Innovation & Impact Program

Each year, all EF Academy students complete our signature Innovation & Impact Program in addition to their high school diploma courses. Students have the opportunity to design meaningful, community-driven projects that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Through these projects, students work in multicultural teams to come up with a game-changing solution and build real prototypes in our design or science labs to test ideas—all while being mentored by teachers from the disciplines most able to help ideas become a success.

A recent Innovation & Impact project was by the Biking for a Better Tomorrow team. This group addressed UN Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities by fixing broken and unused bicycles to provide students and faculty with more sustainable forms of transportation.

Explore the Innovation & Impact Program's four phases

1. Global citizen

The Innovation & Impact program is organized into four phases to help guide student learning. In phase 1, students work to identify what it means to be a strong and productive global citizen. Projects in Phase 1 are largely focused on identifying a student’s personal interests and skillsets while also building empathy in order to better understand and define community needs.

2. Global Innovator

In phase 2, students continue working through the design process to ideate and prototype their ideas, moving into the global innovator realm. Students have the opportunity to continue evolving their original projects from Phase 1, or they can choose to refocus their interests with a new project to demonstrate Phase 2 competencies.

3. Global entrepreneur

Phase 3 gives students the opportunity to strengthen and scale their projects, with a focus on what it means to be an effective global entrepreneur. Here, students test their ideas and work to incorporate valuable feedback from outside audiences, thereby refining their ideas to better solve a real-world problem or meet a community need. Phase 3 competencies ask students to start measuring their impact in the real world. Each phase includes ample opportunities for iteration, along with one-on-one coaching from Innovation and Impact faculty members. Students are empowered to move through phases 1, 2, and 3 on individualized timelines. Every year culminates in a Innovation and Impact Symposium for students to share out on their journey, gain valuable feedback to drive their ideas forward, and learn from each other.

4. Capstone

The final phase for Innovation and Impact provides students with opportunities to reflect on and share all of their progress in the program from previous phases. Throughout Capstone, students (1) curate a portfolio of work and competency skills, (2) share their ongoing impact and project purpose connected to an SDG, (3) present their work to an authentic audience, and (4) engage in a showcase of learning to defend both their expertise and innovation developed throughout the program. 

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