TRANSFORMING SECONDARY EDUCATION IN NEW YORK CITY AND BEYOND
In September 2015, the Emerson Collective called on the nation to reimagine the future of high school through its XQ Super School Project. The ambitious initiative challenged teams to envision new education models that foster a combination of IQ (intellectual intelligence), EQ (emotional intelligence), and XQ—a special combination of “agile and flexible intelligence” needed for success in a rapidly changing world. To meet this call to action, UKA Ventures—a nonprofit designed to incubate projects focused on improving education for low income students in the US—assembled a diverse team of New York City educational institutions including KIPP NYC College Prep, Uncommon Schools, Riverdale Country School, and Transcend Education. Openbox joined forces with the UKA team to design the vision and strategy for a transformative secondary education model.
Together, the UKA team and Openbox constructed a powerful concept called “NXU,” an innovative lab school and a scalable education platform inspired by the Latin word for connections, nexus. This work was informed by a highly qualitative and participatory approach to research that focused on understanding the needs of NYC high schoolers, while also drawing inspiration from teachers, parents and cross section of leading education experts from around the country.
Openbox designers worked closely with a complex group of client stakeholders to produce a robust set of 21 deliverables touching on strategy, experience, service, and brand identity. Key deliverables included: a series of short videos describing the needs of 21st century students; a written competition proposal; student profiles and journeys, a course catalog; a conceptual prototype of a student learning platform; a photo series depicting key brand touchpoints; and a partnership ecosystem diagram.
With Openbox, the UKA Ventures team established the programmatic, cultural, and organizational building blocks for a lab school and platform designed to transform secondary education in NYC and beyond. This collaboration, and the resulting multimedia submission has served as the strategic and creative foundation for NXU programming as it evolves toward development and implementation.