Innovation Cycles

Weekly classroom program conducted within partner schools giving students ample opportunities to submit and work on their ideas

Innovation Cycles Program

The Innovation Cycles Program is a long term program which we conduct in a school. It is aimed for students from classes 6th to 9th standard. The entire program lasts between 5 months to an entire academic year.

Purpose and Aims

The program aims to

  1. Ingrain creative confidence in students through multiple design process and innovation tasks.
  2. Build a culture of making & problem-solving.
  3. Make Design Thinking a practiced habit through repeated and guided design process and innovation tasks.
  4. Showcase student-led projects for school internal and external events.

Partnership Process

During the partnership process, few broad themes are discussed

  1. Scheduling and School Calendar
  2. Budget
  3. Content
  4. Instructor Training
  5. Showcase Opportunities

Our first step with our partner is to formulate the long term plan consisting of the possible outcomes to be targeted, mode of implementation, budget allocations, synchronize calendaring with school calendar and possible student showcases. Mode of implementation maybe via Inqui-Lab instructors or via teacher training. An MoU is signed with the partners.

Features of the Program

The features of the Innovation Cycles Program are:

  1. Multiple Innovation Cycle Units
    • Each unit is theme based, with themes to choose from.
    • Each unit is planned for 5-7 sessions.
    • Each session is of 1.5 hours duration.
    • Each unit contains at least 2 design process based projects.
  2. Our 5-Step Design Process
  3. Skill Building Tasks


Themes

  • Innovation Cycle Units are centered around a Theme.
  • Multiple themes to choose from.

Innovation Cycle Unit

5-Step Design Process Tasks

    • End to end task from conceptualizing to prototyping.
    • Centered around chosen theme


Skill Building Tasks

    • Builds specific target skills.
    • Designed around themes and general skill sets

Themes

Each Innovation Cycle Unit is centered around and implemented as a Theme. This year, we have categorized our Themes into:

  1. Product Based
    • The end innovations are products.
    • Students are required to make a product with specifications.
    • Ready themes are
        • • UpCycling
        • • Solar Energy
        • • Electronic Sensors
        • • Hacking Everyday Objects
  2. Systemic Based
    • Students innovate to improve existing systems.
    • Ready themes are
        • • School Systems
  3. Mixed Themes
    • Students perform both product based or systemic solutions.

5 Step - Design Process Task

In this task, we follow the 5-Step design process from start (conceptualization and ideation) to finish (tested prototype or process).

Explore - Ideate - Design Plan - Make & Test - Present

In this task, students complete their projects. The steps are explained below

a. Explore: Learn new concepts, identify and investigate problems or see existing innovations

b. Ideate: Individual or group brainstorming, Generation of many ideas

c. Design Plan: Idea selection, understanding or developing key testing criteria, drawing of how the idea looks and works, listing materials and making steps

d. Make & Test: Making a model or prototype of the idea and testing it against the chosen testing criteria

e. Present: Sharing of idea, failures and learning among peers or via a larger showcase platform

Our learning from the previous years implementation of the program, and, a constant engagement with research literature from UK, US and Indian contexts prompted us to evolve the structure of our Innovation Cycles. For information on our previous year's Innovation Cycle Design Process, click here.

Skill Building Tasks


Skil Building Tasks are supporting activities and quick learning tasks. These tasks help build specific target skills, knowledge and understanding that would be useful to the students in creating their own designs and completing the final Design Process Task.

For example, a skill building task on Using Basic Tools would include a set of activities to perform tasks using adhesives, nails, screws, hammer and screw-drivers.

Another example of an skill building task on Understanding Testing Criteria would include coming up with basic and precise testing criteria for daily used objects and to test them based on this criteria (Ex: The toy boat must float!)