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The Henry Ford Model I
Innovation Powered by Perspective.
To unleash everyone’s potential to innovate, The Henry Ford has developed Model I, a unique learning framework based on artifacts and stories in The Henry Ford Archive of American Innovation. This remarkable collection provides unprecedented insight into the way people innovate across 300 years of American history.
For over 90 years, our curators and historians have studied its content, curating stories of American ingenuity, resourcefulness and innovation which continue to evolve with today’s breakthroughs. It is this experience combined with our decade-long focus on innovation education that provides the expertise behind Model I. The framework consists of two frames: Actions of Innovation and Habits of an Innovator. Together, we use them as a language to describe Innovation Journeys within our collection — and activate learners through their own innovation journeys.
Lean into Learning
We support educators by meeting a critical need — by sharing a universal language for the teaching and learning of innovation that can be applied at every stage of the talent pipeline.
This FREE facilitator guide (Grades 3-12) is your first step. The Model i Primer introduces the actions and habits of innovators, real-life stories and learn-by-doing activities that ignite your students’ innovative minds.
Once you’ve conquered the Model i Primer, you’re ready to go deep with our curated curriculum from our historical expertise. These four interactive online courses inspire Middle School students on their own innovation journeys with dynamic videos, digital artifacts and interviews with visionaries.
Innovation is messy and there’s no one formula, but when we set out to pursue a new idea or solve a new problem, we can learn and act in ways that increase our chances of success. For would-be innovators, this set of guideposts helps to point the way forward.
UNCOVER Connect with user to identify need, develop insight and gain perspective.
DEFINE Use new perspective to provide scope and clarity to the problem.
DESIGN Brainstorm solutions and create a prototype for testing that solution.
OPTIMIZE Use feedback to improve the design through iteration.
IMPLEMENT Take prototype to market, seek new insight and re-enter cycle.
Habits of an Innovator
Developing our mindset — the way we see, think and interact with something — turns out to be especially useful for staying motivated and inspired to explore new ideas and overcome challenges.
CHALLENGE THE RULES Turn "can’t" into "can do." Dare to be different.
TAKE RISKS Think BIG. Embrace uncertainty.
BE EMPATHETIC Walk in other people's shoes to understand their needs.
COLLABORATE Share what we know. Respect what others bring.
STAY CURIOUS Learn something new. Ask questions.
LEARN FROM FAILURE Be resilient. Use feedback to make improvements.
An Innovation Journey
On paper, innovation is a step-by-step process. In reality, it rarely happens that way. However the journey unfolds, we make the best progress when our habits and actions work together. Good habits help to unlock the potential that every action creates. Right actions bring purpose and focus to the habits we have.
As you can see, we have set some initial rules of the road; however, feel free to Collaborate with us as we Optimize. We would love for you to Challenge the Rules that we set out. We only ask that you please run your ideas by us first.
Please email us any questions, comments or new ideas.