Innovation Studio

What is Innovation Studio?

A multi-disciplinary design studio that teaches responsible innovation and entrepreneurship that benefits the world.

Human Centered Design

We use the human centered design process to explore and develop habits of work, mind, and heart. Students will use their minds to identify the problem they are trying to solve and understand who those problems directly affect and why. Innovators will use their hearts as they step into others’ shoes with empathy to explore viewpoints that are different from their own.

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Human Centered Design
Real World Inclusion
Entrepreneurial Mindset
Integrated Learning

We use the human-centered design process to explore and develop habits of work, mind, and heart. Students will use their minds to identify the problem they are trying to solve and understand who those problems directly affect and why. Innovators will use their hearts as they step into others’ shoes with empathy to explore viewpoints that are different from their own.

Authentic, relevant learning experiences that encourage Innovators to apply their knowledge is a proven method to ensure new information that Innovators see the value in their course of study. We will make connections to real world experiences where students will be able to bring projects to market.

Anticipating needs and bringing new ideas to market involves a high degree of bold thinking, risk-taking, and commitment. Innovators develop the skills of an entrepreneurial mindset, including passion and perseverance, by exploring new ideas and testing them out. Innovators will learn how to use limited resources to bring ideas to life that will have a positive impact on the world.

We blur the lines between subjects. Teachers from the different disciplines co-create the lesson plan. The intersections are intentional and integral to the learning. Problem-solving begins in the classroom and reaches into real-world experiences on campus and in the community, teaching the cultural dexterity students need to navigate our complex world.

Middle School

  • The Middle School program is delivered through a series of design briefs that emphasize human centred design and combine skill acquisition, real world problem solving, and design practice.
  • “Design” and “Make” projects are central to the Innovation Studio.
  • Project assignments encourage entrepreneurship, experimentation, and collaboration.
  • Knowledge and understanding gained at each grade level build on the previous years.

Course Offerings

Innovation Studio 6

Innovation Studio 6 is an introductory course that provides Innovators the foundation for understanding and implementing human centered design. In this course, students are encouraged to explore design principles and fabrication techniques. Students will learn to foster understanding and approach each issue with user needs in mind. Through varied and creative hands-on projects, students will learn how to create emotional and functional value for users. The final project will feature innovators working in teams to design and make “Fashion Accessories” to be sold at the NEIA Sales Gala.

Innovation Studio 7

Innovation Studio 7 builds on the foundations of human-centered design covered in Innovation Studio 6, but more in-depth as to provide students a deeper understanding into the fundamental elements of this approach. Through design thinking, Innovators are taught the essential drivers of design (emotion driven, function driven, needs driven, business driven, and social impact driven) which will allow them to apply critical and creative thinking skills to real-world problems that they have identified. In this course, students will have opportunities to collaborate, work independently, learn interview techniques, and deliver pitches and proposals. The final project will be an introduction into building a business plan and manufacturing 20 units for sale at the year-end NEIA Sales Gala.

Innovation Studio 8

Innovation Studio 8 ramps up in complexity as innovators begin to tackle real world problems with projects that have social impact. The scope of projects will become more challenging and there will be less projects with more time built in to solve problems and create products and experiences with function and beauty. IS8 will feature a singular theme “Flight” to be explored throughout the second semester. Integration across all subjects will connect the learning to a broader context. The history of flight, the mathematics and science behind it as well as its everlasting impact on the world.

Upper School

  • Innovators develop their own design and technology capability by drawing on their powers of creativity, inventiveness, and initiatives through activities that incorporate planning, research, synthesis, communication, and manufacturing to a high level of operation.
  • Innovators develop critical awareness and values which are responsive to the changing demands and needs of a technological society.
  • The design process and the acquisition of skills and knowledge forms a major part of the course.
  • Innovators engage in activities for testing, modification, and evaluation to ensure the quality of products are suitable for scaling and their intended user.

Innovation Studio 9

Innovation Studio 9 is the continuation of incorporating human-centered design into a myriad of projects and assignments. In addition to strengthening concepts learned in other classes, innovators will use flexible and creative thinking to consider challenges that face the broader community. Innovators learn effective strategies and practical techniques to solve real-world issues. Through intentional, interactive, and innovator-driven activities, students will employ methods that prepare them to identify opportunities for design solutions. IS9 features the theme of “Fantasy” across the projects of the second semester. From virtual reality and 3-D landscapes to tangible products made in the Hive, innovators will be immersed in this integrated theme.

Innovation Studio 10

Innovation Studio 10 is a course that challenges Innovators to consider the impact of their design solutions. Students learn to foster and employ a complex array of tools and resources that can support them in solving problems in both an imaginative and collaborative way. Innovators will develop the necessary skills to consider their solutions through the lens of entrepreneurship. Additionally, by embracing human-centered design, Innovators build the capability to locate their projects at the intersection of desirability (design), feasibility (engineering), and viability (business). IS10 brings “Farming” to life in a semester-long exploration. Agricultural innovations have had massive impacts on a local and global scale. Innovators will work to create real world projects that directly impact the NEIA environment.

Innovation Studio 11: Self-Generated Personal Project

Innovation Studio 11 puts all of the previous learning together in a year long passion project. Each innovator will choose a project with the help of an integrated team of teachers. NEIA will work with local industry to identify a real world partner in the process. Students will first identify opportunities in their area of interest and then down-select through user research and iteration. Throughout the course of the passion project students will be exposed to the different possible career paths that designers can take. From industrial and graphic design to interactive and animation. Each student will create a multidisciplinary portfolio for which the passion project will be the capstone. Work will be presented from other years and disciplines.

Innovation Studio 12: Sponsored Real World Project

Innovation Studio 12 puts purpose into passion. Innovators will work in teams to create projects with social impact. With guidance from NEIA teachers these student led group projects will be needs driven and solve a social problem for users. Students will work with the practiced structure of the human centered design process. Starting with opportunity identification, Innovators will use stakeholder interviews and real world observations to learn first hand about the needs of users. Multidisciplinary solutions can range from physical products and social program design to interactive and digital user experiences. Students will also lean on the knowledge learned from other disciplines to support their work. Periodic presentations and individual assignments will provide structure and cadence to the year long experience.