Outside the classroom | Eastman Innovation Lab

Outside the classroom

Education Collaboration Design

"SHiFT was created for explorers, builders and leaders in order to reignite the playful nature of creativity and foster instinctive design thinking and practices."

Owen Foster, Co-Founder - SHiFT Design Camp

"SHiFT is about connecting people and building relationships within the design community. We do this through unique context-based activities that revolve around exploring the world we live in. We believe in the power of collaboration with people from all cultures and creative backgrounds to fuel the desire to create change."

John McCabe, Co-Founder - SHiFT Design Camp

"It is always a pleasure for Eastman to work with these young pre-professionals at SHiFT camp. Helping them launch into careers of significance to our business is not only investing in our own future but also the future of markets, families and communities beyond our vision. In return, the students fuel us with insights and inspiration."

Bryan Shackelford, Material Design Rep - EIL

SHiFTING Design Education

Today, people are living behind the screen. Our observations of the world are becoming reduced to digital data points that are intuitively solving problems or telling us what to do next. Design education is not much different. Research and prototyping are often done in a hypothetical sense enabled by digital technologies. SHiFT design camp is creating a new model of education. Established on the notion that education is not founded in a book (or google) – SHiFT gets people to unplug and immerse themselves in a collaborative learning environment based on experiences. Its founders believe that these experiences, when coupled with the vast information at our fingertips, will create a new knowledge economy of design leaders that will have the power to change the world for the better.


SHiFT Design Camp

It all started at grad school in Auburn, Alabama. Foster and McCabe would take their design students camping when they began to realize that the world was changing. Students weren’t gathering experiences anymore. They were having a hard time turning data into knowledge. Having those firesides with the students sparked the passion that Foster and McCabe have for design education. While their careers are founded in traditional teaching practices, SHiFT allows them to give the students experiences, paving the way for the next wave of design leadership.


Fostering Possibilities

The Eastman Innovation Lab (EIL) is a big supporter of design education. Our mission is to help students understand why materials matter. Too often, today’s students are designing with a limited knowledge of the materials that their ideas will be manufactured with. The more goods that are created abroad can create an even larger gap. The EIL sponsors the SHiFT design camp not to promote Eastman materials, but to promote a way of thinking about making; balancing data with experiences, leading one to push the boundaries of what’s possible.


The process of thought

SHiFT is a process of thought, designed to facilitate its participant’s ability to gather data and then collaborate on a challenge based on instinctive thinking. There are no right or wrong answers at SHiFT. Each day brings a new challenge. After the morning lecture series, teams break out to think through how to solve the problem. They gather supplies and get to work. By the end ofthe day, they present their solutions to the group. Every group takes a different path and can learn from each other. If they fail – they fail fast and iterate to come up with another solution.

Traditional teaching practices are founded on the notion that there is one leader and a group of followers. As an educator and mentor,Foster wants to turn that model on its head. “I want the next generation to be better than us,” says Foster. “In the end, we should be measured by how far our students succeed us.” SHiFTers are quickly becoming a community of design leaders that can connect the dots using life experiences balanced with data gathering. Their mission: Learn from others. Teach others. Make something amazing together.