And That’s a Wrap! Inaugural Leaders Innovation Lab Cohort Comes to a Close


By Christina Neiva de Figueiredo

The Leaders Innovation Lab (LIL) was among the core programs launched at CITY this fall. The Lab united 13 student leaders from across Yale to explore and foster innovative leadership. Every Monday, for six weeks, the students met in CITY’s incubator for a two-hour case-based workshop led by myself and Haywood Perry III (M.Div. '19). Energized by a delicious New Haven meal and an ‘Innovation Station’ warm-up, they jumped into the session. The first three sessions focused on the development of the individuals with topics like “Leading with Strengths” and “Managing People and Structuring your Organization.” The latter three sessions focused on internalizing the innovation process with topics ranging from “Seeking Inspiration and Dreaming BIG” to “Building Risk-Taking.

The leaders hailed from Yale College, The Yale School of Public Health, Yale Divinity School, The Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Yale School of Management. They lead organizations ranging from the Graduate Society of Women Engineers to the Yale Cluster Technicians (a student group in charge of maintaining 1,000+ machines around campus) to AISEC (an organization that aims to develop the leaders of tomorrow through international cultural exchange) to the Yale Political Union (a position that requires coordinating the interests of the eight student political parties) to TEDxYale and many more.

Each student brought different insights and challenges from her or his organization. Together, through thoughtful dialogue, team challenges, and engaging innovation ice-breakers, they leveraged their strengths and addressed these challenges.                          

The students said it best themselves:

"The Leaders Innovation Lab was more than I bargained for. Throughout the program, we talked in-depth about the traits that govern leadership and innovation inside and outside of our organizations. This was not unexpected. What I was pleasantly surprised by was how our LIL cohort also had at length discussions about how and why each trait lent itself to innovation and leadership. The Leaders Innovation Lab’s combination of discussion and application (through challenges and activities) served to make the lessons I learned from my cohort and facilitators resonate with me." --Mallet YC‘18

"I really appreciated the opportunity the LIL provided for a diverse set of campus leaders to unite in a common effort to learn and generate innovative strategies to improve our groups. Personally, I enjoyed participating in such a unique group and working outside my comfort zone, and I believe I learned a number of solid strategies I look forward to taking back and implementing in GradSWE." --Allie YGS‘20

"I think the cohort was an amazing opportunity to meet like-minded people on campus who have faced similar practical situations in their organizations, and who have converging interests in innovation and management. Covering different, practical topics every week and in a dynamic way made the Lab a fun and light moment in my day." --Davi YGS‘20

"The Leadership Innovation Lab provided a unique peer environment to learn about what it means to incorporate design innovation into my everyday life, whether in a personal or professional setting. --Kazimir YDS ‘19

The Lab will launch again for its second iteration next fall.