The signature IDEA (Innovation and Design Experience for All) program will kick off its 10th year on Jan. 24
IDEA@10, back in-person and better than ever
Oct 22, 2021, by Staff Writer

Immersive, experience-based learning is a Bryant hallmark that starts a student’s very first year. The University’s signature IDEA (Innovation and Design Experience for All) program, a three-day design thinking boot camp for freshmen, is a cornerstone of the First-Year Gateway Experience. Launched a decade ago, Bryant’s Gateway has been nationally recognized for its learning-centered teaching by organizations including the Davis Educational Foundation and Hanover Research.

IDEA was ground-breaking when it was introduced in 2013 and the one-credit course has been refined every year since to be even more transformational for students as the leadership team prepares for a milestone tenth year. IDEA 2022 takes place Monday, January 24 through Wednesday, January 26. The program leadership team is currently seeking faculty and staff mentors through the online Mentor Interest Form

For 2022, IDEA returns to in-person programming, but with smaller student cohorts and no large gatherings. The Opening and Closing ceremonies will be virtual and livestreamed for campus health and safety; students will view them in cohort classrooms. Favorite parts of the IDEA experience are returning for 2022, including keynote speakers, empathy interviews conducted during field research, and of course food and fun. As they do each year in IDEA, students will learn to “elevate empathy” by embracing a human-centered approach to problem-solving and design.

Building Critical 21st Century Skills

Through active and immersive learning, IDEA teaches students to apply design thinking principles—observation, ideation, rapid prototyping, user feedback, iteration, and implementation—to develop real-time, real-world solutions for regional businesses, organizations, and communities. IDEA is designed to change the way students approach situation analysis and problem-solving, developing leadership and communication strengths while accelerating learning for critical 21st century skills in high demand. The programs sets a foundation for success at Bryant and beyond. 

“Through practicing the design thinking process, students become better communicators and collaborators, and they learn the value of iterating their work based on feedback. They also build their creative confidence," says Allison Butler, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and director of the IDEA program. "In just three days, they begin to see themselves as innovators who can leverage the methods they learn in IDEA for their future success, and that’s very empowering for them."

Approximately 700 students will participate in the 72-hour experience this year, with the support and guidance of nearly 200 faculty, staff, student, alumni and parent mentors, as well as more than 100 alumni and regional business leaders who serve as judges. This year’s class will join the nearly 8,000 Bryant students who’ve already been trained in design thinking through the Bryant IDEA Program.

2022 IDEA Leadership Team

The IDEA 2022 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:

Professor of Psychology Allison Butler, Ph.D., IDEA Program Director

Human Resources Generalist Mikayla Locke ‘18, IDEA Assistant Director 

Matt Kreimeier, IDEA Operations Consultant


Senior Lecturer in History and Social Sciences David John Ciliberto, Ph.D.

Alumni Communications and Program Assistant Meg Cummins

EDC Learning Experience Developer Lisa Ferns

Cathryn Johnson '22

Alexa Kelley '22

Assistant Professor of Mathematics Alicia Lamere, Ph.D.

Advancement Stewardship Specialist Kellie Mackisey 

Molly Masciarelli '22

Lecturer in Management Robert Massoud, MBA

Student Affairs Director of Finance, Budget Management and Operations Lisa Morris '97, '21MBA

Assistant Professor of Management Kathryn Ostermeier, Ph.D. 

Sara Puglielli '22

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