Dr. Kenneth Kahn, Director of the VCU da Vinci Center, facilitated a session with the delegates about innovation and collaboration at their schools. The da Vinci Center is a collaboration of VCU’s Schools of the Arts, Business, Engineering and College of Humanities and Sciences, demonstrating yet again the value of diverse, cross-disciplinary problem-solving.
Dr. Kahn invited students to participate in an activity to demonstrate the type of collaborative innovation used at the da Vinci Center. The delegates separated into their groups and were tasked with “question-storming” on their previously assigned environmental issue. In this process, the students wrote down any and every question related to the topic that came to mind. Later, Dr. Kahn introduced another tactic: Each group was assigned an animal, and asked, If that animal ruled the world, how would would it solve the environmental problem?
Through the correct processes, ideas transform into inventions, and inventions then become innovations that can be further developed for commercial use.
Kahn stressed the importance of prototyping; being rooted to a discipline for knowledge can coexist with an openness to think creatively across a broad spectrum of disciplines, and prototyping allows a team to experiment.