#BeyondTheBox | Education: How the Industry is Regenerating.

BeyondTheBox | Education | 2017

Written by Aakriti Pandey. Photographs by District Dodger.

The education sector is going through a process of regeneration. From the teaching and learning methods to the testing techniques; from the lunchroom to the playground; from what it means to go to school to what it really means to graduate. The renaissance of the industry that's in a desperate need of change is happening already.

On April 13, 2017, InnovatorsBox hosted its second #BeyondTheBox of 2017 in WeWork K St., where it invited five individuals from the industry who are #RethinkingEducation

In an innovation and fun filled event, there were attendees from a range of different industries, including, Education, Technology startups, Consulting, Non-profit, Child Care, and more. Seeing the community of professionals, from multitudes of different areas, gather to share and learn about Education was powerful, to say the least. 

The five distinguished speakers on the panel, who tackle different segments of education, brought a hoard of experience and expertise in the sector.

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Beyond The Box "Education" Panelist (Photo Credit: District Dodger)

Beyond The Box "Education" Panelist (Photo Credit: District Dodger)

Monica Kang, Founder & CEO of InnovatorsBox, hosted a series of Q&A to the speakers to help dive deeper into the root of the problems and to learn how each individual has been doing their share of heavy lifting to re-situate the giant sequoia that is Education. 

How did these brilliant and creative ideas that are helping reshape the industry even come about?

Cortni Grange shared that for him it came from personal experiences and by connecting the dots.  The idea to give back to the school he graduated from came about while he was in the school gym one day. Then inch-by-inch some random moments sparked new ideas... and one thing led to the other until FLYE was born to help make an impact in the education sector. 

Takeaway -> Keep your mind open. Creativity & innovation can come to you anytime. You just need to be able to connect the dots.

Cortni Grange. (Photo Credit: District Dodger)

Cortni Grange. (Photo Credit: District Dodger)


In introducing innovation into education, how hard is it to manage different levels of conversations in a bureaucratic industry?

Natalie Gould said, "essentially, we were selling a dream". Without any track record, or a building, or anything tangible, it was hard to sell the innovation to different stakeholders. However, by explaining what the vision is, what kind of activities would be happening, and what would be taught, the team sold the promise. The promise of "helping them get a job after school, and creating a bank of jobs for those who don't even make it after school". And more importantly, they stood by the promise. 

Takeaway -> Don't give up. Stand by your dream. Innovation is never meant to be easy and Education sector is innovation-hungry.

Natalie Gould. (Photo Credit: District Dodger)

Natalie Gould. (Photo Credit: District Dodger)


What's one gap in education that we need to take more seriously?

Craig Zelizer says there many gaps in education. Firstly, a room full of an audience was asked if they currently work in the fields of their education, and (gasp), only a couple of hands were raised! So.. Craig pointed out that even if the education was affordable, who cares anymore? The affordability isn't the real culprit of the gaping hole in education. It's that the nature of work is changing, and yet, the education sector hasn't. By the time students graduate, the nature of jobs will have changed and the types of work they'd have spent their years studying for will no longer exist. 

Takeaway -> People need to be job creators, innovators, creatives, and team-workers. The focus needs to shift to soft skills and human skills.

Craig Zelizer (Photo Credit: District Dodger)

Craig Zelizer (Photo Credit: District Dodger)


Being innovative in education, what are ways that we can make a difference?

Tajaa Long believes what's important is to train students to think critically even when there's no room for creativity, as oxymoron as it may sound. "Kids are brought up and taught within four walls, with a teacher in the room dictating what to do. And when they graduate and get jobs (if they do), all of a sudden they're expected to be creative out of the blue", Taj pointed out. She wishes something like that existed for her, so she works every day to teach the kids newer concepts, and make a difference in their lives - one student at a time.

Takeaway -> Ask yourself what your dissatisfactions are, and be the one to change those. Opportunities arise from disappointments.

Taj Long (Photo Credit: District Dodger)

Taj Long (Photo Credit: District Dodger)


How can we be creative and stay creative in our fields and tackle the problem of stagnation?

Brian LeDuc pointed out that since most of us today do not work in the fields that we graduated in, we gain a different level of focus to 'fit in' into the newer environments, newer workforces, and groups. It delineates that we are all able to learn better when we're working in groups and teams.

He shared that "the concept that by being able to articulate information that it at all means demonstrates that someone has the ability to apply or use that information - they're two totally different known component parts of the hierarchy of someone's learning. It takes a different set of skills to get [a student to] the baseline of regurgitating information than it takes to get someone to use what they're learning."

Takeaway -> It takes work getting students from a baseline of knowing information than using it.

Brian LeDuc (Photo Credit: District Dodger)

Brian LeDuc (Photo Credit: District Dodger)


Overall, it was a stimulating, interactive and lively event. Towards the end of the thought-provoking 2+ hours, the curiosity sparked some great questions from the audience.

The infographics below provides the snapshot of some of the key nuggets.

Our next stop on the journey of innovation will be on the 27th April 2017 at WeWork White House, where we'll be talking to some of the innovators of the Healthcare sector. RSVP below. We can't wait to see you there!


Learn more via video and photos!