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How to create a cross-campus student innovation council

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What it is:

An Innovation council is a body of people basically, like minded and innovative. Initially, students show interest in joining the council thinking of creating real things out of their ideas. This may be possible when people come together and discsuss about the same idea they have. Cross campus Student Innovation Council is one such body which enables the people to gather and realize a common idea. The council creates interest in the members' peers to join and meet other people in the community with same idea, so that they can learn and earn at the same time.

Contents

How to start one:

A Council, obviously consists of people. So, to create a council you just need to gather the right people and also the reasons to gather them. Initiation of an Innovation Council pretty much costs nothing. All that matters the most is people who stays with the council. Firstly, you need to talk to the existing student bodies in your campus about the need to create a new council. Then, you need a support team which helps you to run the council. 

Reason to Bring People Together:

For a council, Innovation Council in specific needs people working on Ideas. Innovation is all about making new changes that interests most people. Students should be brought together to talk on their ideas so that others who likes it may collaborate and work on the same. Main reason behind gathering the people is to ensure the running of ideas. Students should be made to believe that they could learn new ways to implement their ideas effectively through the council.

Recruiting:

Students who show interest in collaboration and innovation can be chosen. Generally, Club heads and leaders from around the campus would be the people you look for. They probaly would be pre-occupied in their projects and other councils. Seek help from professors and friends to find the right people for your council. Some students doesn't show up at the time of meeting but seem interested in joining the council. Council heads motivate those students to be in the council and work on their ideas. Choosing the right people might seem hard at first due to lack of enough communication  between the Innovation council heads and students. So, requesting the club heads to talk to their people about the council could solve issues with communication. Council heads could make use of a Sign in sheet so people can be able to communicate with each other.

Resources Needed:

For creating an Innovation Council, it requires people and their work. Time and a Place to gather people around, are major resources needed for the council. Small club rooms or conference rooms in the campus can be used to meet people. Apart from these, A white board, marker pens, Sticky notes and some food is all that you may want for the council meetings. Most of the work be the communication, talking to people on social networks, mails and keeping the council running with people and thier ideas.

Fun Activity:

People finds it interesting when they are entertained and involved in fun activities. It helps to build personal connections and work on their ideas together for better results. Playing small games, singing, anything that involve the people can be done to ensure they show up in upcoming meetings. Students need to find something special in the council to spend their time for meeting the people. 

What an innovation council can accomplish:

Developing an innovation council on your campus can attribute to many new developments for the campus as a whole. It can unite people to a common cause, bring new insights to people across the campus, allow various majors and disciplines to connect and understand one another, and provide events that may not have existed without the council. Not only that, the council can allow students to unlock their entrepreneurial spirits and collaborate with fellow students in order to accomplish change for their school and their community.

Uniting students:

Students, when they enter college, tend to find themselves entering social cliches, spreading out to various clubs, or keeping to themselves because nothing in particular peaks their interest. Students also tend to find it difficult to relate to and connect with people outside of their major. This could be attributed to having a lot of classes under a particular major, or from students believing that those in other majors wouldn't be able to understand them or have an appreciation for their focus. However, none of that matters with an innovation council. The purpose is not to find specific majors to bring into the organization, but to reach out to all students and bring in their ideas.

It doesn't matter if a student is an English major, a business major, an engineer, or even an artist. Everyone has ideas on how their lives can be improved and how they can improve the world around them. There is no such thing as a bad idea, and the more ideas you have at your disposal, the more the innovation club can accomplish. Involving everyone and seeing what types of ideas everyone has on how they can improve their school or the community allows people to see others who have similar ideas and beliefs. This allows students to then be able to connect with those they may not have thought they would have otherwise and strive for a goal.


New perspectives:

An innovation council is capable of bringing in a large number of students from various backgrounds and having them connect with each other. Normally, students in specific majors tend to socialize and connect more with those solely in their major. It's just easier to get along with someone who has similar ideas. However, an innovation council is capable of uniting people to a single objective, bringing in people from various backgrounds into the team. These people are then able to share their ideas and specialized knowledge to contribute to the objective they seek to complete. In this manner, engineers can understand more of a business perspective and vice versa. Having people from various backgrounds brings new ideas and new perspectives to the council as a whole.


Planning events for students:

An innovation council is made to bring new ideas to the school and to serve students and other organizations on the campus. Sometimes, more than one club could be holding an event of the same type on campus (ie. resume building). As such the innovation council could work together with those clubs to bring together one large workshop for students rather than having numerous individual workshops scattered across the campus on various days. This brings more students together and creates a more efficient network for the school.

Events made specifically to benefit the student body can also be planned by the innovation council. At the Florida Institute of Technology, for instance, the council there organized a partnership with an industry to bring professional engineers to the campus to talk with students in an event called "speed mentoring." This event is similar to speed dating in the way that students are given time to sit down with as many engineers as they would like to talk to and learn more about career options and what working in industry is like.


Encouraging innovation among students:

The entire purpose of an innovation council is to spur students to develop innovative skills and collaborate with peers to accomplish specific goals. This is accomplished by first getting students together and generating ideas among them. From these ideas, students are able to pick the ones they like the most and feel could have the greatest impact and work with other members to flesh out the idea. Students also are able to learn various things from the backgrounds of other members of their team and see what it is like to be able to make something happen.

Challenges after getting started:

Setting up the council is just the beginning of encouraging students towards innovation. There is long way to go, to make it successful. After the council gets started it is the responsibility of organizers to keeping the council running. There will be major challenges to be faced and many battles to be fought. These challenges need to be addressed, as they present the danger of getting the council shut down.

Keeping Students Involved:

Keeping students involved in innovation council is major challenge which needs immediate attention of organizers. Keeping them interested and involved in council work is always challenging. If students are not involved, they lose their interests in the innovation council which will ultimately result in failure of your council.  

Keeping the ideas running:

This proves to be challenging, as after a period of brainstorming people tend to deviate from the topic on hand. Keeping the ideas creative and innovative and at the same time correct execution of approved ideas is very hard to keep up. This becomes extremely difficult in course of time. 

People will leave naturally:

The enthusiasm at the beginning wanes out in due course. Students lose the motivation and spirits to keep going at hard times. This leaves the council in very tough spot. It is in such situation the council is in the grave danger of shutting down.

Communicating with members:

Communication between the members is very important for effective working of council. As it is a cross campus innovation council, students of different majors and varied interests are involved in this innovation council but there is no common platform for communication between them other than the council. This can severely affect the council’s progress. It is major problem because communication becomes difficult between the members of council as they belong to different majors and have varied interests. 



How to run an innovation council:

There is no correct way to run the council as, it doesn't need any rules and instructions and the basic theme is to gather all the like minded people who are creative, innovative. Innovation council is a platform for students of all the majors to get together to solve various problems in their majors and also to innovate new thinking in the people.

Schedulings:

All the counil members attend the meeting, which is scheduled once in a month and share thier problems and new innovative ideas with their team mates. Its also run through tutorials for design thinking.  


Assigning a lead:

One member of the team is assigned as leader. He/She takes the whole responsibility of organizing the council, scheduling the meetings, contacting the group members, sharing the work etc. Leader needs to be engaged with the peers and welcome the new students who are intrested and the council and motivate other students about the innovative thinking.

Hearing out members:

As every stream contains some problems and all the problems cant be solved at once, selecting a particular problem to be solved and working on it is a better way.  All the team members are given equal chances to speak out their problem and at the end the major problem is selcted. It is worked out evenly involving all the members of the team and also taking guidance from the organizations. 

Written By:

Ryan Borneman

Poushya Munipalle

Sowmya Narukullapati

Venkata Sasank Pamulapati

Naveen Kumar Salipalli

Naga Venkata Rama Srikanth Yadavalli

Related Links:

[Vasireddy Venkatadri Institute of Technology]

[Arizona State University]