Innovation Fellowships

Innovation Fellowships

We’re excited to announce the 2022 inaugural cohort of innovation fellowships at ITHAKA on the JSTOR Labs team. In this post, I’ll describe a bit about how we work, what Fellows can expect to learn and do, and who should apply.

JSTOR Labs seeks to explore the future of research and teaching, one project at a time. Working with partner publishers, libraries and labs, we aim to expand access to knowledge by creating tools for researchers, teachers and students that are immediately useful – and a little bit magical. The “tools … that are immediately useful” bit is key! We’ve modeled our processes on lean startup and design thinking. Design thinking is a human-centered approach to creatively and systematically solving problems with solutions optimized for desirability, feasibility, and viability. In the lean startup approach, forward progress comes through a “build, measure, learn” loop, with less focus on forecasting and planning than businesses and products have traditionally been given.

In years gone by, we went through a heck of a lot of stickies. Given pandemics and increasingly distributed workforces, we’ve mostly packed away the stickies and adapted to using tools like Mural, Miro, Trello and EasyRetro instead to collaborate.

For more detail, Alex Humphreys, the Director of JSTOR Labs, has written a great summary post about our process. We’ve applied these methods to dozens of projects and prototypes. Now, we are eager to share these skills and experiences with the next generation of innovators.

We’re hiring a small cohort of four Innovation Fellows  to help develop this next generation of innovators working to expand access to education. Starting July 5, the Fellows will have three weeks of full-time instruction. Some of it will be a bit classroom-like, but a lot of it will be supervised solo and group exercises in topics like application prototyping, user research, business modeling, and structured brainstorming. For the last three weeks of the fellowships, after the instruction, the Fellows will be up-to-speed on these methods, and we’ll work together to apply them to some of the challenges ITHAKA faces.

You might be a good candidate if you’re passionate about ITHAKA’s mission to expand access to quality education, you’re looking to launch a career in the startup and/or non-profit world, or just want to use innovative methods to make the world a better place. Your background might be in psychology, design, library science, business, computer science, one of the humanities disciplines, or perhaps interdisciplinary - through the course of the fellowship, you’ll learn at least a few things from each of those disciplines.
You might have studied at a coding bootcamp, a community college, or a 4-year university, or maybe you started your own business instead. Successful cross-disciplinary teams are often composed of “broken tooth comb” versatilists, and that’s what we’re looking for.  

Applications have now closed, but we hope to have another cohort of innovation fellows in Summer 2023.