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Empowering the Next Generation of Fearless Innovators: Krishna Chaitanya Rao Kathala with Project Invent, a San Francisco-based organization.

Empowering the Next Generation of Fearless Innovators
Photo Courtesy: Project Invent

On March 7, 2024, Krishna Chaitanya Rao Kathala, a researcher at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was invited as a keynote speaker at Project Invent, a San Francisco-based organization dedicated to empowering students with the 21st-century skills needed to succeed individually and impact globally through invention. Joining Krishna on the stage were Dr. Alex Bertuccio, a professor, and Vicky Vo, a designer from Adobe.

Project Invent’s mission is to create a generation of fearless, compassionate problem-solvers. In this technology-driven world, where information is abundant but navigating the right resources can be challenging, the organization believes that the best thing to do is to seek the right mentorship and feedback. As the next generation of innovators, the students attending the event were

Krishna, a seasoned researcher in AI, Data Science and Analytics, shared his insights from his journey, the power of feedback, and the impact of innovation. With a background that includes working in the innovation ecosystem with the Government of Telangana, India, and over five international patents, Krishna’s expertise and passion for empowering the next generation of inventors shone through.

During his keynote, Krishna delved into the importance of feedback as a growth tool, not just as advice but as a roadmap for improvement and innovation. He spoke about overcoming the fear of making mistakes, a common challenge faced by students, and the transformative power of shifting perspectives on problem-solving and math.

Research has shown that feedback is a crucial component of the learning process, as it helps individuals identify areas for improvement and deve eager to learn from Krishna Chaitanya Rao Kathala’s experiences.

lop effective strategies for growth (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). A study conducted by the researchers showed that students who received regular feedback on their work demonstrated significantly higher academic achievement compared to those who did not (Darling-Hammond et al., 2020). Krishna’s emphasis on the importance of feedback aligned with these findings, highlighting its potential to empower students and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

Krishna’s personal story of a chili-shopping mishap, and how it served as a learning experience, resonated with the audience. He then shared his idea pitching journey, where he went from repeated failures to success through strategic feedback, highlighting the three magic questions that helped him improve: “What could I have done better?”, “What common mistakes do students make?”, and “What did I miss asking you?”

Research suggests that the ability to receive and act on feedback is a critical skill for innovation (Edmondson, 1999). A study published in the Journal of Management found that teams that actively sought feedback and implemented changes accordingly were more likely to develop successful innovative products (Kluger & DeNisi, 1996). Krishna’s emphasis on the power of feedback in his own journey as an inventor and innovator underscored the practical significance of this research.

Moreover, Krishna’s approach to problem-solving and math education aligned with the growing body of research on the importance of visual learning and shifting perspectives. Studies have shown that visual representations, such as diagrams and illustrations, can enhance understanding and problem-solving skills in STEM subjects (Ainsworth, 2006). Krishna’s insights on the transformative power of this approach resonated with the educators and students in attendance, who were eager to apply these strategies in their own classrooms and learning experiences.

Empowering the Next Generation of Fearless Innovators (2)
Photo Courtesy: Project Invent
Photo Caption: Krishna’s Keynote at Project Invent

By sharing his own experiences and the importance of embracing feedback, Krishna aimed to inspire the students and educators in attendance to become fearless, compassionate problem-solvers, empowered to navigate the dynamic landscape of innovation and invention. His message aligned with the growing body of research on the critical role of feedback, visual learning, and a growth mindset in fostering innovation and success.

As the keynote concluded, the audience left with a renewed sense of purpose and a deeper understanding of the power of feedback and the transformative potential of embracing a growth mindset. Project Invent’s mission to create a generation of fearless, compassionate problem-solvers found a powerful advocate in Krishna, whose journey and insights will undoubtedly continue to inspire and empower the next generation of innovators.


Ainsworth, S. (2006). DeFT: A conceptual framework for considering learning with multiple representations. Learning and instruction, 16(3), 183-198.

Darling-Hammond, L., Flook, L., Cook-Harvey, C., Barron, B., & Osher, D. (2020). Implications for educational practice of the science of learning and development. Applied Developmental Science, 24(2), 97-140.

Edmondson, A. (1999). Psychological Safety and Learning Behavior in Work Teams. Administrative Science Quarterly.

Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The Power of Feedback. Review of Educational Research.

Kluger, A. N., & DeNisi, A. (1996). The effects of feedback interventions on performance: a historical review, a meta-analysis, and a preliminary feedback intervention theory. Psychological bulletin, 119(2), 254


Published by: Khy Talara

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