Meg Walbaum, Director for Strategic Partnerships
The innovation minor enables students from across all of RIT's colleges to develop the necessary skills, knowledge, and experiences to become innovators in areas of interest related to their individual academic and professional goals. The core of the minor helps students to define innovation; understand past and current trends in innovation, as well as the processes and practical considerations for innovating; and gain experience at innovating through project-based, interdisciplinary experiential learning and collaborative activities. Students customize the minor by taking innovation elective courses that explore an area of personal and/or professional interest within the boundaries of the larger minor. The minor is inter-disciplinary in its approach and fosters multi-college collaboration as it allows students to select discipline-specific courses, sourced from across the university, as their innovation elective courses.
Innovation of some type occurs in all fields and disciplines. This course, which helps students develop an innovative mind set, discusses the nature of innovation, including what innovation is, the goals and objectives of innovation, how innovation happens, and reasons that innovations succeed or fail. Case studies in a variety of disciplines are explored to further understanding of innovation. (This class is restricted to undergraduate students with at least 2nd year standing.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
The Practice of Innovation and Invention
This course comprehensively examines how innovation translates new ideas or inventions into practical use in the form of products, markets or services, concepts or systems. The practice of innovation requires understanding different innovation paradigms; the role of creativity, discovery and invention; entrepreneurialism as an implementation strategy; intellectual property issues; team building and collaboration; and experience. Selected case studies and exemplary problems are explored to illustrate the principles and to acquire the skills of innovation. (Prerequisite: CMDS-211 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
This course builds on the skills and knowledge gained in CMDS-211 Exploring Innovation and CMDS-411 The Practice of Innovation and Invention. In the course students engage as members of an interdisciplinary project team exploring a complex, non-trivial problem for which an innovation in science, technology, design, business, artistic expression, etc., could be significant for working toward a resolution of the problem. Problems may be proposed by students or by faculty mentors, or derived from external sources. After selecting a problem, each team works throughout the semester designing a solution, culminating in a formal written report and oral presentation at the conclusion of the project. (Prerequisite: CMDS-411 or equivalent course.) Lec/Lab 4 (Fall, Spring).
Choose two of the following:
Literature and Technology
Surveying the rise of computing technologies, information theories, and information economies in the last century, this course considers their impact on literature, culture and knowledge-formation. In particular, we will reflect on topics such as the relations between social and technological transformation, literary print and digital cultures and electronic literature. (Prerequisites: Completion of First Year Writing (FYW) requirement is required prior to enrolling in this class.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
Free & Open Source Culture
This course charts the development of the free culture movement by examining the changing relationship between authorship and cultural production based on a variety of factors: law, culture, commerce and technology. In particular, we will examine the rise of the concept of the individual author during the last three centuries. Using a variety of historical and theoretical readings, we will note how law and commerce have come to shape the prevailing cultural norms surrounding authorship, while also examining lesser known models of collaborative and distributed authoring practices. This background will inform our study of the rapid social transformations wrought by media technologies in last two centuries, culminating with the challenges and opportunities brought forth by digital media, mobile communications and networked computing. Students will learn about the role of software in highlighting changing authorship practices, facilitating new business and economic models and providing a foundation for conceiving of open source, open access, participatory, peer-to-peer and Free (as in speech, not beer) cultures. (Prerequisites: Completion of First Year Writing (FYW) requirement is required prior to enrolling in this class.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
Innovation & Invention
In this course, students explore the process and products of innovation and invention. Each semester a multi-disciplinary team of students conceives and develops a different outside the box project. Readings, projects, scholarly term papers, and pragmatic challenges of collaboration and communication across disciplines provides direct experience of the interplay of technology, human nature, and a human environment in which emerging technologies and new modes of interaction are pervasive and ubiquitous. Artists, natural scientists, social scientists, and technologists are guided through a series of collaborative experiences inventing, designing, implementing and studying emerging technologies. Presentations, projects and individually-written research papers are required. The faculty staff and resources of the Center for Student Innovation are significant assets for this course. (This class is restricted to undergraduate students with at least 3rd year standing.) Lec/Lab 3 (Fall, Spring).
Design Thinking and Concept Development
Design thinking is a process that aids collaboration among designers, technologists, and business professionals. The process provides a structured creative process for discovering and developing products, services, and systems for profit and non-profit applications. Students will apply a wide range of design tools in a hands-on project. Topics include problem-framing, end-user research, visualization, methods for creative idea generation, and prototyping. (This class is restricted to undergraduate students with at least 3rd year standing.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
This course will expose students to approaching and working on wicked problems - unstructured, multidisciplinary issues lacking clear right or wrong answers. The course will introduce key skills for handling unstructured problems such as whole systems thinking, estimation and assumptions, valuation, and problem solving techniques, with the majority of the semester focused on a specific topic (wicked problem) and team case study. Students will work in teams to research and address one aspect or subset of the wicked problem at hand to join collectively with the results of all teams to form a more complete overall solution to the wicked problem. (This class is restricted to undergraduate students with at least 3rd year standing.) Lecture 4 (Fall, Spring).
Creative Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
An interdisciplinary approach to the generation and evaluation of ideas and solutions. Includes analysis of the conditions limiting creativity and the development of a toolkit of strategies and techniques for discovering, inventing and assessing new, unique and useful ideas, applications and solutions. Applicable to a range of life and work situations, from complex environmental concerns to competitive business challenges to family disputes. Lecture 3 (Spring, Summer).