Since the inception of the Bryant IDEA (Innovation and Design Experience for All) program nine years ago, IDEA has helped build a campus-wide culture that advances design thinking, curiosity, critical thinking, and the creativity needed to solve real-world problems.
IDEA 2021 program dates: January 26 to 29
This year, the transformational program for first-year students goes virtual and therefore global, providing students with real-world experience using virtual collaboration tools for digital brainstorming and digital storyboarding. More than 800 students – with nearly 250 faculty, staff, student, and alumni mentors in locations around the globe – will engage in innovation, virtual collaboration, and design thinking.
Tuesday, Jan. 26, 9:00 - 9:25 a.m. EST
Featured Keynote Speakers
"Elevating Empathy" with Shola Kaye, a London-based speaker, author, and international performer, followed by a workshop where students will develop a 30-day empathy plan.
Shola Kaye is a multi-award winning speaker and communication specialist. After working in the high-pressure industries of investment banking and IT management consulting in New York and London, she now brings her expertise and experience to the table to help leaders create happier, more engaged, and more equitable workplaces, and to encourage teams and individuals to speak up with confidence, impact, and influence.
"Think Different, The Disney Way" by Duncan Wardle, renowned innovation expert and former Head of Innovation and Creativity at Disney.
As Head of Innovation and Creativity at Disney, Duncan led the team that helped Imagineering, Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar, and Disney Parks to innovate, creating magical new storylines and experiences for consumers around the globe. As founder of iD8 & innov8 he now brings his extensive Disney experience as an Innovation Speaker delivering keynotes, workshops and ideation forums, around the globe helping companies embed a culture of innovation into everyone’s DNA.
Sponsor Panel Discussion: "Elevating Empathy and Innovation during the Pandemic"
Moderator: Bryant University President Ross Gittell, Ph.D.
Norman de Greve, Chief Marketing Officer, CVS Health
RJ Sherman, VP of Innovation at Citizens Bank
Amy Carosi, Organizational Development Officer at Amica
Jocelyn Murta '05, '11 MST, Tax Partner at EY
Empathy, social connection, and community
For nearly a decade, Bryant students have used the design thinking method (Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test) to address real problems for regional organizations. Prior design challenges have included addressing hunger in the community, enhancing tourism in Providence, and increasing voter turnout.
This year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, IDEA organizers chose to have one overarching design challenge: How might we elevate empathy, social connection, and community in a COVID world? Students will tackle this question from different angles, including healthcare, seniors and senior care facilities, education, small business owners, remote corporate employees, hospitality, and more.
"This year, we also want students to learn the value of empathy for building community, embracing diversity, and empowering successful leadership."
With Bryant’s commitment to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus, IDEA 2021 will focus on the first phase of the design thinking process: empathy. According to Allison Butler, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Director of the Bryant IDEA Program, “We want students to understand the essential role of empathy in design thinking, but this year, we also want students to learn the value of empathy for building community, embracing diversity, and empowering successful leadership. Students will hear an action-oriented keynote address from Shola Kaye, a London-based expert in empathy, and then engage in a workshop to develop a 30-day empathy plan.”
IDEA has long modeled the philosophy of continuous improvement. Refinements for IDEA 2021 include smaller cohort sizes (20 students instead of 25), multiple keynote speakers, a sponsor panel discussion, and adding a fourth day to the previous three-day bootcamp. This year’s virtual program will ignite the innovative, gritty spirit needed for the next four years at Bryant, and beyond.
2021 IDEA Leadership Team
The 2021 IDEA Leadership Team – representing dedicated faculty from the College of Business and College of Arts and Sciences, professional staff, and students – includes:
- Allison Butler, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Director of the Bryant IDEA Program
- Laura Beaudin, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics
- Bonnie Budd, Ed.D., Director of Online Learning
- Lisa Ferns, Learning Experience Designer
- David John Ciliberto, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer of History and Social Sciences
- Lori Coakley, Ph.D., Professor of Management
- Emily Collins-Garcia, Coordinator for International Student Integration
- Susan Hanoian, IDEA Program Assistant
- Matt Kreimeier, former Associate Director of the Quinlan/Brown Academic Innovation Center and Academic Affairs Operations
- Mikayla Locke ‘18, Bryant Human Resources Generalist
First-Year Gateway Experience
IDEA is a key component of Bryant’s immersive and uniquely integrated First-Year Gateway Experience, the foundational program built around fundamental questions regarding the role of the individual and groups in a fast-paced, ever changing world. Through the required 13-credit program, students examine Global Foundations of Character and Leadership, and Global Foundations of Organizations and Business, along with a writing course and introduction to literature. The Gateway program has been acclaimed by organizations including the Davis Foundation and Hanover Research.