Source: Project InCiTE
Project InCiTE’s 20 fellows are developing innovative new projects—focusing on teen engagement with Israel and Jewish peoplehood. Fellows received formal creativity training by SIT (Systematic Inventive Thinking) preceding and during the project design phase of the program. We are pleased to share what we have learned through our experiences during Project InCiTE, and invite you to glean insights from the perspectives of innovation and Israel education. The findings can be downloaded and printed in their entirety, or as individual essays.
Project InCiTE Findings:
- Ten Things We've Learned About Innovation
- Contributions to the Field of Israel Education
- Full descriptions of Fellow Projects
History of Project InCiTE-- Innovating Creative Teen Engagement
Teen education is challenging. Many institutions and organizations are unsatisfied with their record for delivering high quality experiences for learners in the years between Bar/Bat Mitzvah and entering college. Additionally, the educators and youth professionals who work with Jewish teens often find themselves lacking the peer and professional support, communal resources, and professional development opportunities needed to do the best job possible.
Inspired by this recognition and with a mandate to bring strong Israel Engagement to teen settings, the Project InCiTE - Innovating Creative Teen Engagement Fellowship was created through the work of The New Center for Collaborative Leadership at The Jewish Education Project.
We gathered together a diverse group of educators from national and regional institutions and organizations, and from a range of affiliations, and geographic locations. We designed a Fellowship that looked to address these questions in four fundamental ways:
Innovation Training- We invested in working with SIT (Systematic Inventive Thinking), an Israel based company of thinking trainers who would work directly with fellows. SIT facilitated retreats and training sessions, and provided ongoing support to fellows. Participants were immersed in this process during the ideation and creative phases of Project InCiTE, learning strategies that broadened their capacity to think and innovate as they began to develop ideas for their projects.
Coaches – We brought together a group of seven high level professionals in the field, each of whom brought their own expertise, experience, and perspective to the table. Coaches were assigned to individual Fellows whom they met with regularly, providing multiple support and guiding roles that varied during each phase of the Fellowship. As projects began to develop, coaches worked with cluster groups around common themes that emerged, allowing for their particular expertise to impact fellows they had not worked with in the earlier stages of the Fellowship.
Institutional Sponsors – In addition to the qualifications of each candidate, we took into consideration two equally important factors during the selection process. We understood that for an educator to succeed, they must have buy-in from their institution, and strong support from a professional (Sponsor) within the organization that could act as a champion to advocate for, and help facilitate, the development and implementation of their project.
Peer Relationships – We recognized early on the value of the group to each other, particularly the value of gaining perspectives from others who are committed to teen education and yet come from a significantly different educational or denominational setting. We invested in building these relationships by designing multiple experiences that fostered both personal and professional bonds - particularly during the ten days Fellows spent together in Israel. Project InCiTE provided the opportunity for a group of educators who would have had little if any occasion to spend time with each other, to develop relationships resulting in professional partnerships and personal friendships that have organically formed, having a positive effect on the educational landscapes fellows all participate in. The relationship webs have been formed, and we expect they will continue long after participation in Project InCiTE ends.