2021 Projects

Teaming for Interdisciplinary Research Pre-Seed Program

UGA Innovation, Creativity, and Design Thinking Research Community

UGA Innovation, Creativity, and Design Thinking Research Community

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The University of Georgia has a strong innovation ecosystem. It is a NSF I-Corps site, and has numerous programs, such as The Innovation Gateway, The Innovation Bootcamp, Idea Accelerator, Entrepreneurship Program, and UGA’s Society of Entrepreneurs to name a few.

Those programs are intended to foster development and implementation of innovative ideas. In their decision to leverage these numerous opportunities, UGA created an Innovation District that is intended to serve as a bridge between the campus and local community and provide numerous experiential learning opportunities for students. These numerous programs, along with the highly entrepreneurial culture of Athens, provide excellent opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, one critical element that is missing in this eco-system is an initiative that would focus on creating a strong research agenda around innovation, creativity, and Design Thinking and obtaining grant funding for research projects in these important areas.

We are proposing to create an interdisciplinary team of researchers, faculty members, and staff who share interest in basic and applied research in innovation, creativity, and design thinking. As of now, this work is happening in silos, across individual departments, without any partnerships and collaborations among faculty members, that would allow capitalizing on practice, skills and knowledge that our faculty members have in their specialized areas. During the first year, UGA Innovation, Creativity, and Design Thinking Research Community would like to start developing UGA’s interdisciplinary research agenda on innovation, creativity, and design thinking by taking these steps:

  • Grow the team by identifying people across departments who have innovation, creativity, and Design Thinking as their research, teaching, and practice foci.
  • Organize monthly meeting opportunities in order to develop insights about most fertile areas for research – basic and applied. Some of the areas that were identified are: creative confidence and efficacy among students who take Design Thinking classes, effectiveness/outcomes of Design Thinking process, creative problem solving, creative cognition, harnessing technology to solve social problems, social entrepreneurship, consulting projects).
  • Identify funding opportunities across different disciplines and create a shared list of those funding opportunities (management, social work, education, nonprofit management, I&E ecosystems, neuroscience, cognitive science, psychology, etc.)
  • Toward the end of the year, create working clusters focusing on specific research areas identified during monthly meetings.

This proposal seeks funding to (1) Facilitate the formation of the “Research Community” focused on making innovation a standard in research and developing community solutions; and (2) Leverage this “Research Community” to identify and publish multiple research proposals developed for federal, foundation, and state funding. Ultimately, through these efforts, UGA will be known for its line of interdisciplinary research on innovation, creativity, and Design Thinking.

Team Lead

Kristina Jaskyte Bahr
School of Social Work

Team Members

Anna Abraham
College of Education

Adrienne Baldwin-White
School of Social Work

Jaime Camelio
College of Engineering

Don Chambers
Terry College of Business

Susan Cohen
Terry College of Business

Crystal Leach
Industry Collaborations

Andrew Potter
University Experiential Learning

Dee Warmath
College of Family and Consumer Sciences

Timothy Burg
Office of STEM Education

Jenay Beer
College of Public Health