From Cara's Desk

Future-Sensing Our Way to Deeper Impact

By May 28, 2020 No Comments

When KID Museum celebrated its fifth year since opening its doors last October, it marked a turning point. We were no longer an unknown organization. As the region’s pioneering educational makerspace, we had become known for providing high-quality, hands-on, and engaging experiential learning programs and experiences.

From the very beginning, we’ve been focused on the future. We have seen how fast new innovations emerge that shift our everyday lives in profound ways, and we’re confident that our work at KID Museum is fundamental to the future of education and the economic growth of our region. We’re not only preparing our kids to compete for opportunities today, but empowering them to invent solutions for tomorrow.

With excitement for what was ahead, we assembled the expertise necessary to help us chart a path forward. Our braintrust was comprised of members of our board and advisors, all leaders across industries, including education management, finance, philanthropy, and technology that formed an ad hoc growth strategy committee. At the same time, we were selected by Compass to work with a superbly talented team of management consultants, market analysts, and organizational development experts. Taken together, these groups have helped us lean into a superpower we’ve never needed more than we do now: future-sensing.

Future-sensing, as I see it, is the ability to look far ahead into the unknown and envision new possibilities. It is what pushes us in our capacity to imagine, to invent, and innovate. When we started our engagement with the Compass team six months ago, we were curious about how we would deliver our learning experiences in new formats in the years to come. We have this incredible team to thank for helping us get ready for the future we didn’t know would arrive so soon with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Here are three big ideas that emerged from our partnership that are already showing up in our work:

1. Bringing learning to the learner: While we see real value in learning that happens in-person, we will continue to find innovative ways to reach kids and youth where they are. Right now this looks like expanding our virtual learning programs delivered directly to homes through Make it! Live.

2. Every educator a maker: Teachers will be critical partners in bringing maker and invention education to scale. We will do our part by supporting school leaders and district partners in delivering teacher professional development opportunities grounded in maker approaches.

3. Rapid prototyping and piloting: In a world where the only thing that’s certain is uncertainty, success depends on the ability to embrace ambiguity. We designed, tested, and rolled out our virtual learning within two weeks, and have allowed kid and parent feedback to help us improve with each week. This is the way of the future.

It’s a challenging and exciting time. Future-sensing has helped us anticipate the ways that we will need to keep reinventing our programs to meet the needs of our community. Building on the early success of our virtual programming pilot in the spring, we are now scaling our distance learning programs in the form of Make it! Summer Camp and a Make it! Outdoors curated email series. Through direct offerings to families and partners, we plan to serve thousands of kids in our community, and flatten the curve on learning loss. This isn’t a short-term campaign in response to any singular world event. This is our long-term commitment. We hope you will partner with us to invent the future for the education that our kids deserve.

Thank you to our Growth Strategy Committee and Compass for their hard work and help as we continue to focus on the future.

Growth Strategy Committee

David Goldberg
Alyse Graham
Erik Heyer
Cori Lathan
Brian Taff
Lee Manfred
Alejandro Yepes

Compass Team

Jeff Kass
Shruti Shah
Christopher Allen
Jami Axelrod
Willie Halsted
Barbara Kafka
Nick Vonutter
Steve Wong