Innovation Diploma Enters its Second Year

As we head into our second year in the Innovation Diploma startup, I’d like to share a few exciting developments for our program:

  • We’ve more than doubled in size in our second year of existence – we have 25 enrolled!
  • Innovation Diploma now includes a Maker component
  • We have two new facilitators on the team: Trey Boden and T.J. Edwards
  • We’re building and testing an incredibly rich system of badges
  • Two Innovation Diploma students have built and launched their own AP course
  • The entire iD team is headed to the in March to work a design challenge
  • We now have two internationally recognized design thinking facilitators who happen to be students

I cannot quite capture all of the growth and momentum that is taking place for this program, but this post is meant to summarize a bit of our growth and some of the pivots we are taking in the second year. Here is just a teaser of what Bo Adams and I are building. Much of what you see here is based on our own research, but an even bigger chunk is based on the discovery and empathy work we’ve been immersed in as lead learners of Innovation Diploma. I am comfortable saying this is just a prototype, and I can’t wait to see what it helps us uncover, so that we can even better serve our team.


We’re using the module structure to frame the next 18 weeks for both the returning and the new cohorts. This structure allows us to onboard the new “Jobs” Cohort in a strategic way in what we’re calling Seminar, so that we can be sure to get them up and running on all of our systems as well as begin to build out their innovator toolkit. The second year students are moving parallel, but on a slightly faster track that pushes them to move into venture work sooner. Here is a glimpse of our prototyped modules:

Module Structure - Y1, S1
Current Year I Module Structure for Seminar
Year II Module Structure
Current Year II Module Structure

In terms of a more specific, day-to-day schedule, we have learned through experimentation, failures, and wins last year, that the most effective schedule for an early innovator is to model the kind of discipline required of an innovator by building a clear weekly frame that is not more or less structured than a traditional class, it’s just what Tony Wagner would refer to as “a different structure.” We continue to use a Gradual Release of Responsibility model (Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey) to help guide how we envision a three or four year experience in the program. As we refine the structure for the final year(s) of an Innovation Diploma experience, I’ll share that here as well, but imagine these models being much less steered by facilitators and more heavily steered by the student learner imposing his/her own framework. Below are some screen shots of what both the Year I and Year II students would be experiencing on a weekly basis.

Weekly Rhythm - Seminar (Year I of Innovation Diploma)
Year I Seminar Weekly Rhythm
Year II Weekly Rhythm
Year II Weekly Rhythm


In terms of assessment, we will continue to use a model that does not include grades, but requires facilitators to heavily assess and provide feedback to the student learners. Ultimately, the feedback we provide to each of the members of this program is meant to foster growth in the 4 C’s (EdLeader21), the Mount Vernon Mindsets, and the five verbs from Innovator’s DNA. Our desire is to push learners to be the primary leaders in their journeys through personalized coaching. Here is a short version of how we are assessing and measuring growth:


Growth Measures



One thought on “Innovation Diploma Enters its Second Year

  1. Reblogged this on The Life of Pinya and commented:
    And so, the journey continues. As ID enters our second year now, I’ve had a lot of people ask me how that’s going to work. Well like all great ideas, feedback has lead to iteration two. This is some of the exciting stuff we have planned for year 2 of the Innovation Diploma!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s