Bryant students participate in the university's IDEA program.
Bryant University's annual IDEA (Innovation and Design Experience for All) will take place January 21-23, 2019, when approximately 900 first-year students return to campus for a three-day design-thinking boot camp that prepares students to think, create, and bring their best ideas to life.
Gearing up for Bryant IDEA 2019, preparing innovative leaders for the future
Nov 02, 2018

The world is changing fast, and organizations, economies, and communities need a new generation of innovative leaders prepared for the future. Bryant University is answering the call with a nationally recognized educational model advanced through innovative pedagogies.

Bryant’s annual IDEA (Innovation and Design Experience for All) will take place January 21-23, 2019, when approximately 900 first-year Bryant students return to campus for a three-day design thinking boot camp that prepares students to think, create, and bring their best ideas to life during their time at Bryant and beyond.

“Through the process of learning this methodology, students are naturally building their skills in collaboration and communication, and they are learning the value of feedback and iteration. These are skills that will give them a leading edge in future academic and professional pursuits.”

Applying design thinking principles, IDEA faculty and mentors emphasize the five traits of innovators: curiosity and creativity; integrative thinking; collaboration; connecting seemingly disparate information; and the perseverance and grit to forge on and learn from failure.

“Through the process of learning this methodology, students are naturally building their skills in collaboration and communication, and they are learning the value of feedback and iteration,” says Allison Butler, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Applied Psychology and director of the IDEA program. “These are skills that will give them a leading edge in future academic and professional pursuits.”

Since the program’s inception, IDEA faculty organizers have practiced what they teach, taking a design thinking approach to continuously refining and enhancing the program. Over the years, through their own analysis and listening to feedback from everyone involved—participating students; faculty, alumni, student and staff mentors; and regional businesses and judges—the planning committee has worked tirelessly to enhance the experience for students and ensure the program’s and the students’ success.

“This year, we are excited to be adding a new learning 
module focused on how to create user empathy and journey maps—tools which help design thinkers craft meaningful insights about the user experience. Creating this deeper understanding of the user or customer becomes the foundation for transformative innovation,” says Butler.  

IDEA is a key component of Bryant’s immersive and uniquely integrated First-Year Gateway Experience, the foundational program built around fundamental questions about 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.

The IDEA 2019 Leadership Team; representing dedicated faculty from both Bryant’s College of Business and College of Arts and Sciences, professional staff, and students; includes the following members:

  • Associate Professor of Applied Psychology Allison Butler, Ph.D., IDEA Director
  • Operations Manager for the Quinlan/Brown Academic Innovation Center Matt Kreimeier, IDEA Assistant Director
  • Assistant Professor of Economics Laura Beaudin, Ph.D.
  • Lecturer in History and Social Sciences David John Ciliberto, Ph.D.
  • Professor of Management Lori Coakley, Ph.D.
  • Amica Center for Career Education Assistant Director of Employer Relations, Scott Connolly
  • Samantha Mazza ‘19, Seekonk, MA, Major: Accounting, Minor: Communication
  • Associate Professor of Communication Chris Morse, Ph.D.
  • Thobani Nxumalo ‘19, Johannesburg, South Africa, Major: Actuarial Mathematics, Minor: Economics, Finance
  • Center for Leadership and Involvement Associate Director for Student Event Services and Orientation Jess Raffaele
  • Associate Professor of Management James Segovis, Ph.D.

Related Stories