Organizational Structure and Future Vision
InnoWorks aims to serve all students and communities around the world. As the number of chapters continues to grow, it has become clear that establishing an InnoWorks International Headquarters (IH) is essential in continuing the organization on its path of expansion and improvement. The minimum infrastructure we anticipate needing for the IH include the hiring of an International Director, a few full-time and part-time staff members, and office space. The primary goals of the IH are to support chapters in areas such as business and organizational know-how, logistics, and funding, develop and lead organization-wide initiatives such as curriculum development, facilitate effective internal and external communication and knowledge sharing, manage shared resources, and provide a central identity for the organization.
It is important to recognize that the critical roles that InnoWorks chapters currently play will not change; they will still be the ones that directly interface with their students, communities, and host institutions. We will also continue to require chapters to actively fundraise and participate in curriculum development because we believe that these experiences are invaluable for young leaders and entrepreneurs. Within the next few years, we hope to build the IH to the point that it can help support chapters in the key areas we mentioned above, freeing up valuable time for chapters to deliver better services directly to their students and communities.
To this end, we have built upon our successes over the past four years by developing a three to five year vision for InnoWorks in terms of organizational growth and development. The remainder of this summary discusses some of the initiatives we are currently undertaking or plan to undertake in the near future.
We are currently formalizing the process of chapter establishment, renewal, and the types of support the IH will offer chapters. For example, we will develop “ready-to-go” kits to accompany InnoWorks curricula. We plan on establishing a Summer Internship Program for the IH, formalizing a Chapter Exchange Program in which leaders of new chapters would have the opportunity to assist in an established chapter’s program prior to running their own, and creating a valuable Board of Advisors.
Numerous web tools will be designed to facilitate both internal and external communication. For example, we plan to partner with Google™ and have already developed several Google™ Groups for internal information sharing and collaborative curriculum development. Whereas these online groups are ideal for daily communication, an E-Newsletter published once every two months will highlight the most significant news over longer periods of time. We are exploring the creation of an “InnoNet” website that will serve a purpose for InnoWorks similar to Facebook for the college community. This will provide a way for students to communicate with their peers and mentors outside of formal InnoWorks programs and allows us to assist and track their educational development.
We have developed several strategic initiatives for managing the growth and expansion of InnoWorks while increasing service quality. In addition to the passive method of chapter expansion that has worked well so far, we are building a business plan that includes informational packages for distribution to college campuses around the world as part of a campaign to get the word out about InnoWorks. We plan on forming critical partnerships with complementary organizations and developing additional InnoWorks programs to increase our impact. Examples include extending the InnoWorks model to an Afterschool Program and a High School (HS) Bridge Program. The latter consists of three components: (1) Junior Mentor Program that will bring InnoWorks alumni in HS back to the program as junior mentors to facilitate their development as leaders, (2) College Support Program that will provide information, support, and assistance on college life and the application process, and (3) Scientific Research Initiative that involves pairing of InnoWorks mentors with high school alumni to conduct long-term, open-ended research projects that will culminate in student presentations at InnoWorks Research Symposia.
To help InnoWorks alumni learn about career opportunities in science and engineering, we will host an “InnoWorks Opportunities” program that involves special visits to local science- and engineering-based companies and lab tours with prominent researchers at host institutions.
We have harnessed cutting-edge neuroscience and educational research in our programs, curriculum development methods, and evaluation techniques. We aim to fully utilize these tools to encourage students to explore outside their learning comfort zone and become more adaptable, well-rounded, and confident learners. We are creating an Educational Research Committee (ERC) that will lead the future of our educational research efforts and report our results to the educational community.
The IH will organize an Annual Leadership Summit to inspire chapter leaders, discuss progress over the past year, share lessons learned and problem-solving techniques discovered, coordinate new strategic initiatives, and distribute materials. The ERC will also be responsible for creating interactive multimedia training materials that teach the latest pedagogical methods. These materials will be given to chapter leaders to use during their Chapter Mentor and Staff Training Workshops.
All chapters are expected to actively participate in InnoWorks curriculum development efforts, either through improvement and extension of extant curricula or contribution to new curricula. We want to create a Curriculum Review Committee (CRC) that will include experts from various fields of science and engineering as a formal means of ensuring scientific soundness. To increase curricular flexibility, we envision creating an ever evolving online collection of organization-approved thematic modules, activities, and missions. Chapters pick the curriculum elements they want on their own timeline, add them to a shopping cart, and send off a personalized order to a partnering on-demand printer for their customized books and another to the IH for the “ready-to-go” kits that accompany their curriculum.
InnoWorks By the Numbers: Past and Present
The year 2012 marks the 9th year of InnoWorks. We have successfully conducted more than 30 summer programs for nearly 1,000 students and benefited from the contributions of over 700 volunteers. We currently have more than a dozen chapters: Duke University, University of Maryland College Park, University of Arizona, University of Pennsylvania, University of Maryland Baltimore Campus, University of Michigan, Caltech, UCLA, MIT, Boston University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins and College of the Bahamas (Nassau, Bahamas).
We anticipate having well over 300 students at our 2012programs. We are constantly receiving inquiries from people interested in starting new chapters from as far away as South Africa, and Saudi Arabia. InnoWorks has been invited to send a delegation to Limpopo, South Africa to conduct a summer program for local education leaders, college students and children in public schools. Officials from Effat College came to the US to meet with InnoWorks representatives and discuss the possibility of starting an InnoWorks chapter there.
InnoWorks has won the 2007 Brick! Award, the 2011 MIT Global Challenge, and has been profiled by CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, Duke News & Communication, The Herald Sun, Duke Chronicle, UANews, Duke Dialogue, Maryland Gazette, Arizona Daily Star, DukEngineer Magazine, and was featured on the 2005-2006 Duke Basketball Halftime TV Spot.