Georgia Tech’s strategic plan describes a new narrative: Over the next decade, Georgia Tech will be an example of inclusive and impactful innovation, a leading research university relentlessly committed to serving the public good, breaking new ground in addressing the biggest local, national, and global challenges of our time, and developing exceptional leaders from all backgrounds ready to produce novel ideas and create actionable solutions.
So what does inclusive and impactful innovation look like? How do we want to work together on so-called “social innovation”?
A group of Georgia Tech and community social innovation leaders came together regularly over the last half of 2022 to ponder these questions, come to agreement on shared principles, and draw a roadmap for a burgeoning social innovation ecosystem at Georgia Tech and beyond.
Here’s what we came up with.
The ecosystem operates by a set of shared principles:
- Community partners are experts / value lived experience
- Social innovation should acknowledge and build on existing community assets
- Social innovation activities should be mutually beneficial and optimize benefits
- Social innovation must be grounded in anti-racist and social justice principles and practices
In keeping with these principles, Georgia Tech entities working on social innovation will:
- Build relationships with partners, each other
- Leverage campus-wide strengths
- Leverage technology
- Instill understanding of power dynamics / power analysis and change agency
- Design with equity and empathy
- Jointly define challenges and success with community partners
- Center first generation leadership / mentoring
By cultivating a thriving innovation ecosystem at Georgia Tech and in Atlanta centered on environmental and social impact, together faculty, students, and community partners will support the Anchor Institution goal of building relationships, capacity-building, and community and economic development in our surrounding westside neighborhoods and across Atlanta and Georgia.
Current partners and their programs include:
- Center for Civic Innovation (CCI) - Rohit Malhotra
- Center for Sustainable Communities (CSC) - Garry Harris
- West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA) - Darryl Haddock
Georgia Tech (GT) Social Innovation Leads
- Serve-Learn-Sustain (SLS) - Jenny Hirsch
- Institute for Leadership and Social Impact (ILSI) - Dori Pap
GT Social Innovation Ecosystem
- DEI Initiatives in Undergraduate Education & Engineering for Social Innovation Center (ESI)- Joy Harris
- Community and Local Government Relations - Chris Burke
- Create-X – Rahul Saxena & Daniel Constable
- Design Bloc - Wayne Li
- Minority Business Development Agency (EI2) - Donna Ennis
- Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business – Michael Oxman
- Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation – Debra Lam
- Student Innovation/Inventure Prize – Chris Reaves
This is the latest in our collaborative series on the topic of Social Innovation at Georgia Tech.
Read our earlier blogs here:
Insitute for Leadership and Social Impact is an interdisciplinary institute that promotes servant leadership and social innovation that contribute to a more just, caring, and equitable world. Learn more about our work!
By Susan Davis, Practitioner in Residence, ILSI