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2nd Annual Innovation Lab

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Twenty-two Georgetown students participated in the second annual intensive Innovation Lab weekend, September 26-28, 2014. In this fully immersive, experiential learning setting, students were tasked with developing innovative solutions to tackle today’s most pressing global social and economic issues.

On Friday evening the students gathered in the McDonough School of Business to define the development challenges they wanted to address. They then formed teams around proposed problem statements and spent Saturday and Sunday morning ideating solutions, creating business plans, and developing minimum viable products.

To get their creative juices flowing, students also went to battle against their fellow innovators – with Lego. Georgetown hosted DEILAB, a social innovation firm based in Washington D.C., to lead the teams in creative design challenges to teach the six components of innovation by ideating and iterating DEIbots capable of “knocking out” an opponent. DEILAB knows that a lot of people are told to innovate without being taught how to innovate, so they brought their innovation definition and their innovation process to the Georgetown campus.

On Sunday afternoon, teams pitched their social innovations to a panel of judges that included professional entrepreneurs, angel investors, and venture capitalists. The first place team addressed the issue of transportation safety for women in densely populated urban areas. They developed the social enterprise Miss~Ride, a mini taxi company operated by and for women in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Other projects included an anti-microbial blanket to decrease infant mortality, a new technology to sequester carbon and enhance soil usage and output, an app to increase efficiency in rural to urban mini-bus transport, and a platform to fund microfinance organizations and the entrepreneurs they support.

Professors Melissa Bradley (MSB) and Holly Wise (SFS/GHD), with Ladan Manteghi (Global Social Enterprise Initiative), facilitated the lab and guided teams throughout the weekend. Teams also had the opportunity for personal mentoring from marketing, social enterprise, and innovation experts during key stages of their design process.