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Two students at a business competition


The Conway Center supports the Smith community in the development of new ideas. We aim to create an environment that encourages innovation by teaching skills, providing tools and experiential learning activities that will help you develop new and creative solutions to pressing problems.

Develop Skills

Through curricular and co-curricular initiatives, students delve into a range of subjects and develop specific skills such as leadership, resiliency, self-reflection, selling, managing people and communication.

Work Together

We partner with academic and other departments on campus, as well as visiting experts, to infuse entrepreneurial practices and perspectives throughout the college.

Test Ideas

We offer opportunities for the Smith community to generate, share, test and refine their ideas through a variety of activities, including competitions, challenges, pitch contests, business model workshops, start-a-thon and trade shows.

Innovative Strategies Special Events

September 8: Open House and Ice Cream Social

2—4 p.m., Conway Center (146 Elm Street)

Meet the faculty and staff of the center, learn about student involvement opportunities, and pick up workshop and course schedules while enjoying a scoop of Herrell’s ice cream. Quest: Breakfast Edition winners will be annouced.


September 20: House Sustainability Challenge Launch

12:10—1 p.m., CC003

Learn about the new House Sustainability Challenge sponsored by the Conway Center and the Office of Sustainability and how you can get involved. Lunch provided.


September 23: World Maker Faire (New York)

10 a.m.—6 p.m.,  New York Science Museum

The Conway Center and the Design Thinking Initiative will take the first 40 people (Smith students, faculty and staff) who sign up to attend the annual World Maker Faire held in NYC.

Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new, Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. All of these “makers” come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and to share what they have learned.

Tickets and bus have been arranged to accommodate 40 students, faculty and staff, on first come first served basis. To reserve your space, please RSVP to the event. Students must also bring $20 deposit to the Conway Center, 146 Elm Street.


October 18: Conway Center Dedication

Open House

3:30p.m., 146 Elm Street

Elizabeth Miller '81 Lecture

5 p.m., Campus Center Carroll Room

Diane Hessan, founder of Salient Ventures and chairman of C-Space, is a successful entrepreneur, researcher and author. She is currently working on a variety of projects in the Boston tech ecosystem and in the political realm, and is also an active angel investor. Diane has received the Pinnacle Award and the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Most Admired CEO Award and Boston Power 50 awards from the Boston Business Journal, and a range of Best Boss citations. In 2014, she was inducted into the Boston Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs and she received the Asper Award for Global Entrepreneurship from Brandeis. She earned her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and her B.A. in Economics from Tufts University. Reception to follow.

October 20-22: 3Day Startup

Valley Venture Mentors (Springfield, MA)

3DS facilitates a 72 hour intensive experience that takes students from idea through early customer discovery to developing an early-stage investor pitch. A professional facilitator (EIR) from 3DS leads the weekend event. The structure of the weekend is based on many elements of Lean Launchpad. Sponsored by Mount Holyoke, Smith College, and Western New England University. Registration fee and transportation (to VVM offices in Springfield) provided for Smith students by the Conway Center. All Smith students who register (below) are guarantee a spot.

SIGN UP HERE (required)


November 6: Design for Change with Jenn Maer '93, Design Director at IDEO

5—6:30 p.m., CC103/104

Jenn will present a case study of IDEO's engagement with The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. She will also workshop IDEO's approach to creating positive impact through design for pressing problems identified by students. Dinner provided.

SIGN UP HERE (not required)


November 16: Speaker Series with Rachel Payne '97, Founder and CEO at FEM inc.

12—12:50 p.m., CC205

Rachel will discuss how her Smith education, focus on East Asia and study abroad experience in Japan impacted her subsequent development as a serial tech entrepreneur, technology executive and social change visionary. Cosponsored by East Asian Studies. Lunch provided.

SIGN UP HERE (not required)

February 15: Playgrounds vs Playpens

5—6:30 p.m., Conference Center, Room 102

Dr. Marina Bers of Tufts University will explore the design of new technologies to promote children's positive development. She will present an overview of her interdisciplinary research program by using the metaphor of playgrounds vs. playpens to understand the role of technology in children’s lives. She and her team created the free Scratch Jr programming language, which currently has over 9.5 million users, and the Kibo robotic kit, which is currently used in more than 51 countries.  Dr. Bers will discuss her own trajectory and experience as an academic entrepreneur making technologies for children. Dr. Bers is a professor in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences. She is also an adjunct professor in the Computer Science Department and Director of the DevTech Research Group at Tufts University. Dinner provided.

April 20: House Sustainability Challenge Final Presentation

3-4:00 p.m., CC102

The three finalist teams for the inaugural House Sustainability Challenge are: Show Flow Volume Regulators (Comstock), High Tech Sustainable Campus (Chase & Ziskind) and Drying Rack Program (Capen & Morrow). Each team has 15 minutes to present and answer questions from a panel of judges. The winning team receives a $1,000 cash prize for their house and the opportunity to work with the co-sponsors to implement their project in all 35 campus houses, with the goal of providing sustainability programing that is for students, by students, and creates real cultural and operational change.