The goal of Big Idea Week is to teach young people in public schools that big, important businesses are started by people who see a problem that needs solving.
By focusing on young students, the idea is to get grade schoolers thinking in terms of solutions, not feasibility or practicality. It’s nurturing that spark of entrepreneurship, rather than worrying about the details. This year, Big Idea Week took place in ten schools, including Brooklyn elementary schools, P.S. 307, in Vinegar Hill (just southwest of Dumbo, by the Navy Yard) and P.S. 054, in Bed-Stuy.
"There's a ton of untapped teaching potential in the tech community."
Some of the visions for products that students pitched in Vinegar Hill included:
- Fly Guard: tiny flying robots that could watch over your home.
- Micro Vocalizer: a phone-sized translator.
- Piggy Clock: an alarm clock that pays kids to get out of bed in the morning.
- KIDZdaGRAM: Instagram just for kids.
Forty volunteer mentors turned out at schools over the course of the week to help students think in terms of creative solutions, culminating in pitch events at the week’s end. Volunteers came from big names in technology, such as Facebook, Etsy, General Assembly, Huge, Pensa, Biolite and Maker’s Row.
“There’s a ton of untapped teaching potential in the tech community” said Alex Rappaport, the creator of Big Idea Week and a cofounder of Flocabulary. “When it comes down to it, we’re all stakeholders in the education of students in our community.”
Rappaport created the program in collaboration with the Dumbo Business Improvement District. Funding this year was provided by Con Edison.