Last fall, Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie revealed details on IU’s future direction, one that builds upon nearly 200 years of educating Hoosiers and creating billions of dollars worth of employment opportunities. In all, there were eight Bicentennial Priorities developed and two of them – “building a prosperous and innovative Indiana” and creating “a culture of building and making” – were the focus of a January planning session at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.
To set the tone for this occasion, Gerry Dick – himself an entrepreneur as creator and host of Inside INdiana Business – spoke on the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in growing, diversifying and sustaining Indiana’s economy. From there, IUPUI Chancellor Charles Bantz and Executive Vice Chancellor Nasser Paydar provided the context for a discussion where more than 60 faculty, staff, students and community partners addressed this overriding question:
“In order to enhance and expand a Culture of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at IUPUI that engages and strengthens the education of students, what are the strengths to leverage and opportunities to pursue – both on the IUPUI campus and in the Indianapolis/Central Indiana community?”
After dividing into breakout groups to develop and critique ideas on how to pursue this aim, an online poll administered near the end of the session revealed three leading recommendations:
- Create spaces for student-community entrepreneurship and innovation, such as a center for “innovapreneurs” that links needs and ideas of IUPUI and the surrounding Indianapolis community to one another;
- Identify and change policies and processes within IUPUI that impede risk-taking;
- Develop, support and provide incentives for faculty development.
A more detailed synopsis is available here. However, it is important to note that this event kicked off an important, ongoing process at IUPUI – one that IU’s Office of Engagement and its Innovate Indiana initiative is committed to support.
In the coming months, after session participants review the raw data and offer more input and recommendations, campus leaders – including the deans of all IUPUI schools – will review a final report and identify priorities.
From there, plans, action steps and methods of measuring such progress will be established, all while keeping IUPUI and community stakeholders engaged in the process. Please stay tuned as these initiatives move forward, as they portend exciting times for innovators and entrepreneurs at IUPUI and throughout central Indiana.