Ideas and Possibilities

Providing examples of possible experiments can prove both helpful and constrictive.  Indeed, the ideas mentioned below are meant to spark the imagination, not limit it.  Proposed experiments might fit within this architecture, but we hope to rely on the innovative thinking of our faculty and staff to design experiences, activities, and programs beyond the types we (or others) have imagined to date.  Some possible examples of proposals might include:

Social Innovation Labs:
Social Innovation Labs are problem-based, community-embedded transdisciplinary learning experiences, designed in most cases over the course of multiple semesters and involving students and faculty from multiple schools and departments. As dynamic, problem-solving experiments rather than typical content-driven classes, students (graduate/professional, undergraduate, mixed) and faculty would work together in SI Labs to:

  • Wrestle with and design activities around a particular wicked problem

  • Become well-informed of the current research surrounding the problem from multiple angles

  • Develop strategic, deep partnerships with a community that is affected by the problem

  • Design and test strategies for intervention and impact, with partners across sectors

Social Venture Incubator:
A social venture incubator might provide students with academic credit, professional services, and/or potential access to seed funding to develop social enterprises with a safety net intact. For some students, this might comprise a portion of their coursework. Other students may be involved in an incubator on a co-curricular basis.

Academic Programs:
Possibilities include the creation of a certificate program, concentration, portfolio, minor, major or graduate program focused on social innovation generally or on a particular wicked problem.  In keeping with the characteristics of BAY-SIC activities, all academic program proposals should involve multiple schools and departments and rely on partnerships across sectors.

Research Initiatives:
Possibilities include collaborative efforts across fields, and in partnership with multiple stakeholders, to develop innovative approaches to the promotion of human flourishing. 

Fellowship Programs:
Some institutions have developed cohort programs for undergraduate students, graduate/professional students, or post-graduate fellows to work collectively across disciplines on a particular problem.  Another possibility might involve a cohort of faculty, relieved of teaching responsibilities for a short time while working together on innovative approaches to a wicked problem.  

In addition to these ideas, one can learn much from the models provided at other universities.  A list of creative social innovation/social impact initiatives at other universities includes: