April 2010

News: Voice of America highlights student innovation teams!

Our March Madness for the Mind teams did a great job showcasing their innovations at the Exploratorium in San Francisco last month. Voice of America was there - read the story!





Grant Budget Pointers


Open 2010: NextBillion interview with Julia Novy-Hildesley

NextBillion.net spoke to a number of people at Open 2010 last month. Take a read:

Educational experiences as if impact is the intent and scale matters: an interview with Julia Novey-Hildesley, Executive Director of The Lemelson Foundation

Inventors and innovators - aligning with the poor: a look at how student and faculty innovators can effectively develop products to help poor people



Social Entrepreneurship Course Development

Pennsylvania State University, 2009 - $10,000

The Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) program at Penn State is a collaborative program geared towards creating a freer, fairer, friendlier, and more sustainable world. The program focuses on real-world contexts in indigenous communities around the world.

This grant helps to fill a critical gap in the HESE program by developing a course dedicated to business planning for social ventures in the US and abroad. The course covers the fundamental concepts of social entrepreneurship and employs diverse case studies and experiential learning activities to help students develop a deeper understanding of social problems and devise innovative enterprise solutions to address them.

While HESE currently exists as a certificate program, Penn State is exploring the opportunity to expand it into a minor.

Funding a "Dormcubator" at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois - Urbana-champaign, 2009 - $8,000

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, despite many creativity and entrepreneurship activities, lacks a living-learning opportunity for students early in their academic careers.

The Technology Entrepreneur Center and University Housing are collaborating with several other units to found an Innovation LLC to allow creative and innovative students from diverse disciplines across campus to network with like-minded peers and provide 24-hour access to a “garage space” that offers resources to encourage students to turn their ideas into valuable business ventures and help them work thought common problems encountered in the innovation process. Other benefits include interaction between students who otherwise might never have met on campus, mentors who are business leaders and entrepreneurs providing real world advice and business contacts, and a lab space.

Integrating Innovation and Invention into Computer Science Project Courses

Polytechnic University of NYU, 2009 - $11,000

Over the last several years, NYU-POLY has been immersed in an initiative known as I2E: a transformation to integrate innovation, invention, and entrepreneurship into its core focus. Part of I2E was a $2 million grant recently awarded from New York State for construction of the Center for Innovation in Technology and Entertainment, a space focusing on the development new technologies and ventures centered around digital media.

Given the steps achieved thus far in the I2E initiative, NYU-POLY is making further curriculum changes in its Computer Science department. First, changes will be made to its Senior Design project course, a capstone project course, which will include categorizing material into three areas: (a) creativity exercises, (b) problem identification and needs analysis, and (c) talks from invited inventors and entrepreneurs. These changes will be in parallel with the piloting of “Inventor’s Studio,” a new interdisciplinary project experience where students can further develop their ideas in digital media.

Developing a Professional Certificate Program in Innovation and Sustainability at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, 2009 - $8,000

This grant supports a collaboration between the School of the Arts and the College of Engineering & Applied Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to develop a cross-disciplinary certificate program in innovation and sustainability.

The plan is for the certificate program to be taught by engineering and arts faculty, based on the formation of E-Teams throughout a four-course sequence. Courses will focus on creativity and design processes, innovation and sustainable design, product realization, innovation and commercialization.

The Global Innovation for Village Entrepreneurship (GIVE) Capstone

Arizona State University at the Polytechnic Campus, 2009 - $30,000

Faculty from the GlobalResolve program at ASU is developing a capstone courses and a certificate for Global Innovation for Village Entrepreneurship (GIVE) with the express purpose of creating solutions to village problems in developing countries and then building businesses around the solutions. The capstone courses are:

1) Global Impact Entrepreneurship: Introduction to global poverty, entrepreneurship and village appraisal;

2) Village Immersion: Travel to and assessment of needs of a developing village using GlobalResolve partners to identify the village and arrange for local help. The goal is to talk to the villagers and experience what poverty looks like, feels like and the specific needs of the villagers and to mentor the village in venture startup.

3) Solution Development: Creating a sustainable technological business solution for a village. This course will bring together the theory from course 1 and the experience from the field trips in course 2 into a set of products developed for a village in order to create village-based sustainable business ventures.

The capstone is also participating in the Acara Institute’s Challenge program, with multiple partners for global impact.

The University of Minnesota Acara Summer Institute for High Impact Businesses

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, 2009 - $20,500

2010 is the first year of the Acara Summer Institute, a two-month, intensive incubation for selected teams from the Acara Challenge. Institute attendees are students from ten US and eight Indian universities who will be selected as winning teams from the Challenge. The goal of the institute is to develop and nurture startup social ventures via an end-to-end facilitation, starting with providing course materials, the competition (Challenge), mentoring and financial support. Teams travel to India, then spend the rest of the summer in residence at the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, attending lectures and other training and working with mentors to launch their business.

This grant aids in developing, assessing and refining the content of the Acara Summer Institute; establishing processes that incorporate networks of mentors, funders and supporting companies in a structured fashion; and developing a plan for long-term institutional sustainability of the institute. In 2010, the institute aims to incubate at least two businesses.

Development of an Undergraduate Minor Specialization in Sustainable Global Health Design

University of Michigan, 2009 - $41,000

Globalization has increased the need for a socially aware, interdisciplinary workforce with intercultural competence. In order to satisfy both the needs of current employers and socially inclined undergraduate students, this grant is supporting the implementation a Specialization in Sustainable Global Health Design (GDH). Building on the new minor in multidisciplinary design infrastructure within the University of Michigan College of Engineering, the GDH Specialization will provide interdisciplinary undergraduate engineering students with an intense two-semester design course featuring project scoping, co-creation with the community it intends to serve, technology introduction, and re-design.

Students will have an opportunity to design and prototype sustainable products that address a significant health needs while simultaneously assessing social venture potential in the communities they are trying to serve.