In the Idea Translation Lab model, students are asked to apply skills and ways of thinking common to both the aesthetic, dreamy processes of the arts and the deductive, analytical processes of the sciences in both the project development classroom and the arts studio. Some of these core processes common to both the classroom and the studio include: thinking “outside the box,” learning about and working in disciplines that are unfamiliar, problem-solving, public presentation, critique, and experimentation.This fusion of artistic and scientific disciplines, anchored in core work in the annual scientific theme, supports and challenges students to stretch their thinking and come up with wild, “blue sky” ideas to address needs that exist throughout the world.
In addition to encouraging interdisciplinary work by the inclusion of both arts and project development classes within the program structure, each program year begins with exploration of a scientific theme that is socially relevant and on the cusp of innovation. Guided by adult project mentors, students bring their own ideas to life through the three steps of the artscience Idea Translation process:
During the idea conception phase, students acquire and practice skills such as problem-identification, brainstorming, and teamwork.
During this phase, students realize what it means to ‘translate’ an idea from concept to reality by planning out how they will realize their idea, meeting with experts and peers who help student teams to challenge and stretch their own thinking, researching project themes, and devising experiments to test and revise students’ project ideas.
In this phase, students learn to cogently present their ideas through writing and presentation skill development workshops, participate in workshops about intellectual property, learn about resource development and financial and economic literacy, and work with instructors to consider the entrepreneurial skills involved in idea development.
This 3-step curricular model gives students a flexible structure for idea development that will help them to independently pursue their ideas and continue the Idea Translation process past their involvement in the program as they apply concepts learned in the program to their future endeavors and creative pursuits. By teaching students creative problem-solving skills, the ASP grooms the next generation of thinkers and entrepreneurs.
Following the Idea Translation Lab educational experience, students pursue their innovative art and design ideas with resources provided by the ArtScience Prize. Some students travel internationally, where they participate in an international Idea Translation Workshop with students from around the world. Other students work on their ideas locally and nationally. As their ideas mature, they continue to learn. The ideas themselves may become nonprofits like Lebone
, two nonprofits created over the last several years by student idea development through Idea Translation Lab learning. They may become for-profit successes, like Aerolife
or the oPhone
, two for-profit projects that emerged in recent years from Idea Translation Lab learning. These successes further motivate future generations of students and promise beneficial social, commercial, and cultural change.