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Innovation Workshop: What We Do

The River Fund Maine recognizes that youth need more opportunities to see themselves as change-agents and to build community with others who are ready to step into the challenge of leadership in this complex world. TRFM workshops offer students a life-changing experience in creative problem-solving using the acclaimed Design Thinking methodology. Developed by Stanford University, Design Thinking takes a real-life problem and challenges teams of students to develop a solution. During an immersive weekend led by trained facilitators, youth will be challenged to:

  1. Develop interviewing skills when they must talk to people who actually experience the problem in their daily life.  Understand how to really listen to other people with empathy.

  2. Learn how to identify what the “real” problem is.  Differentiate between the root cause of an issue and the surrounding contributing factors.

  3.  Work as a team to brainstorm solutions.  Understand effective communication techniques when working with others to arrive at a consensus.

  4. Create a workable solution.  Understand how an iterative approach encourages thoughtful experimentation.  Experience how an open mind to the thoughts and ideas of others can improve a result.  Develop skills in how to forge agreement on a single solution from many points of view.

  5. Create an effective presentation of the team’s solution and present it to a panel of industry experts.

The theme of the Fall 2021 River Fund Maine Innovation Workshop is “Arts & Culture.” Experiencing and engaging in art can look like creating something and can also look like inquiry, reflection, and expression. In this twelve hour sprint, we will explore the multiple identities, systems, and visions of the Bethel area, and apply the design thinking method to see how art and culture help us understand and express our place in the world, and understand differing perspectives and points of view. 

In-Person Workshop: November 6, 2021 9AM-9PM
Application Deadline: October 29, 2021 9PM EST

Students will be provided with current protocols at the time of the workshop. The River Fund Maine will update guidance to coincide with information provided by the State of Maine. All planning will include the minimization of contact, and social distancing standards will be adhered to per State and local guidelines. The River Fund Maine has the right to require the following information be provided prior to Workshop Entry: 

  • Proof of Vaccination

  • COVID-19 Testing Results 

  • Contact Tracing Information (Name, Phone Number, Email)

Innovation Workshop: Programs


 Fall 2021 River Fund Youth Innovation Challenge: 
arts & culture design that values civic engagement

 2021 River Fund Youth Innovation Challenge: 

community design that values wellness for all

2019 River Fund Youth Innovation Challenge:  

hospitality design that improves the guest experience