. 

It is important to remember that the purpose of Innovation Box is to empower users to become problem-solvers.  Being handed a box is a permission slip to take charge and pursue new ideas.  My entire purpose with prototyping this version and the Teacher Edition was to create a product and process that sent the message that we are all problem-solvers.   

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