'Operation Incubation' Means Student-Led Impact

'Operation Incubation' Means More Student-Led Impact at East
Posted on 05/07/2019
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students at East presenting Innovation pitchA group of students at Lakota East now have a blueprint for how to make more student-led ideas, like the recently transformed “Innovation Hub”, come to life in their school. It’s something that East junior Leo Rolfert and sophomores Michelle Antiri and Courtney Lyden are calling “Operation Incubation.”

Over about three months, the trio participated in a series of district bus tours and workshops offered by the Hamilton County Educational Service Center. Alongside East Principal Suzanna Davis and teacher Kevin Keen, they learned the science behind a unique process of ideation called “Innovation Engineering.” When challenged to apply it to their own idea, the group decided to put that same methodology to work at East.

“Lakota East has focused on empowering our students to speak out. We gained student voice, but now what?” challenged Antiri during her group’s presentation on “Pitch Day,” where they were joined by two other groups from Madeira City Schools and Kings Local Schools, each presenting an idea to advance their school or district. She and Lyden went on to explain through their pitch how the “Innovation Engineering” process could be used at East to extract ideas from the student body that could improve the student experience and then accelerate their implementation.

“Operation Incubation would connect trained student facilitators with student innovators to accelerate big ideas,” said Lyden, reflecting on the group’s first attempt to practice their approach with the school’s Student Advisory Council. Through experimentation, the group modified their process, landing on five steps: Ideate, Connect, Plan, Pitch & Hatch.

The group plans to launch “Operation Incubation” at East in phases, using the beginning of next school year to train a team of student facilitators on the “Innovation Engineering” process and then building up to a school-wide roll out in April or May of 2020.

"Student voice has never been more powerful at East and it's all because our students take the initiative to make things happen," Davis said. "This project is a perfect example of that. The best way to empower students to run with their big ideas for the good of our school community is to give them a framework for bringing them to life. I am so proud of all that went into this big idea."