Over the weekend, 20 teams from 17 public and private schools from Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, New York and Ohio pitched prototypes to improve the tristate, 16-county Chattanooga region’s transportation and infrastructure at Bridge Innovate Studio.
Students showcased their design thinking projects to business and education leaders from across the US.
Friday and Saturday’s prototype review is a part of a yearlong Bright Spark Student Design Competition—sponsored by Thrive Regional Partnership, Bridge Innovate, Conversant Group and Experience Point. For this competition, students create solutions to address challenges and design the “Transportation of the Future” for the Chattanooga region, said Mary Kim, Bright Spark director.
“Friday and Saturday’s exposition gave students a chance to pitch and receive feedback from business and community leaders representing various disciplines—from architects and engineers to designers and entrepreneurs,” Ms. Kim said.
Elyse Larouere, a designer at the Coca-Cola Company, said the prototype review was a great addition to traditional education.
“Giving young students hands-on experiences with design and innovation allows them to approach situations differently than in a classroom setting,” Ms. Larouere said. “The prototype review made me hopeful for the future they will create.”
Dr. Marni Halvorson with the Hamilton County Department of Education said she enjoyed Friday and Saturday’s review.
“As the Bright Spark prototype review began, the students were quite nervous,” Dr. Halvorson said. “Quickly they realized their ideas were well received, and they seemed glad to receive feedback, even when it meant going back through the development process to refine their design thinking. It was highly gratifying to interact with these bright young learners. We, the older generation, can be encouraged with the capabilities of these kids!”
The Bright Spark Student Design Competition is in its third year. This year’s design competition culminates mid-March.