The “Social Impact” themed Innovation Challenge kicked off on Saturday, October 10 with an inspiring panel that included educators and activists Ahalya Satkunaratnam and Tesicca Truong, as well as a design-thinking workshop led by our event partner, Volition’s, Sandra Spencer. Their insights, experience and advice were pitch-perfect as we set 70 participants from three schools—Crofton House School, York House, and Little Flower Academy—off to their teams and mentors to start brainstorming for the main event on October 17.
“Social impact speaks to our relationship with each other. We are actually very connected in our diverse bodies and paths, and we have already been impacted,” said Ahalya. “I think ‘social impact’ is realizing what we each have to give to each other,” said Tesicca. “What are the needs in the community and where do they intersect with what we’re passionate or curious about?”
Moderating the panel was Volition’s managing partner, Melanie Ewan, who will also be participating as a mentor. Each participant received the recorded kick-off event, links to inspirational resources, Ted Talks, pitch deck, and other resources. Students have been meeting at lunch, after class, and emailing with their mentors in the lead-up to October 17. “What’s different this year is that it’s spread over one week, so what I’m hoping is that even though they might not be directly working on it 24/7, it’s percolating in their minds and they’re noting things that come into their peripheral view that could help inform their ideas,” said Jacob Tran, Teacher, Arts and Applied Design Skills & Technology, Senior School. “This year, it feels like you can ponder a little bit more. And I think with a theme as big as ‘social’ it needs that space to breathe.”
While the route to Saturday is new this year, the format, in the end, will be the same as the previous two events: teams will have their chance to pitch their idea to a panel of judges, and a winner will be awarded. Prizes are another facet of the event that have been painted with an innovative brush this year. For the first time, our partners including Lyft, Aritzia, myCEO, and Entreflow, are pledging to support an organization related to the winners’ project for a total donation of $1500.
Of course, for the students we spoke with, the event is its own reward: “I really enjoy collaborating with my friends to solve a problem,” said Nicole, Grade 12, part of the winning team for the past two years. “The event is really fun, and though I’ll miss the in-person vibe, entertainment, and food, I think this could work too,” said Sofie, Grade 11. “This is the future,” said Pippa, Grade 12. “I think the best part of Innovation Challenge is that we get to collaborate with our friends and meet mentors, working on our own ideas, using the skillsets we’re passionate about,” said Lana, Grade 12.
Crofton House School and the organizers of Innovation Challenge 2020 are grateful for the support from our teachers, students, mentors, panellists, judges, and event partners. We simply could not do this without them and together, we’re inspiring tomorrow’s leaders on topics that truly matter. “For me, being a part of this journey is really fulfilling,” said Jacob. “It feels like a lot of purpose, and I think the mentors probably feel the same way. That’s why we do this. That’s the biggest thing.”
Parents and the Crofton House School community are invited to tune in to see what the teams have come up with, as well as a special performance by our own Open Dance crew. Guests can join the virtual event via this Zoom link starting at noon, Saturday October 17 (password 3200).