This year, in September 2022, we invited Mr. Matthew Kressy, the founder of the MIT Integrated Design & Management program, and the Innovation Advisor and Trustee from our sister school—NEIA (New England Innovation Academy) to present a lecture via Zoom to our MYP and WBS upper-grade students. Themed around innovation, Matt shared the power of creativity and being innovative. He also introduced the featured subjects at NEIA and informed our students about how their friends on the other side of the planet are learning to become innovators and embrace changes and challenges.
Apart from having developed a career in schools, Matt is also an entrepreneur. He has designed, invented, engineered, and manufactured products for startups as well as listed in the Fortune 500 companies, and everything in between.
Following his lead, NEIA students accomplished a design project with human-centred design as the foundation of their method. And during Matt’s speech, he shared the products of these projects with our kids.
An Extract from Matt’s Speech:
We live in a different world now. It’s a digital age for you. We set out to build the first of its kind. A 6 through 12 school that uses human-centred design to teach empathy in compassion. It is the foundation for innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership, so you’re probably wondering what is human-centred design?
There are four pillars at NEIA:
- Belonging and Togetherness
At NEIA, we decided that we were going to make sure that every student felt that they belong there that they are safe, that they are appreciated, and that they are celebrated for both their accomplishments and their failures.
- Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Now what we’re doing is we’re using the system of commerce to encourage and fortify good things happening in our society, so that’s why entrepreneurship is part of our pillars.
Innovation is to have students think differently, we want them to think in a new way and do new different things that are good for the world.
- Integrated and Experiential
What this means is that our curriculum is integrated. the idea there is that if you learn something in math class, you’re going to use that formula, in a project of yours.
Experiential means that you’re willing to try over and over and when you fail the first time we all laugh and we celebrate that failure and we have a great time.
- Innovation Studio
He built a little car in the Innovation Studio, but he used principles from science class that he learned earlier in the day to make the car, the idea here is to use principles or concepts that would easily be forgotten by using them to make something new, different and innovative.
This is the picture of our student making a clock they used adobe illustrator software and our laser cutters to cut parts and then make clocks.
Another project we did in the innovation studio was experimenting with sound. Everybody got a blue tooth speaker kit, and they had to make a beautiful enclosure for those speakers that sounded good. To do that they had to learn about resonant frequency/volume/area.
During the Q&A session, one student raised a philosophical question: how to change oneself and how to accept oneself as who we are.
Mr. Matthew Kressy’s response was as follows:
“I wish that I was more accepting of who I am earlier in life, and I’m getting better at it but I’m still very hard on myself, so the reason that that’s important is that if you truly value who you are, it allows you to be more centered and loving towards other people in other words.
but it doesn’t stop me from trying it, it’s always about teaching them to love themselves and accept who they are because that’s what I needed.”
The journey of the new semester begins. Wishing everyone to achieve as high as they possibly can and become a better version of themselves in the new semester!