A community innovator is any DPS employee, student, parent or community partner who has an idea that holds the potential of radically reinventing public education.
We believe community members have tremendous untapped capacity to creatively solve some of the most complex challenges facing public education today. Our aim is to unleash and channel this creativity to maximize its positive impact on public education.
Using our design thinking and strategic planning expertise, the Imaginarium helps Community Innovators develop a deep understanding of the problem they are attempting to address, craft a vision for what their solution might be, and design and test prototypes with their end-users. At the conclusion of their work with the Imaginarium, Community Innovators will have designed and tested at least one prototype, will understand what did and did not work with their solution, and will identify next steps. The goal, however, is for every Community Innovator to arrive at a proof-of-concept prototype that can be piloted with a greater number of end-users. With support from the Imaginarium, these innovators develop plans to pilot, scale and sustain their solution.
On Thursday, May 25 Imaginarium held its pitch night for the 2017 Design Challenge at Colorado Lending Source. Eleven finalists presented their innovative ideas that would make a positive impact on Denver Public Schools’ students. Finalists had the chance to win up to $10,000 in funding and be paired with local developers to assist in turning their ideas into solutions in service of Denver students.
The Design Challenge looked for disruptive, innovative ideas that could be game changers in education. Categories for judging and evaluation included: degree of innovation, how well it solves a need in the education system, integration within Denver Public Schools, feasibility, promotion of equity and alignment with the Denver 2020 plan.
Six innovators were granted funding and will have their ideas implemented into Denver Public Schools starting in the 2018 school year.