How does MIT teach innovation? We bring it here to NEIA.

Successful products, services, digital experiences, social initiatives, corporate enterprises, or political movements, require a deep understanding of people’s needs and emotions.

Pin Points

  • SUCCESSFUL INNOVATION requires a deep understanding of people’s needs and emotions.

  • HUMAN-CENTERED DESIGN fosters successful innovation with empathy at its core through the following steps: explore, express, create, neianow, implement—all in a culture of collaboration and innovation.

  • AT NEIA, we integrate human-centered design into the way we do reading, writing, or math so it becomes part of a student’s reflexive response to solving problems.

  • NEIA STUDENTS will practice human-centered design by collaborating with interdisciplinary teams and real-world partners to ensure the desirability, feasibility, and viability of the project they develop.

When NEIA’s founders were rethinking what skills today’s students will need to lead their generation and how they’d create an incubator for student innovators, they tapped the expertise of Matt Kressy, the Founding Director of the MIT Integrated Design and Management master’s degree program (MITidm). Matt is a pioneer in the field of human-centered design, which is a structured process to generate innovation. At the core of the process is empathy — understanding what matters to users and stakeholders. As NEIA’s Innovation Advisor & Trustee, Matt helps us develop the curriculum and student experiences at NEIA. We will integrate human-centered design into the way we do reading, writing, or math so it becomes part of a student’s reflexive response to solving problems. Thoughtful design is an integral part of making future leaders and the world a better place, and Matt’s experience teaching at MIT, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and Harvard Business School brings a real depth of knowledge on what students will need to succeed in the real world. At NEIA, students will practice human-centered design by collaborating throughout the process to ensure the desirability, feasibility, and viability of the project they develop. With the support from NEIA’s faculty and real-world Coaches, they will accomplish this through the following steps:

  • Explore: find out what is wanted
  • Express: share what is wanted
  • Create: make what is wanted
  • Test: make sure it is wanted
  • Implement: make lots of what is wanted

With human-centered design at our core, NEIA will foster a culture of collaboration and innovation. Taking this approach to curriculum distinguishes NEIA, and it ensures that our students will be equipped to step into a complex, globally connected world that will require innovative thinking and collaborative, interdisciplinary approaches to everything, since the pressing issues of today and tomorrow cannot be solved with traditional thinking or approaches. In the end, NEIA prepares the next generation of innovators who will shape a better world.

To learn more about human-centered design, watch this video of Matt’s students at MIT as they develop a new version of a walker. You’ll see how they begin with the user’s needs, taking an empathetic approach to their design work.

How might we equip NEIA students with this powerful skill to innovate forward?

Join our next virtual session or meet our Dean of Enrollment Kevin Ramos-Glew. We are enthusiastic to share our plans, get to know you, and hear your thoughts.


The latest from
NEIA on Instagram


After our first full week into summer, we want to look back on a year-long project that yielded impressive results for three of our amazing rising 12th graders.

This past fall, NEIA 11th graders pitched products that could add value to people’s lives by curing diseases or ailments. This is part of the BioTrek Program: a joint initiative by ARMI (Advanced Regenerative Medical Institute) and BioFabUSA. Students pitched their amazing ideas to Tim McCauley, their peers, and a panel of judges made up of NEIA staff members. 

Throughout these presentations, our students walked through all phases of the Biotrek journey. First, identifying a problem. Second, engineering a solution using bio-manufacturing techniques. In the third phase, they developed a business and financial model for their product. The final phase was this event: pitching to their peers and judges. They are trying to solve real medical issues, such as endometriosis, chronic lung disease, color blindness, and osteogenesis (just to name a few). 

The winners moved on to the Final Presentations judged by representatives from ARMI and Biofab, which decided
who would represent NEIA against other schools in the Biotrek Championship. The winning group chosen to go to the championship was Endopexy, created by Milena, Lila, and Max H.

Milena, Lila, and Max’s hard worked paid off as they were the winning team of the championships. We are so proud of these three innovators for working hard the whole year and being recognized in such a highly competitive program.

This project-based learning program continues to be a very valuable experience for our innovators. You can clearly see the intersection of subjects like science, math, entrepreneurship, and communications. It is the perfect example of how integrated academics lead to exciting projects and connections.

#NEIA #BioTrek #Innovation #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #integration

This weekend, three of our 11th grade students: Vicki, Owen, and Langston, won first place at the Entrepreneurship for All - EforAll All Ideas Pitch Competition for their idea around the NEXTGEN Summit, a conference that Langston initiated this spring at NEIA.

Owen explains the idea to execution as follows, "My mother is an alum of the Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) Business Accelerator Program. One night while scrolling Instagram, she found a post by EforAll about an All Ideas Pitch Competition happening. She sent me the post at 11:20 p.m. and we were signed up for the event by 12:15 a.m. A few weeks later we were selected to table at the event with the potential of being able to participate in the final pitch competition. We landed a spot in the pitch competition, and it was a huge success as we not only won the first place prize of $1000, but also won the Fan Favorite prize for an additional $500. We were by far the youngest attendees at the event and were pitching with people who were already well removed from college."

We are so proud of our innovators and commend them for their efforts to not only seek new opportunities each and every day but to thrive within them.

#NEIA #PitchCompetition #EForAll #NEXTGENSummit #NEXTGEN #FutureOfEducation #Innovation #Entrepreneurship

That’s a wrap! We will see you soon, innovators. We miss you already.

#LastDayOfSchool #Summer #NEIA #innovators #summerbreak


Whether you're seeking more information about our grade 7-12 academy program, summer programs, or have any questions at all, this is the right place to start. Please take a few minutes to fill out this form, and our dedicated team will get back to you as soon as possible.