SPARK Roundup

Two months ago, a team of seven Innovation Diploma students set out to create an event specifically designed to bring adults and students together for intentional and creative conversations. They wanted to set up a time and space for students to connect with business leaders, non-profit organizers, government officials and students from all over Atlanta. Last Thursday their hard work paid off when 80 people attended the first ever SPARK.

The morning began with Dr. Brett Jacobsen (Head of School, Mount Vernon Presbyterian School), Jack Harris (President and CEO, Junior Achievement), and Alex Rodriguez (a multi-unit Chick-fil-A operator) highlighting their personal triumphs and posing current problems for the audience to solve. After a brief Q&A, the ID team lead everyone through a design sprint to develop unique solutions for the speakers' problems. By the end of the morning, there were numerous new ideas for each of our speakers to take back to their organization. 

Be on the look out for an invitation to the spring SPARK later this semester!

Spark: The ID Convention

In my third year of Innovation Diploma, one of our facilitators tasked my team – Skylar, Melina, Mitch, Kylie, Anna, and Catherine – and I with hosting an event that brings creative people together for a talk. The goal of the internal design brief is to host an event entirely run by students and sponsor the ID name to hopefully get more design briefs from the wide variety of people that would come to this event. We started off thinking of creating another chapter of Creative Mornings to attach it to a well-known name, but then we pivoted into creating our own event called Spark to have more control and be confident in what we are doing. After pivoting, we put together a meeting with Mrs. Toller, who works at Mount Vernon, and can help us put on this event.
After talking with her, we created an executive summary that describes what our first opening doors event is going to be. Our goal is to plan an event that will bring in external experts from a variety of backgrounds who will have intentional conversations with each other about business, creativity, and education. We will be partnering with Allison Toller and Dr. Jacobsen and inviting two CEOs from the Business Chronicle’s 2017 Most Admired CEOs list to come and speak. We also hope to make connections with different companies and to advertise Innovation Diploma’s brand as a design firm to increase opportunities for future design briefs. Innovation Diploma members will be the students running, organizing, and hosting the event.
After creating the executive summary piece, we put together another meeting to show Mrs. Toller where our heads were at and how we were going to take the initiative in order to have this event become a reality. We also got together with Mr. Neylon to talk about potential places to host this event and how to make it look top notch. My team is currently working on a letter to send out to the CEOs that we are inviting and a landing page with an elevator pitch and a description. Our summary of the event looks something like this:
‘Come to Spark, a playground for intentional conversations, to listen and brainstorm ideas for meaningful speakers. Through this event, we will bring together a variety of students and adults from all over Atlanta to connect with and make an impact on your community.
Spark is an event hosted and created by students from Mount Vernon’s Innovation Diploma to bring a wide variety of students and adults together to enjoy creative talks. These talks will spark intentional conversations that will help brainstorm creative solutions for the speaker’s bugs or problems. Spark connects students with a wide variety of business leaders, non-profit organizers, and government officials from all over Atlanta.’
Working on this internal design brief has helped me not only appreciate how hard it is to host an event, but also how to go through the process of creating an event with a name, brand, or style. Even though this is tough work, my team and I are working diligently to get as much work done as possible to host this event as soon as possible. From this design brief, I have learned many different skills; from working in a big team setting to collaborating with important adults. I hope this event turns out to be as impactful and fun as I envision it in my head.

About the Author: Brady Vincent is in the Jobs cohort at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School and is very interested in becoming a serial entrepreneur when he grows up. He is passionate about the Innovation Diploma program and is also driven to be a maverick by challenging the way things are done.