The Nathaniel Rochester Society (NRS), a group that recognizes RIT's most generous supporters, held their summer gala in the Innovation Center earlier this month and had a great time doing it. But somewhere between the live jazz band serenading us throughout the evening and the fleet of servers, who made sure we were snacking at all times on fantailed shrimp and chocolate-covered strawberries, it became quite clear: we aren't simply here for the food and friends, we are here to celebrate RIT's passion for innovation.
Reminding us of this passion were keynote speakers, Dr. Ian Gatley, director of the Innovation Center, President Bill Destler, and award recipients William and Anne Buckingham and Jay and Lauren Judson, all of whom were accompanied by a handful of students, displaying their innovative work throughout the evening. Attendees of the gala caught up with friends, enjoyed top-notch service from RIT's very own hospitality majors, and managed to fit in some mingling with the students who proudly guarded their displays.
[Amidst this highly impressive atmosphere, we had alumni wishing they had never left RIT and non-alum wishing they had given a second thought to their college choices.]
One NRS member, also an RIT alumni from '58, summed up the evening quite well:
"While I may not be in tune with all of the newest gadgets, how they work and affect our lives, it is an event like this that keeps me in tune with the bigger picture
students meet in the new Center for Student Innovation to discuss pedal-power projects. photo by Michael Conti
We don't know if it's the summer weather or what, but a number of pedal-power projects are emerging in and around the Innovation Center. These babies have all kinds of benefits - economic, environmental, health, and social. Check 'em out:
TIGER BIKES is a project currently led by Nevin Byrd. Her vision is to make community bikes available on the RIT campus as a way to get around. That would be so great - especially for getting over to the bookstore which is no longer at the center of campus.
ROCHESTER GREENWAY is a project that aims to increase year-round bike commuting from the city center to RIT. Maybe it's a tunnel. Maybe it's a heated path. We're still trying to figure it out. If you've got ideas, please share.
PEDAL-POWER for DEVELOPING ECONOMIES is a project and exhibit headed by Jesse Harrington that explores how pedal-power can be put to use in base-of-the-pyramid cultures. The outcomes of this project will be part of an exhibit hosted by the Rochester Museum and Science Center.
Want to be a part of these projects or have some pedal-power projects of your own? Get in touch.
This year's Imagine RIT festival was a hoot. Over 25,000 visitors came out to see hundreds of exhibits from the RIT community. And it was the first big event in the new Center for Student Innovation. Gosh, we had over 30 exhibits up in there. Go team!
We premiered our TAGG Imagine RIT project which allowed festival attendees to "TAGG" their favorite exhibits with their cell phones. Over 1200 people used the system and we were quite pleased.
Now we finish out the school year. Finals week is only 10 days away, yikes! But we may have one more surprise before the 2008-09 academic year closes out, so stay tuned.
The RIT campus is buzzing in anticipation of the second annual Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival. Hundreds of exhibits. Tens-of-thousands of visitors. Be sure to swing by the newly opened Innovation Center and check out the exhibits we'll have there from the Simone Center, the Industrial Design graduate studio, the Innovation and Invention course, RIT Honors Program, the MAKE Club, and more. Also, be sure to vote for your favorite exhibits throughout the festival using our TAGG Imagine RIT system -- all you need is a cell phone and an opinion!
Tonight's Innovation Session was the place to be on a snowy spring day. Dr. Ian Gatley, director of the new Center for Student Innovation, led a thoughtful and engaging discussion on all of the cool stuff that we might do there including designing exhibits for the space itself as well as for the local planetarium and sci/tech museum.
Then the industrial design grads shared some concepts they developed for the Innovation Center interior based on the ideas put forward by attendees of previous Innovation Sessions. They heard your ideas, people, and what they showed us was this: 'Think of the Innovation Center as you think of a park -- a place for all kinds of people to gather and have small picnics (team meetings), attend large concerts (or lectures), and get inspired.' The response from the crowd -- over 100 people at one point -- was just fabulous. The ID gang will be incorporating that feedback into their next iteration, for sure, and we look forward to seeing it.
Additionally, some of our tech savvy students shared a few online projects and tools for networking. A new way to search for courses by Greg (e.g., Type in the word "environment" and get a list of courses from several colleges!), a new way to find collaborators for projects with a facebook application by Chris (e.g., I've got a great idea for an e-business but I need a technologist and designer!), and a networking tool for Imagine RIT by Eric and Lauren (e.g., Are you a venture capitalist looking for new projects? TAGG your faves with your mobile phone!).
After musing on all of the different ways that people might find each other -- face to face and online -- we returned to the projects that we could do in the Innovation Center. Students passed the mike around and shared some fantastic ideas. And lucky them because shortly thereafter Dr. Gatley announced a mini-grant program for innovation projects. Yep, that's right. Got an innovative project that needs a little seed money? We'll be putting out a formal call for proposals some time in the next few weeks. So get scribbling and keep your eyes out for that.
One of the benefits of hosting an Innovation Session called "Take Great Product Photos" is that people actually bring the products they are working on. Last night we had everything from hi-tech camera equipment to hand-crafted lavender soap, from gorgeous glass bowls to craft furniture, from metal jewelry to a sausage making machine.
Yep, you got it right. Sausage. For real.
Photo tech student Eric Kerby did a fantastic job leading us through simple and effective techniques on lighting and composition for product shots. Then he shared the magic of flickr - an online photo sharing site that is a fast and easy way to show someone your work. Amazing skills these RIT students have!
A few things coming up real soon.
- The Story of Stuff. Thursday 5 FEB from 2 to 4pm, TLT Studio (bldg 5, rm A400). Our group is hosting and interactive viewing of this short film as part of RIT's Global Warming teach-in. If you want to learn some basics about the environmental and social impact of mass production, come to this viewing.
- How to Make Money from Your Great Idea. Wednesday 11 FEB from 4 to 6pm in the Idea Factory. Finance student Tim Wallenhorst will guide us through the process of turning ideas into money making machines.
- Innovation courses - open to all! That's right, no pre-reqs for these babies cuz we heart diversity. Do you want to learn creative techniques for problem solving, sign up for Design Thinking. Want to read about and experiment with social media, sign up forSocial Networks in Action. Want to play all day in a mad-tinkerers lab, Innovation and Invention is for you!
As always, your feedback is key. Is there a workshop that you'd love to attend but just can't find? Suggest a topic and we can make it happen (or tell you if it's already happening). Get in touch by leaving a comment here or in our facebook group.
We don't know what they feed those kids over there in Print Media, but they got it going ON! Lauren, Naim, and Katie did a fantastic job designing and then facilitating their workshop on poster design. First they told us all about color, type, image, layout and even cooler stuff like "considering your audience" and they backed up each point with visual examples. Bingo.
Then we learned by doing. Students, faculty, and staff from across RIT got into groups to take on their assignments (L, N, and K had it all planned out). There was discussion and sketching with markers for about an hour. At the end, we hung about a dozen poster designs on the wall. Naim then led us through a discussion on what we made as he pointed out the highlights of each poster. Good times.
Coming up next week, a green design challenge. 3D freshman and ID grads will lead us through a workshop on designing-for-a-second-function. We'll turn used water bottles into fancy "new" drinking vessels. Then we'll test our designs and prizes will be given!
Come on out. No previous experience necessary but please DO bring some empty plastic bottles. Workshop is on Wed, January 28 from 6 to 8pm. Be there!
Need an Innovation Course for Spring? We got 'em right HERE.
2008 is old news, and 2009 is taking the stage. That means a whole new year of fascinating projects and cool ideas is ahead!
We had our first meeting of the new year on Tuesday, and the crowd has spoken: we [heart] local businesses and the kids are all right. Jim Coler, CEO of the local business Coler Natural Insulation, took the stage first and helped us become natural-insulation experts. Now we know that insulating a home is all about the whole package (from air flow to moisture control), not just stuffing the walls with pink stuff. Even cooler (pun intended) are the materials that can outdo fiberglass these days: foam from soybean oil, recycled denim, and flattened recycled plastic.
After Jim's presentation, we heard from Laura Mandanas, editor-in-chief of RIT's Reporter magazine. Listen up, useful masses! The Reporter wants YOU to write an issue. The wiki is live, so get writing. Laura spoke to a focus group about the publication's newest initiative: the crowdsourcing issue. As always, the ready-and-willing audience sparked a discussion, this time a debate about new and traditional forms of journalism and the dangers and blessings of letting anyone contribute.
Week 6 Session: How to Design a Killer Poster
Are you tired of making posters that nobody looks at? There are plenty of posters on campus, but which ones do you look at and why? Come learn from the experts how to make a message that grabs people's attention. Print Media students Lauren Courtney, Naim Hakim, and Katie McCooey will bring their design savvy to the forefront at our next innovation session, Thursday, January 22nd from 4 to 6 PM and lead a workshop on typography and layout for poster design. This is your chance to learn how to really convey your message. Don't miss it!
Today's Question: Will collaborative, online media render traditional newspapers obsolete?
Last night's Innovation Session in the Idea Factory was really perfect. We all paired up and brainstormed on wishes for the new year (some pictured above). Then used our mobile phones to tag and upload our favorite wishes in to a flickr photo pool. We think this way of creating collective knowledge pools has mucho potential for all kinds of applications.
After that activity, Jason Sauers shared a prototype of a table he is working on. The still pictures below don't give it justice but for those who have ever wrestled with adjusting a drafting table or work bench, you gotta see this thing move -- Super slick! And because Jason's prototype was so well developed, it sparked a lot of fantastic conversation.
Then Dan Lampie told us his tale of trying to set up a wind turbine last year and all of the hurdles he had to go through to implement the thing. Barriers to innovation! We agreed that a lot of us run into similar barriers when we work. And so we vowed to keep these conversations going, to keep comparing notes, and to see what we can do about improving the environment to support innovative work.
We'll be starting up again in the new year with a lot of good stuff. But for now, take a break, enjoy some down time, get refreshed, and come back ready to roll.