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Dream Team Creates a “Youth Design Central”

by Ryan Waller

Today’s generations aspire to be inventors and entrepreneurs and have a positive impact in their communities. Since this is not a concept widely catered to in the school system, Innovation in Action (IiA) is jumping in to fill the gap. Their mission is to teach high school students the entrepreneurial mindset and 21st century skills through a cutting-edge curriculum, hands-on projects, and design challenges.

Lindsey Mangone (executive director), Blake Sims (curriculum director), and Eric Jacobsen (founder) are the brains behind the operation. Currently, they are creating a “Youth Design Central” here in Atlanta. 

Through their Youth Design Central Weekend (a 3-Day Program between January and March 2015) they will introduce students to the basics of entrepreneurship, design thinking, and innovation through a weekend of team challenges and hands-on learning that culminates in a pitch competition. This will involve engaging business and entrepreneurial leaders as student sponsors and mentors, with a goal of piquing students’ interest in entrepreneurship, innovation, and social impact.

IiA will also be hosting Youth Design Central Short-Term Courses in the spring and summer of 2015. Here they will engage a cohort of local high school students for 4-6 weeks in solving millennial design challenges and innovation projects scoped by corporate partners. Students will explore business pain points or “back-burner” projects that they can tackle through innovation projects, social impact initiatives, or Millennial engagement/branding efforts. Student teams of 3-4 will spend 8-10 hours/week on projects in the presence of experienced mentors. In turn, the mentoring firms gain access to free skilled labor in the form of these projects and challenges. They also have  plans to expand to semester-long programs that will occur during the school/work day.

All of this requires corporate sponsors, university and entrepreneur mentors, school involvement, instructors with backgrounds in industry, as well as collaboration from community groups, foundations, and non-profits. That being said…

Innovation in Action is currently seeking mentors to challenge students to think differently. They are also in search of corporations and entrepreneurs that have an innovation or social impact challenge they’d like high school students to help them solve. If you are interested in being a part of this incredible opportunity, contact the team and find out more!

“We see ATL as a great hub for bringing out the larger vision of a cooperation with the corporate community.”- Lindsey Mangone, Executive Director

 [Photo Credit]

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