August & September 2019: Summer to School Year

September 1, 2019
August & September 2019 Newsletter


XLR8YOUTH: This summer, we launched Hawaiʻi’s first-ever youth incubator and accelerator program! XLR8YOUTH combines the entrepreneurship and investment savvy of Sultan Ventures & XLR8HI with the youth and community-empowering, passion project-work of Education Incubator to support youth in designing solutions to the challenges of today and tomorrow. Our first phase included a 2-week intensive with 14 youth ages 10-18 from all over Oʻahu, where youth explored essential innovation skillsets and mindsets such as design thinking, creative confidence, moonshot thinking, rapid ideation, rapid prototyping, market research, and public presentation. Just as importantly, we explored skillsets and mindsets of being good human beings, practicing self-reflection, meditation on values, team-building, building empathy, expressing gratitude, and cultivating joy daily. The youth are now onto the second phase of the program, where they lead their own research and development efforts for a month before returning to work on their social business model canvases, financial models, and investment pitches for their inventions and innovations. Stay tuned for information on how youth can apply to participate in the first full cohort which will launch in a few months.

Education Incubator

Stanford University Symposium on Purpose

After wrapping up XLR8YOUTH, EI staff joined higher education professors, administrators, and counselors for the Purpose Symposium for Higher Education at Stanford University to help shape the growing purpose learning movement in higher education. Together we explored the science and philosophy of purpose through keynote talks, experiential workshops, and forums. Our Hawaiʻi team included University of Hawaiʻi’s Center for Sustainability Director Krista Hirser and Professor of Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Studies at Kapiʻolani Community College Kealalokahi Losch, as well as Omar Sultan from XLR8HI and cofounder of XLR8YOUTH. Miki was a featured speaker of the symposium, leading several discussions around purposeful project-based learning, and decolonizing social innovation and entrepreneurship. Mahalo to the Project Wayfinder team for organizing and hosting!

Value-Added Product and Brand Identity Project at UH Maui College

What do you get when you combine youth interested in Greenhouse & Food Innovation X Creative Media? A week of food-focused huakaʻi, sustainable agriculture research and immersion, product sampling, design, and prototyping, and a whole lotta Maui-made magic! From July 8-12, EI and XLR8HI teamed up to teach for a week with a team from UH Maui College, helping high school students enrolled in early college courses there to develop and design a value-added food product that could represent their client, the Sustainable Living Institute of Maui’s WaiPono Farm. Students learned about mapping their customer’s journey, understanding their market, and collaborating across disciplines to develop a value-added product and its identity. We also spent a lot of time thinking about our own eating and purchasing habits, and what our passion areas are related to food and design. We had such a great time learning and doing with these students, and were so excited to see their final product packaging and recipes. Congratulations!

Kahana Aloha ʻĀina Project: Hoʻāla Ka Piko

We spent the first week of July supporting our friends and cultural guides in Kahana Valley on Oʻahu, also referred to as Ahupuaʻa O Kahana Valley State Park. We are humbled and honored for the opportunity to support Kahana community programming over the years, this year with a keiki and ʻohana day camp. We explored different regions kai to uka, walking streams and trails, planting kalo and cleaning ʻauwai, collecting information on the natural and cultural history of this special place, listening to kupuna stories, and practicing aloha ʻāina in so many different ways. Here are a few Kahana moments from our friends at ʻŌiwiTV: Kahana Valley Hukilau and Kahana Aloha ʻĀina

EI Book

Purpose Rising

This month, we explored the philosophy, science, and practice of living with/on purpose through the anthology Purpose Rising.   One of our favorite chapters is written by our friend and collaborator Patrick Cook-Deegan, founder of Project Wayfinder.   Patrick shares about his life journey and the development of Project Wayfinder in his chapter, Wayfinding Our Purpose.  Here are a couple of our favorite quotes from his writing:

No amount of money, power, fame, intellect, or technological achievement can deliver purpose as a reward… [P]urpose, possibly the most powerful of all human feelings other than love, can never be bought, sold or handed down. It is always earned through one’s journey through life.

So much of our system values achievement over exploration and competition over cooperation. So it is little wonder that many students leave high school and continue to drive toward external achievement without a sense of self or deeper level of motivation.

EI Events


Join us at XLR8HI for these two exciting EI events

Talk Story with Pono Shim – September 16, 5:30pm

We have been so blessed to have Uncle Pono Shim give EI and our youth so much of his time, energy, and teachings since our very beginnings. He is a true believer in the power of community, and a champion for our youth as agents of change and peace-making. Please join EI and XLR8HI to hear from Uncle Pono about how we find ourselves in today’s world increasingly in need of our Aloha Response, and about the Aloha Spirit Law.

Pono Shim is a gifted storyteller who is known for using illustrations to connect with his audiences. Pono believes that the majority of social issues facing individuals, organizations, local, national and international communities are symptoms of deeper problems that can and must be addressed today. In 2009, he took over the leadership of Oahu Economic Development Board, transforming the organization’s culture into the influential leadership hub it is today. Pono considers his exposure to Hawaii leadership philosophies as a child to be the backbone to his ideas, actions and words.

Here are two readings that Uncle Pono often references in his teachings – we encourage you to read them before attending the Talk Story:

  • Mālama by Kenneth Francis Kamakuʻolani Brown, which inspired the work of many including Mālama Hawaiʻi, Hawaiʻi Green Growth, and Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Mālama Honua Voyage.

  • Aloha Spirit Law (§HRS 5-7.5), which Uncle Pono’s father, legendary labor attorney Alvin Shim, helped to bring into being inspired by the teachings of healer and seer Auntie Pilahi Paki.

EI’s Project Wayfinder Teacher Training – September 16 & 17

Join us for a 2-day journey as Hye Jung leads us through an exploration of Project Wayfinder, the innovative purpose education curriculum and framework designed at Stanford’s d.School that incorporates metaphors of wayfinding to help youth unleash their potential and purpose.  During this training, you can expect to connect with a community of purposeful educators in Hawaiʻi, deepen your understanding of Design Thinking and Purpose Learning, and prepare to implement the Wayfinder Toolkit at your school or learning organization. EI is proud to be the Hawaiʻi hub for Project Wayfinder, and excited to share and grow the purpose learning movement in Hawaiʻi with you. To find out more and sign up, please visit  We look forward to seeing you there!

PD is only
a click away!

Are you looking for instructional materials, tools, courses, resources and publications related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals? There are so many resources that are available to you!  Unfamiliar with the SDGs? The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.  The goals provide a common language and framework for social innovators from any country to be able to describe and refine the goals of their work towards collective impact.

Kumu! Take your haumana on virtual field trips through Google Expeditions. Our instructors Miki and Brendan helped to create Hawaiʻi-based official Google Expeditions through a partnership with Google Earth Outreach. Browse through the existing Virtual and Augmented Reality experiences, or create your own with Tour Creator to use in your classes. Better yet, have your students create their own! If you would like to borrow our classroom set of cardboard viewers or a few of our 360 cameras, let us know – we’re happy to help out.

Adam Ruins Everything Show on truTV:

Host and investigative comedian Adam Conover reveals hidden truths behind things you know and love. One of our XLR8YOUTH cohort members shared this show with us, and we truly enjoyed the fresh perspectives shared in the show. We especially love the consistent way the show and host demand that you question your assumptions and perspective – a healthy activity for anyone and everyone. While not all of the episodes are ones that we would find useful for our classroom teaching and learning, and the style of humor is definitely not for everyone, we found ones like Why Buy One, Give One Companies Don’t Help Anyone especially interesting for our youth in questioning their assumptions and goals for their inventions during their design thinking and innovation with aloha processes.

Workshop and
Conference Opportunities

September 14:  2nd grade teachers who want to learn more about how other teachers have incorporated lessons on climate change, ocean acidification, and sea level into their teaching should register today for this limited capacity workshop.  The NOAA-hosted workshop is based on lessons from New Zealand teachers who have created material specific to the Pacific Islands on those topics. Workshop will be held 9a-3p at the University of Hawaiʻi, Pacific Ocean Science & Technology (POST) Building room 126.

September 19-20: Join digital learning education professionals, educators, and administrators to network with experts and collaborate on solving the challenges facing online higher education today at the Online Learning Consortium’s OLC Collaborate event at UH Maui College. Get the chance to hear from regional experts regarding current and emerging trends in online learning, collaborate and network with your peers during group discussions on top-of-mind challenges that may impact the future of online, blended, and digital learning – and your career.


I am more than what I give myself credit for

Spotlight: Geralynne Empowers Herself with Entrepreneurship

When Geralynne, an incoming first-year student of the University of Hawaii, was in high school, she felt like she didn’t fully connect with her peers. They were open to listening to her ideas and struggles but something was missing. Then a friend encouraged her to apply to XLR8YOUTH, a program created by Education Incubator and XLR8HI that empowers youth with the mindsets and skillsets of innovation and entrepreneurship. She hadn’t been involved in programs with either organization before, but being surrounded by people who were hungry to build something innovative, Geralynne felt she found a community. Not only that, she felt invigorated to start working on her own personal projects.

Held from July 15-26, the 2-week intensive phase of XLR8YOUTH Summer 2019 gave Geralynne the opportunity to brainstorm with group mates, work on individual projects, make a stop motion video, learn more about the processes of entrepreneurship like market research and financial literacy, and conduct R&D interviews with people like President and Executive Director of the Junior Achievement of Hawaii, Nate Gyotoku, a major contributor to the sector that Geralynne is hoping to influence.

“I not only found XLR8YOUTH enjoyable, but I found it challenging, enlightening and empowering,” said Geralynne. “Something I will never forget was realizing that I am the only obstacle to my growth.”

Geralynne says she learned this valuable lesson through one of the innovation activities of XLR8YOUTH.  During the activity, group members worked together to generate a solution to a challenge. When Geralynne suggested an idea, she immediately back-pedaled  saying it was stupid. A facilitator heard her and said “This is why we don’t have innovators.” In that moment Geralynne realized that she had a habit of downplaying herself and her ideas, a habit she is on her way to breaking.

“I am more than what I give myself credit for,” she said.

Geralynne has always been passionate about learning. She loves how knowledge can help her accomplish goals. Because of this passion, she is constantly looking to learn and wants to help others utilize knowledge. This is why she’s working to start her own podcast that addresses topics people may be afraid to talk or learn about including mental health, self-development, pressures of college and more.

“I am passionate about creating an environment that changes mindsets that allow for free, non-judgmental learning,” said Geralynne. “As we get older, people tend to stop learning because they are scared of looking stupid…nothing should stop a person from learning the things they need to pursue their goals, especially one’s own mind and self-talk.”