By Rabbi Joshua Fenton

At Studio 70, we believe innovation demands seriousness and rigor as much as creativity and a willingness to take risks and fail. In a recent Harvard Business Review article on innovation, Professor Gary Pisano from Harvard wrote, “Creativity can be messy. It needs discipline and management.… A willingness to experiment does not mean working like some third-rate abstract painter who randomly throws paint at a canvas.”

We like to say, “We don’t throw things at the wall to see what sticks. We develop hypotheses and then test them.” While some throwing at the wall happens, and stickiness is the goal, the process is not random nor without rigor and accountability. And the Edah afterschool program, a five day a week program in Berkeley, California, offers us the perfect lab in which to experiment.

In Edah, we pilot and refine specific approaches to learning within our afterschool program. We evaluate them, determining their effectiveness and whether our hypotheses hold true, and continue to iterate in response to the ways our learners engage. Each pilot or experiment happens as a station in Edah’s learning village. The stations are then either integrated in to the core of the curriculum, or they make way for the next experiment.

The following series of articles are devoted to sharing the stories of each of our stations—our successful experiments. Our hope is that others will benefit from our experimentation and innovation and apply these approaches and models broadly. And if you do give one of these approaches a try, let us know. We’d love to collaborate.