Mount Vernon Innovation Diploma (iD) program continues to elevate inquiry, innovation, and creativity with its “Future of” design series. Now in its third year, this unique initiative challenges students to envision and prototype the future of specific industries, sparking innovative ideas that may shape tomorrow’s landscapes. Having explored the Future of Retail in 2021 and the Future of Food in 2022, this year’s focus is on the realm of air transportation.

Director of Innovation Diploma, Krista Fancher explained the learning progression. “Coming off of two design briefs in Mod 1, the Delta sustainability brief, and the Immersive Global Solutions brief, many iD students had the chance to visit Hartsfield Jackson Airport. Standing on the tarmac and interviewing several employees they gained valuable access and insight into the air transportation industry. The Delta team developed and presented an idea catalog filled with ways to support Delta in reaching their sustainability goals. The Future of Air Transportation is a nice progression. The students who participated in the related brief can dive deeper and those who did not will have a chance to learn from their peers.”

Design Scope, Tools, and Constraints

Under the theme “The Future of Air Transportation,” students are tasked with designing an immersive user experience for a showcase event on the evening of December 18. The next morning, students will host industry professionals who will give feedback on their ideas. This endeavor encourages learners to think beyond what is presently possible, urging them to predict and shape the industry’s trajectory over the next ten years. Unlike typical external design briefs, this project is an internal challenge that relies on external experts instead of typical design brief clients.

Each of the four classes will craft its vision of air travel in the near future, up to the year 2033. Armed with the Design Scope, Design Brief Framework, and the new Project Management Interactive prototype, students will navigate the Discover, Define, Design, and Deploy stages in a compressed time frame of 36 class days.

The overarching goals for the students are clear: inspire attendees with creative air travel innovations, develop a functional prototype or experience, showcase design thinking skills, work collaboratively, and, most importantly, have fun ideating amidst uncertainty and limitless possibilities.

The Visitors’ Experience

Success hinges on project management, teamwork, and a shared commitment to the project’s goals. The metaphor of rowing a canoe underscores the importance of everyone moving in the same direction. Unity, dedication, and collaboration will propel the students toward a successful showcase. Visitors during the Home of the Holidays Showcase on December 18 at 6:00 pm can expect to experience the following:

Physical Prototypes

  • Four designed and fabricated physical representations of the envisioned future of air travel will be on display in the 3 North Community Space.
  • Student’s prototypes will be built with considerations given to safety, durability, and functionality.
  • The students have worked within constraints including time, budget, and space limitations.

Presentation & Explanations

  • Each futuristic vision of air travel will be articulated and presented to the showcase attendees.
  • Presentations will aim to engage the audience with the innovative aspects of the design, providing context and purpose.

Additionally, students must ensure their prototypes are built with great care for the Upper School spaces. Students have worked closely with Maker teacher Jim Tiffin, whose dedication and support of student-led projects has come to a crescendo this time of year. “We could not do the ‘Future of…’ projects without Mr. Tiffin. He works tirelessly to support our students before, during, and after school.” – Emily Wilcox, Associate Director of Innovation Diploma

Reflection & Documentation

Students will document the entire process in a comprehensive case study, highlighting challenges, solutions, and the evolution of the project.

Mount Vernon School’s Innovation Diploma (iD) program continues to set the standard for forward-thinking education. By empowering students to envision the future of air travel, the program cultivates creativity, project management, and problem-solving skills and fosters a collaborative spirit essential for success in any industry. The upcoming showcase promises to wow attendees and transport them into the inventive visions of these young minds, showcasing the power of student agency to shape a brighter future.

YOU ARE INVITED! Come out and experience it, Monday, December 18 from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm during the Home of the Holidays Showcase on the Upper Campus.