GCC 3005/5005

Innovation for Changemakers: 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 develop effective and sustainable responses to current social and environmental problems. You'll learn about tools, mindsets, and skills that will help you 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 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.

A primary focus of the course is how 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.

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. The course will be primarily “flipped” so that students will have time to work on their projects in class. Students enrolled in GCC 3005 will work in interdisciplinary teams on problems identified by community mentors, students in GCC 5005 can propose a problem to work on individually or choose to work in teams.

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.