Educational Initiatives

Any educational class project, curriculum or institutional level program or tool that furthers the practice of design education or education about design.

2014 Judging Location

Providence, USA

Winner Broadcast

June 20 @ 10:00 am ET


See the Educational Initiatives C7712DA Winners

Charlie Cannon
Jury Captain
RISD // Associate Professor of Industrial Design & EPIC Decade // Chief Design Officer

In 1999, Charlie co-founded the Innovation Studio at RISD. Since then, students have proposed new roles for design in reducing carbon emissions; reshaping sustainable agriculture; promoting economic development and leveraging ecological regeneration. Their results are frequently published and exhibited—most notably, Partly Sunny: Designs to Change the Forecast, commissioned by the City of Denver for the Democratic National Convention. They have also helped launch longer-term research such as the One River Project, funded by the NEA and the Rhode Island Economic Policy Council; a five-year collaboration with Earth University; and RISD’s role in a National Science Foundation grant. The teaching methods Charlie developed in the studio have been profiled in Ken Bain’s award winning What the Best College Teachers Do.

Damian Ewens
Achievery // CEO

Damian is the CEO of Achievery, a global platform for recognizing and verifying new and emerging skills, standards and credentials. He holds a Master of Arts in Education (Mathematics) from Stanford University, taught grades 6-12 in some of the most innovative schools in the country and most recently ran The Hub–the high school initiative of the Providence After School Alliance. Damian lives in Rhode Island with his wife, Stephanie Alvarez Ewens, and their two daughters.


Adrienne Gagnon
DownCity Design // Founder and Executive Director

Adrienne co-founded DownCity Design in 2009 to help people design and build solutions for their communities. Hundreds of youths have since participated in DCD programs, using the tools of design to create small-scale civic interventions that pack a big punch. Adrienne was recently awarded the 2013 Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship for her plan to dramatically expand access to design education for Rhode Island students and teachers. Prior to taking on the role of Executive Director for DownCity Design, Adrienne served as the Education Director for Providence CityArts for Youth. She has also worked as a curator of contemporary art for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the UC Berkeley Art Museum, and was the director of a gallery exhibiting the work of local emerging artists in San Francisco. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and received her MA in Art and Design Education from Rhode Island School of Design.

DownCity Design

Mickey Ackerman
Business Innovation Factory // Chief Design Strategist

Mickey is an internationally recognized design leader who has spent decades teaching designers how to define problems clearly and then solve those problems through multidisciplinary teamwork. For 15 years as the head of RISD’s Industrial Design department, Mickey established a portfolio of sponsored projects and created real-world design solutions for industry leaders such as Intel, Rubbermaid, Frigidaire and General Mills. He also established strategic partnerships with the Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan School of Management, NASA and Boston’s Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology, among many others. An educator at heart, Mickey is passionate about student centered learning and serves on the Board of Directors for the Yestermorrow Design/Build School in VT and the Green School in Bali, Indonesia.

Business Innovation Factory