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  • Bryant IDEA 2021 Design Challenges by Cohort

    “How Might We Elevate Empathy, Social Connection, & Community in a Covid World?”

    The Bryant University Innovation and Design Experience for All (IDEA) Program will celebrate its 9th year this January. From January 26th through 29th, 820 first-year students will learn and practice valuable innovation, team-building, and problem-solving skills.

    We will be coming together remotely in late January 2021 to focus on the theme ‘Elevate Empathy.’ Students will work in teams to solve the overall design challenge question of, “How might we elevate empathy, social connection, and/or community in a COVID world?”

    This year, each student team will focus on promoting empathy, social connection, and/or community within a particular context (healthcare, education, business, etc.) with a focus on a certain group of people impacted by the pandemic. Some examples include:

    • Front Line Doctors & Nurses: How might we support the health and well-being of front line Covid doctors and nurses experiencing high levels of stress and social isolation from family and friends?
    • Isolated Patients & Seniors: How might we combat loneliness and feelings of isolation for hospitalized patients and seniors in nursing homes who are not allowed visitors?
    • Individuals with Mental Health Vulnerabilities: How might we increase support and treatment for individuals experiencing heightened anxiety, depression, and/or stress due to the pandemic?
    • Isolated Inmates: How might we promote social connection and a sense of purpose for inmates during Covid?
    • Police, Fire, & Rescue Workers: How might we develop ways for police, fire, and rescue workers to deepen their connections with local community members and organizations?
    • Families Unable to Gather for Celebrations: How might we reimagine family celebrations, rituals, and gatherings so that families can feel connected but stay safe during the pandemic?
    • Parents Working while Homeschooling Children: How might we help parents who are trying to balance their remote work responsibilities with homeschooling their children?
    • Recent College Graduates: How might we help recent graduates secure employment and/or advance their career aspirations in a Covid/post-Covid economy?
    On behalf of the Brant University IDEA Program, I would like to invite you to participate in the ‘Field Research Interview’ portion of our program. During this remote session over Zoom, you would be interviewed by a class of 20 Bryant University students about your experiences.

    If you are available on Tuesday, January 26th from 4:00pm-5:30pm (EST) for a virtual interview and conversation with a group of 20 Bryant University students and several other stakeholders in your respective field, please email Mikayla Locke, IDEA Leadership Team, at mlocke1@bryant.edu.

    Thank you for considering this opportunity to assist Bryant University students with their innovation work during the IDEA Program. Your engagement provides students with a meaningful perspective on how the pandemic is affecting real people and their families. We are excited to see how your stories will inspire them to make a difference and be truly innovative as they design creative solutions during this year's program.


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