PA 5743: Social Innovation Design Lab: Making your Idea a Reality

January 13-17, 2020 from 9:00am-5:00pm

Instructors: Fred Rose, Acara Founder and Affiliate Faculty, Humphrey School of Public Affairs; Rob Gradoville, Adjunct Faculty Member, Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Do you have an idea for an organization, initiative or venture that that could address a social or environmental problem? This course is designed to help aspiring social entrepreneurs and changemakers from all disciplines develop a viable proposal for social change. Course content includes an introduction to human-centered design thinking, change management, leadership skills, non-profit and for-profit business models, and social entrepreneurship frameworks. Throughout the course you’ll be exposed to many guest lecturers, and you will also benefit from meeting with multiple mentors.  At the end of the week, you will present your project to a panel of experts.

Students and teams from this course will be encouraged to compete in the Acara Challenge for prizes and up to $5000 in fellowship money to pilot their idea.

You can learn more about this course by reviewing this year’s course syllabus.

How can I participate? Students or teams interested in this course should apply by emailing a 1-page resume and project description (1 paragraph to 1 page) of your project/idea to The essay should address your motivation for taking the course, along with describing your idea, where you are with developing it, and what you need to take it forward. Priority given to materials received by December 13, 2019.

After December 13, course applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Seats are limited to 25. Apply soon while space remains!

This course is accepted as an elective for the following programs: Biproducts and Biosystems Engineering B.S., Entrepreneurial Management B.S.B., Urban Studies B.A. and B.S, Entrepreneurial Management Minor, Urban Studies Minor, and the Sustainability Studies Minor.

Please Note: Students who use financial aid still need to take 15 credits (other than this course) in the spring to be eligible for aid.