Designing a Better World: iDiploma

Oct 6, 2021 | Blog, Idiploma, Upper School News

Innovation Diploma (iD or iDiploma) is a student-led, transformation design studio that inspires, creates, and implements high-impact work at Mount Vernon. iD is a 3 to 4-year program that culminates with students creating long term professional relationships, facilitating positive change in partnered organizations and communities, and having an active role in changing the world around them.

Past iDiploma partners have included Porsche, Delta, Chick-Fil-A, AT&T, the city of Sandy Springs, the CDC, and more.

What’s iDiploma up to this school year? They are prototyping the use of the Design Brief Framework across the entire programming. The framework includes four main phases: partnership initiation, forming a design team and a design brief breakdown, planning, running and reviewing a sprint, and a finished design brief – all completed within an 8-week timeframe.

The iD process has the goal of answering MV’s question – how might we create a school that is reflective of real life?

Students in iDiploma this year have been reading books such as Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom and David Kelley, Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts by Brené Brown, and The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators by Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton M. Christensen, then putting the knowledge learned to work.

In iDiploma’s Transformational Leadership class, taught by Dr. Audrey Schewe and Ms. Emily Wilcox, students are currently making podcasts to demonstrate qualities of their understanding of Dare to Lead, then sharing peer feedback as a way to improve from episode one to episode two.

The Grade 9 iD cohort is currently reading Creative Confidence while applying what they are learning to apply design thinking to a real world situation. As they finish up their first Mod, this cohort is really starting to come together as a cohesive group.

Other Grade 9 students have been tasked with designing an experiment to test the effectiveness of the antimicrobial properties of their focal plant species. Last week, they conducted their experiment, and this week they collected results. After a feedback and review session, students have decided to iterate their procedure and try again.

The Grade 10 cohort has a big week coming up. In MDE: Industrial Design with Jim Tiffin, this group is designing a minigolf course for the Homecoming football game. They went on an expedition to learn more, designed prototypes and presented them to other students, faculty and staff members, and alumni for feedback, and will build a full course to be showcased next week. Stay tuned for a further recap of this project!

As iDiploma continues throughout the year, be sure to follow along on Twitter and Instagram for updates on all of their ongoing projects.