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Innovation

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

 

September 27-29: Western Mass Innovation Jam

Kendade Hall, Mount Holyoke Campus

The Western Mass Innovation Jam puts your design thinking strategies to use in developing ideas for potential social impact innovations. Not familiar with design thinking? Our experts will introduce you to the first step in the processgenerating an idea, determining your idea's potential value, and get you started on your journey to turning your idea into reality..

The weekend starts with brainstorming on individual ideas and ends with final pitches for team innovations. Experienced innovators and entrepreneurs will help guide you through the weekend and provide feedback on final pitches. Organized by Mount Holyoke, Smith College and Western New England University. Sponsored by Peoples Bank and Bueno y Sano. *Meals and transportation provided.

Registration Deadline: September 18 by Midnight


Innovative Strategies Workshops: Social Impact

Tuesdays, 6 —7:30 p.m. *Dinner provided at all sessions.

September 24 - Location: CC003
UN Sustainability Development Goals: Problems and Solutions
The UN SDGs are a blueprint to realize a more sustainable future, addressing global problems associated with environmental degradation, prosperity, peace and justice. During this workshop, students will begin to think about these problems and act on creating potential solutions.

October 1 - Location: CC103/104
Social Innovation/Entrepreise/Entrepreneurship: What's the Difference?
Social change can facilitate a world where everyone prospers. During this workshop, students will learn how all of these approaches factor in and will be guide through a case study that explores the merits of a for-profit or non-profit business structure.

October 8 - Location: CC103/104
The Next BIG Thing: Circular Strategies
Rather than a take/make/dispose lifecycle model, circular design refers to the creation of products and services where materials are recovered, regenerated and reused. The circular economy features a continuous reuse/recycle loop that redefines growth and focuses on positive society-wide benefits. This new mindset for business is evolving and worth an estimated $1,000,000,000,000. This workshop will help students explore this innovative strategy by redesigning an everyday product.


Innovative Strategies Speakers Series

Beyond Bitcoin: Blockchain for Social Impact

October 22, 6 —7:30 p.m., CC 205

Meet four women helping to develop the future of decentralized technology. Our panelists will help you understand what blockchain is, explore how the technology is being deployed in various industries to solve social problems and distinguish environmental impacts fact from fiction.

Panelists

Evin McMullen, Founder of Stow Protocol, co-leads the ConsenSys Entertainment practice. She is also a guest lecturer covering topics related to blockchain technology at universities including Harvard, Princeton, UPenn Wharton, Yale, and CUNY. Prior to ConsenSys, she was a Director of Product Marketing at Berkshire Hathaway, managing public-facing brand experiences for Warren Buffett’s multi-billion dollar portfolio of companies. She has also advised senior leadership in consumer-facing tech strategy for numerous clients including Nike, Procter & Gamble, Harvard Medical School, BMW, GE and the United Nations. She earned a BA in Anthropology of Information Systems from Yale University.

Dr. Johnna Powell, Strategic Advisory & Venture Architecture Practice Lead at ConsenSys

Hassani Turner '06 (moderator), is a Software Product Manager at American Express. She is responsible for translating business objectives into a product roadmap - breaking down business features into technical user stories and acceptance criteria while applying new trends and competitive best practices into the execution of each product. Hassani's love for innovation, data analytics and consumer behavior grew while she was a brand and marketing strategist for Translation, a marketing agency owned by Jay Z.  She worked on the McDonald's and Bing accounts and created an algorithm which showed the positive impact of celebrity partnerships on established brands. Hassani has a degree in economics and government from Smith and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Lexi Wangler is an Associate at Wachsman, the largest PR and experiential marketing firm in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. She specializes in branding, marketing and public relations for start-ups and companies working towards a consumer application of blockchain technology. Her list of clients includes Blockparty, Emaar, eToro, Techstars, YouNow and more. Before her pivot to tech, she worked as a literary agent and operations manager in New York. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree from The New School.