Applications Close on Thursday January 13th
We are challenging students to seek human centered solutions that utilize technology to make a positive impact on local and global communities. We ask that students from across disciplines put ethics at the center of innovation and ideate for the greater good. This challenge is sponsored by WPI's Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center, In collaboration with WPI's Humanities & Arts Department.
This five day virtual event will encompass a team matching networking event, mentoring hours and skill building workshops leading into the challenge submission followed by a winner announcement virtual celebration.
NOTE: You do not need a team to apply. Our intro session held on Thursday January 13th will include a speed networking activity to assist in building or adding to your team*. Team size can range from 2-4 students.
There will be two tracks to the Social Innovation Challenge - choose the one that best matches your interest:
1. Future of work: How can workers gain knowledge and learn the skills needed to access jobs in the new economy? How do automation and digitization impact income inequality? How can workers from all backgrounds benefit from technological innovations in the world of work? Technological solutions may address, but are not limited to, the following areas: Human robot teams; meaning of work; digital workplaces; education technology; algorithmic accountability; skills training.
2. Environmental Sustainability: How can people create and consume goods that are renewable, repairable, reusable and recyclable? How can communities sustainably protect, manage and restore their local ecosystems? How can the transportation sector impact sustainability? Technological solutions may address, but are not limited too, the following areas: Water, Energy, Food & Agriculture, Transportation and Ecosystems.
A general note: As you work together in your teams, you may realize that various ideas can only come to a certain degree of completion during our weekend long competition. If you have a physical prototype by the end, that’s great! If not, but you have a great concept with research and planning to back it, that’s completely fair game! Just flesh your idea out as much as possible within the time constraints, we don’t expect your renovation of a building to physically happen overnight. Graphical mockups, writing, software demos, and CAD designs can all be helpful in communicating the value of an innovation.
Applications Open: Monday, December 13h
Applications Close: Thursday, January 13th
First Place: $1,000 in Goat Bucks
Second Place: $750 in Goat Bucks
Third Place: $500 in Goat Bucks
Innovation Challenge Workshop Schedule:
Day 1: Thursday, January 13th
- 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Introduction to challenge & Team Matching Speed Networking Event - Virtual Event
Curtis Abel - Executive Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Brief overview of the challenge, review of the judging criteria and Q&A.
Opportunity for students who do not have a team to participate in a speed networking activity to be matched with students that have common interests and compatibilities (Optional).
Day 2: Friday, January 14th
- 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Design for Evil - Virtual Event
- Jennifer deWinter, Director, Art and Design, Professor of Rhetoric
- Gillian Smith, Director, Interactive Media & Game Development, Associate Professor of Computer Science
- Design thinking has been touted as the panacea of innovation, guiding people through rapid, customer/problem defined needs and bringing rapid iterative prototyping to bear on development. But not all design is good. In fact, sometimes it’s downright evil. We see this in popular media all the time with speculative fiction and science fiction (think Black Mirror). And these types of speculative fiction enable us to see where “evil”, or in less alarming terms, ethically questionable design choices have been made and are enacted. So in this workshop, we will use a piece of technology that exists and design it for evil. Through doing this, we will both engage in a design process, but more importantly, we will engage in a design process that highlights human and ethical concerns. Participants will go through technological identification, problem identification, customer segmentation, ideation, iteration, presentation, and discussion in 1.5 hours. It will be fun to become the supervillain that so many billionaires are.
Day 3: Saturday, January 15th
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Public Interest Technology, What is it? And Why is it important to place ethics at the center of innovation? - Virtual Event
Yunus Dogan Telliel, Assistant Professor- Anthropology & Rhetoric
- With the rise of a general skepticism towards big tech companies, many people have been exploring alternative ways of thinking about technology innovation. Public Interest Technology (PIT) offers a path towards a more just and equitable future of technology. PIT is an emerging field that uses technological expertise in service of the common good, often with a focus on historically-marginalized communities: https://pitcases.org and https://www.newamerica.org/pit/ The growing PIT universe needs engineers, computer scientists, and other technologists who can grasp core ethical, legal, policy, and societal dimensions of technological change, as well as social scientists, humanists, and artists who can guide the design and delivery of technological systems with their understanding of structural injustices and inequities. In the PIT universe, everyone has something unique to contribute and something new to learn. After a brief training, workshop participants will develop their strategies that can help align their tech projects with a vision of public interest and responsible innovation.
- Team working day on your solutions
- Virtual Mentors hours will be available to book online for project feedback.
Day 4: Sunday, January 16th
- Virtual Mentors Office Hours
Mentors hours will be available to book online for project feedback.
Team working day on your solution.
Day 5: Monday, January 17th:
- Student Project Working Day
- Submission of your team's 5 - minute presentation video is due by 11:59 pm
- Judging will take place between January 24th - February 4th
- Top 3 winning teams will be announced no later than February 11th
This year the Innovation and Entrepreneurship innovation challenge is partnering with Hack@WPI! Social Innovation Challenge participants are welcome to join the various activities and workshops.
Hack@WPI will be held on January 14-16.
Events schedule is listed below. Social Innovation Challenge participants may register for Hack@WPI events here.
|Friday||4:30 PM||Workshop: Design for Evil with Prof. deWinter and Prof. Smith|
|Friday||6:00 PM||Doors Open / Check-In Begins|
|Friday||6:30 PM||Opening Ceremony Begins|
|Friday||7:30 PM||Opening Ceremony Ends - Start Brainstorming and Team-Forming!|
|Friday||7:30 PM||Team Formation Activity|
|Friday||8:30 PM||Workshop: Git Good - Beginner's Crash Course on Git/GitHub|
|Saturday||11:00 AM||Workshop: Public Interest Technology w Yunus Telliel|
|Saturday||1:00 PM||State Street Information Session|
|Saturday||3:00 PM||MLH Event|
|Saturday||5:00 PM||Workshop: Setting up a professional project/portfolio website for free|
|Saturday||8:00 PM||Movie Night|
|Saturday||10:00 PM||Games (Jackbox, Gartic Phone, skribbl.io, Minecraft)|
|Sunday||11:00 AM||Project Submission Deadline (Upload to DevPost!)|
|Sunday||2:30 PM||Closing Ceremony and Awards|