Equity in Education Challenge

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What is Open Innovation? 

Open Innovation is a creative methodology that promotes sharing ideas freely and learning alongside each other. It brings together a variety of perspectives around a single topic as all participants have permission to freely contribute to, borrow from, and build off of the knowledge of others.  

We believe this diverse mix of skills and viewpoints—that might not interact otherwise—both yield a more nuanced understanding of an issue and increase the likelihood of creating new and novel solutions. In pairing Open Innovation style workshops with a Fellowship Program, we hope to connect social innovators working to address issues of equity in education and advance the development of new ideas — all in service. 


Who is eligible to participate in the Equity in Education Challenge? 

We encourage those both inside traditional educational institutions and those in sectors adjacent to education to participate.   

Individuals or Teams from any size organization associated with education will be able to participate in the Open Innovation Workshops and if selected, the Fellowship Program.  

Teams submitting their idea to participate in the Fellowship Program need to designate one person in their group as the Fellowship Recipient.  

We will not make payments to individuals. Payments must be made to the legally organized or accredited organization that is sponsoring/benefitting from a Participants inclusion in the Fellowship.  


If I want to be involved in the Open Innovation Workshop but can’t be at the live sessions, can I still participate? 

Yes. Although we would like for you to be present during the live sessions, we also understand that schedules are complicated—especially during a pandemic. All workshops will be recorded and emailed to participants to view or review on your own time.  

If you are unable to participate in live sessions and want to be considered for the Fellowship Program, we require that you submit your idea for the virtual Demo Day prior to the deadline. 


Are there things I should do to prepare for registration in the Steelcase Open Innovation Workshop? 

Yes. In the week leading up to the Open Innovation Workshop you will receive an email with approximately 45 minutes of pre-work and additional resources if you want to dive deeper. 


What do you mean by “teaching and learning environment” 

The nature of equity in education is complex and interconnected. For this challenge our definition of environment is not limited to physical space. An environment might be an app, a neighborhood, a socially safe gathering, a website, a relationship, family support network, etc. 


Who owns the ideas shared in the Open Innovation workshop? 

We will be using an Open Innovation methodology that promotes sharing ideas freely and learning alongside each other. During an Open Innovation Workshop we ask that you not share any confidential information with us or the other participants in the workshops. Steelcase and other participants may be actively working to develop products or services similar to your idea or designed to address similar market opportunities. Steelcase and other participants may be engaging with other third parties who are working to do the same. When participating in the Open Innovation Workshop you agree that Steelcase and other participants may use any ideas or suggestions you may make during the program without any further obligation to you, in pursuit of the goal to freely share ideas. 


What will we do in these Open Innovation workshops? 

Our series of workshops are scaffolded to guide you through the Human Centered Design process while we explore the challenge question: “How might we leverage this time of global disruption to reimagine equity and wellbeing in our teaching and learning environments?”  

During each 60-minute workshop there will be time of instruction, interactive practice with innovation tools and methods, discussion, and application prompts. Our facilitators will be available for 30-minutes afterwards to dig deeper into any area you might have questions about. The output of each workshop will be a component of your final “Demo Day” presentation.  


Do I need to join the Open Innovation Workshop in order to be considered for the Fellowship? 

Yes. These workshops will be a productive use of your time to connect with other innovators and understand our methodology. Additionally, the project prompts will help you structure and refine your pitch in a way that our Selection Panel can analyze effectively.  


Can more than one teacher participate in the Open Innovation Workshop from the same institution? 

Yes. For the Open Innovation Workshop multiple people may sign up from one organization. They can participate as a either a team focusing on one shared idea, or as individuals working on their own idea. 


 How do I sign up as a team?  

Each individual needs to register separately. This will give you each the needed access to the learning platform. Once the workshops have started your Team can share all activities related to your idea. 


Can I submit multiple ideas during the Open Innovation Workshop? 

You can submit no more than two final ideas for consideration for the Fellowship. During the Open Innovation Workshop we will discuss what the formatting requirements are for multiple ideas. 


How should I present my ideas for the Open Innovation Workshop Demo Day? What is the deliverable you will be judging? 

Details on Demo Day presentations and selection considerations will be discussed in the workshops and delivered in supporting collateral. Please remember that the main goal is to enable sharing of ideas, Steelcase and other participants have the right to reference and use the presentations so long as proper attribution is provided. 


If my idea is selected for a Fellowship, what happens?   

Should your idea be selected for the Fellowship Program, and you are part of a team, you will need to identify one team-member to serve as the Fellowship Representative for the group. 

Once selected as a Fellow you will be responsible for attending the majority of the virtual engagements. These engagements will be recorded, and that recording will be available to you and your organization. 


What are the considerations or criteria your selection panel is using? 

Below are general descriptions of the considerations our Selection Panel will be using: 

  • Level of interest and ability to participate in the program time frame 
  • Awareness and familiarity with context 
  • Clear articulation of a related problem and opportunity 
  • Institutional commitment and capacity to execute a prototype 
  • Aligned with principles of Targeted Universalism 
  • Proximity to a Steelcase location 

Are there any contractual obligations with Steelcase should I be selected to be a Fellow? 

Yes. Should you be selected for the Fellowship Program, you will be asked to sign an Agreement with Steelcase that will provide the specifics of the program requirements, and what will be received by participants. You will have the opportunity to review before signing and indicate your desire to participate in the Fellowship Program.  


What will be provided to those selected for the Fellowship? 

The goal of the Fellowship Program is to improve cultures of innovation while advancing new efforts in equity and wellbeing. Up to 15 Fellows will be selected to receive additional tools like IDEO’s Creative Difference, training, and support over the course of two-months. 

The Fellowship Program will consist of virtual workshops, guest lectures, and ad hoc support to address challenges that arise in early stage development 

A Fellow’s organization will receive $5,000 to support the development and testing of a prototype. 


What am I expected to complete for the Fellowship Program? 

You will be responsible for attending the majority of the virtual engagements, engage with other participants, and use the tools we provide as applicable. You will develop a prototype of your idea and test it. Finally, you will develop a presentation that captures and shares the lessons you’ve learned. 


What is the estimated time commitment? 

For the Open Innovation Workshop, we estimate 10-12 hours of work over two weeks. For the Fellowship Program, we estimate 40 hours of work over two months. 


Will there be new challenges in the future? 

This is hopefully the first of many Steelcase Social Innovation Lab challenges. Like all new efforts, we will learn a lot this iteration so it’s likely future versions will be different in execution but similar in spirit: focused on a Sustainable Development Goals, bringing new ideas into the world, and sharing learning.  


Will there be language support for languages other than English? 

For our inaugural challenge, we will not have translation services available. 


How does IDEO’s Creative Difference work? 

If you are selected for a fellowship and your organization has a staff of larger than five you may be able to use the IDEO’s Creative Difference tool. This tool measures 6 organizational qualities—Purpose, Looking Out, Experimentation, Collaboration, Empowerment, and Refinement—that help drive any organization to become more creatively competitive. It assesses these qualities through an organizational survey and provides a clear breakdown of what is being done well, and what needs more attention. For more information on the framework head to https://creativedifference.ideo.com.