Through events, courses, research, and competition, the Social Innovation Initiative helps students and faculty creatively address contemporary social and environmental challenges. The core activities of the Initiative include:
New Challenge: New Challenge is a social innovation competition to encourage students at The New School to address local and global challenges in innovative ways. Winners of the competition receive financial awards up to $10,000 to pursue their ideas. New Challenge applicants receive a range of support to move their projects forward including mentoring, skills building workshops, course tie-ins, and more. Learn more about opportunities and events with this growing innovation platform at the New Challenge website.
Fund for Collaborative Innovation: Made possible by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, this new Fund supports partnership projects that bring together New School faculty, students, and external organizations that seek to address urban challenges in New York City. Learn more about the fund, eligibility, and application instructions here.
Public Programming: The Initiative organizes and co-hosts a range of events throughout the year providing students, faculty, and the public an opportunity to learn from experienced changemakers in the field of social innovation. These events include:
- Social Innovation Speaker Series: An opportunity for students, faculty, and the public to learn from thought-leaders and practitioners in the field of social innovation. Past events included “Engaging Communities for Change” (November 7, 2012) and “Filmmaking as Social Innovation” (February 6, 2012). The next event “New Challenge Panel & Celebration” will take place on March 13, 2013. Footage of these events can be found on the Social Innovation Initiative playlist on The New School’s Youtube Channel.
- InterAct: The Social Innovation Initiative co-hosts this community forum on collaboration and innovation in partnership with Parsons Fest. The next InterAct event is scheduled for May 18, 2013.
- Communities Of: The Social Innovation Initiative co-hosts this conference and exhibition on community-engaged design in partnership with DEED research lab. The next “Communities of” events will take place on April 5, 2013 and April 26, 2013.
- CoCoon: The New Challenge presents THE COCOON where students can participate in peer exchange around social challenges and innovative solutions. The first CoCoon event will take place on Monday, April 8, 2013. Learn more and register here.
Social Innovation Bootcamp: The new fall 2013 course will provide students with an opportunity to develop their own innovative entrepreneurial ideas to address social and environmental challenges and create actionable plans to move them forward. Designed to attract students across all divisions at the university, the course will include seven (7) evening periods and three (3) six-hour Saturday modular workshops. Read more about the course on the online course catalog here.
Student mentoring: We provide mentorship and advice to students at The New School who are engaged with starting an innovative social venture. This includes reviewing business plans, giving feedback on their applications for outside funding and competitions, and connecting students with appropriate mentors in their fields.
Field-building: We connect the work of student innovators at The New School with the larger field of social entrepreneurship through partnerships with organizations such as Ashoka U, NYDesign incubator, Fast Forward Fund+, Dell Social Innovation Challenge, Clinton Global Initiative University, and more.
Communications and resource sharing: We inform The New School community about opportunities available in the field of social innovation including events, conferences, outside funding, and other competitions through this blog and beyond. We also highlight the innovative work being done by New School students, faculty, and alumni on the New Challenge site, Changemaker Profiles, New Challenge and Social Innovation Initiative, Twitter page, and the Social Innovation Initiative playlist on The New School’s Youtube Channel.
Expanding for the future! We are constantly evolving and expanding our offerings to better support social innovation at the University and in our communities. Coming up within the next year, new projects include the Social Innovation Bootcamp (listed above), Social Innovation Minor and Post-Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation, and Social Innovators-in-Residence program. Check back here to stay updated on new programs and offerings.
The New School hosts numerous events year round connected to social innovation. Click here to see what is on the schedule.