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Salt Lake City, UT
Early Childhood Innovation Lab
Immerse. Unite. Solve.


June 4th - 9th, 2018


University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, Utah


The Early Childhood Innovation Lab (ECIL) is a collaboration between the National Head Start Association (NHSA), the Sorenson Impact Center, and the David Eccles School of Business (DESB). The Early Childhood Innovation Lab is a one-week, on-site executive lab that aims to educate, explore, and disseminate innovative practices for early childhood education service providers. 



The Early Childhood Innovation Lab (ECIL) represents a unique opportunity for intensive skill building and collaboration with leading experts and practitioners in the Early Childhood Space. We understand that there are major contextual barriers to innovation in Early Childhood Education, particularly given the complex funding and regulatory environments in which it exists. Taking this complexity into account, we have customized a context-specific curriculum tailored to Early Childhood Education. We’ve curated and developed high quality learning materials and have assembled an impressive roster of ECE thought leaders and innovators who are uniquely positioned to bolster our efforts. 

Designed for:

  • Early Childhood Funders
  • School Administrators
  • Government Early Childhood Leadership/ Agency Representatives
  • Elected Officials
  • Community Champions for Early Education


What you will experience/objectives

You may be asking, what am I going to get out of this? In short, a great deal. The core objectives of the Early Childhood Innovation Lab and their corresponding activities/deliverables include: 

Familiarization with the core competencies necessary for innovation (e.g., idea generation, data and impact measurement, pitch delivery/messaging, negotiations, budgeting, philanthropic landscape)

Why it’s important: In order to convert innovative ideas into launched projects in the Early Childhood Education context, leaders must be able to identify the need on a granular level, generate a solution, build a coalition of stakeholders in support of that solution, and ultimately implement and sustain that solution. 

Exposure to several live case studies of innovation in the Education space

Why it’s important: Learning from others' successes and failures can provide powerful guidance to leaders in Early Childhood Education. Understanding the journey of successful social entrepreneurs and innovators is an essential step to becoming one. 

Opportunities to network with other Early Childhood Professionals

Why it’s important: It helps to know that you aren’t alone on this journey. Others will be carrying out their own innovations, and all will benefit from the existence of a robust and ongoing community of support. From this group, we hope you will glean wisdom and derive innovative energy! You will be part of a curated cohort and the Innovation Fellows network is growing. 

Access to renowned experts in Early Childhood Education as well as strategy and innovation

Why it’s important: As you complete the curriculum (and corresponding capstone project), you’ll receive guidance and support from experts in the fields relevant to your work. You’ll receive feedback through multiple prisms and will be able to internalize and iterate based on that feedback. You will have a national support group to lean on.

Completion of a capstone project that incorporates the week’s learnings into an actionable plan unique to your community context

Why it’s important: By the end of the week, you’ll have a concrete deliverable to present to your organization and community, something that can serve as a starting point to a high-impact effort in Early Childhood Education. 


Interested in learning more?

View the Sorenson Impact Center's full page on the Lab