Innovation Happens Here
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Policy Innovation Stories
The Policy Innovation - stories from the Sanford School blog explores the exciting things happening around innovation on our campus.
Recent stories include:
- The Case for Optimism About Local Government
- How an Innovative Club Jump-started My Education
- Engaging Students Through Primary Data Collection
- Lessons Learned in Durham's Idea Lab
- What I Learned From Sanford's Innovative Course on Innovation
A sense of innovation permeates the school. It’s an outlook we prize, encourage and reward. We have an Impact & Innovation fund that grants startup capital to people (students, faculty or staff) with promising ideas. We have an entire center devoted to policy, leadership, innovation and service. We offer a yearlong class on innovation in government. There’s even an interdisciplinary student group focused solely on social innovation.
Sanford is one of the first in the country to offer a course for policy students on human centered design. Duke students learn in partnership with Durham city and county government personnel.
We also offer a yearlong course, Behavioral Economics for Municipal Policy. The course is a collaboration between Sanford and Professor Dan Ariely’s Center for Advanced Hindsight.
Tony Brown has been a Professor of the Practice at the Sanford School of Public Policy since 1993. His courses for undergraduates include Social Entrepreneurship in Action, Moral Courage & Leadership, and Enterprising Leadership & Civic Engagement
Often, students and policy practitioners will be in the classroom at the same time. For example, 70 North Carolina mayors, city managers and other officials joined students for a weekend intensive. The group explored how behavioral science can it be used to spur innovation. Watch:
In 2013, two MPP students came up with the idea for a powerful student-run group. As a part of the Duke Interdisciplinary Social Innovators (DISI), students team up to offer consulting to nonprofits. The program is special because the teams are interdisciplinary; students from Sanford School, Fuqua School of Business, and the Pratt School of Engineering join together to tackle problems.
For example, one team helped helped a nonprofit set up a system to collect data and measure their impact. Watch:
Innovation & Impact Fund
Our Innovation and Impact Fund works as an internal accelerator. So far, the fund has awarded grants to 20 pilot projects developed by students, faculty and staff including a new children’s data center in partnership with Durham Public Schools and a non-partisan campaign training program designed to encourage more working class people to run for office.
- Find out more about the Innovation and Impact Fund application guidelines here.
- Contact Ryan Smith, Assistant Director of Special Projects, for more information.