Priorities:University of Tulsa Faculty Project

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Project Name: “Where 2 Go Innovate” maps for colleges

Project by Faculty Innovation Fellows Candidate Charles Wood

Why is this project important to you, your department, & your Fellows?

This project will help make students aware of the best I&E resources in their local communities through a UIF student-created Map of their city. Each I&E resource will be described on the Map alongside other UIF-recommended destinations & will detail how and where students can begin innovating!

Description

Students are natural innovators but often don’t know where to begin! The Where 2 Go Innovate Maps provide insider tips from their university’s UIF students, revealing the best I&E resources in their local city and how to begin innovating. The local Makerspaces, Co-working spaces, Incubators, Startup advisory groups, Entrepreneurship workshops, ... will be identified and described on the Map alongside hidden treasures and recent startups in their local community to encourage students of all majors to explore their city and get involved with the local innovation ecosystem. “Starting points” will be highlighted to help student innovators tour Makerspaces and co-working spaces, and go to free I&E workshops and regular networking events such as One Million Cups. The old-school fold up travel map format will be used and designed to fit in students’ back pockets easily. An electronic version of the map may be easier to access and use, we will see how the prototype phase goes!

The Where 2 Go Innovate Maps serve as a type of gift from a school’s University Innovation Fellows to their fellow students, to help them enjoy their time in the community and develop their innovative mindset.

Stakeholders served

  1. College students - especially Freshmen and Sophomores
  2. I&E-related organizations and resources in the local community, including recent startup firms
  3. Local businesses in their community (locally owned restaurants and retailers) and nonprofits (particularly I&E support organizations)

Key Milestones

  • December 2020: Prototype map of Tulsa updated, finalized, and 50 copies printed. Distribute to a varied sample of current Jr and Sr students and university staff/faculty in January/February 2021.
  • March 2021: Interview students, staff, faculty to obtain feedback and suggestions for the maps between January and March.
  • June 2021: The updates and suggestions received are made to the map and the new version is completed. Get printing quotes and print 500-1000 copies.
  • September 2021: Offer the maps to incoming Freshmen, and Sophomores. Ask them to serve as “study participants” to be interviewed later.
  • December 2021: Interview the Freshmen and Sophomores about their use of the map, and how it might be improved. Make contact with local businesses for advertising interest, and with Fellows at other schools to gauge interest in learning how to make maps of their own.
  • March 2022: Update the map based on changes in businesses, events, attractions, and republish. Consider an electronic or app version.

An Innovation Portfolio

Every university can enjoy the benefits of a project like this, and encourage their students to explore local I&E resources and learn how to develop an innovative mindset. A complete, step-by-step guide with worksheets for how the project can develop will be provided.

For example, gather current and past UIF students and ask where the best _______ is to be found, giving particular focus to I&E-related organizations, workshops, events, services, and resources. Show the list to staff and faculty, who are likely to know more of the “hidden gems” in the community. Start grouping the findings into categories like “I&E Starting Points,” “Coffee Culture,” “Free I&E Workshops,” etc. Then get a map of the city and begin to plot (with a pin or sticker) all the best places. Keep showing the map to locals and get more insights and ideas. When it seems about right, draft it up as a map that can be printed.

So far, this idea has received a strong positive response from everyone from university administration to incoming students. I hope to refine the idea further so other universities can enjoy its benefits.