GCC 3005/5005

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Innovation for the Public Good: Design for a Disrupted World

Do you want to make a difference? We live at the intersection of COVID-19, racism, economic recession, and environmental collapse. Now is the time to make an impact.

In this project-based course, you will work in interdisciplinary teams. You'll develop entrepreneurial responses to current social and environmental problems. You'll develop tools, mindsets, and skills to address any complex grand challenge. Your project may address food insecurity, unemployment, housing, environmental impacts, equity, or other issues. Proposed designs for how you might have a social impact can take many forms (student group, program intervention with an existing organization, public policy strategy, or for-profit or non-profit venture) but must have ideas for how to be financially sustainable. 

Community members, locally and globally, will serve as mentors and research consultants to teams. Weekly speakers will share their innovative efforts to serve the common good.

A primary focus of the course is up-front work to identify the “right” problem to solve. You will use a discovery process, design thinking, and input from field research to addressing the challenge you choose. You will build a model around the community’s culture, needs, and wants.

After the class, there is an opportunity to compete for funding through the Acara program. By the end of the class, you will have a well-designed plan to turn your project into an actionable solution if that is of interest.


What Students are Saying

“I was humbled that I didn’t have all the answers in the world. But I also gained confidence by learning how other people had started their own businesses. This class has given me confidence to know I can do it.”

Course Details

Meeting Time: Fall 2020, Tuesdays from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Location: East Bank 

Liberal Education Theme: Global Perspectives

Topics: Environment, health and development, venture design

Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Must be a junior, senior, or graduate student

Professors: Megan VoorheesAndrea DavilaRob Gradoville, and Tony Loyd