Campus Hosts Regional Innovation Challenge Event

suny poly innovation challenge 2014

Students from SUNY Polytechnic Institute and other area colleges competed over the course of two days to create innovative solutions to the area’s most challenging social and economic issues. The inaugural “Innovation Challenge New York: Mohawk Valley,” supported by a grant from the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, was hosted October 24-25 by the Utica campus of SUNY Poly.

The theme was “Harnessing the DIY (Do it Yourself) spirit to build community, economic, and cultural sustainability in the Mohawk Valley.” The intent was to launch an annual student competition that will take ideas and transform them into actions, improving the quality of life in the region.

Last spring, Robert Edgell, assistant professor of business, took four students to Philadelphia to take part in an “Innovation Challenge” event in which student teams competed to help a region solve its social, environmental or economic problems in new, fresh and innovative ways. Inspired by the experience, Edgell decided to bring that same forward-thinking to the Mohawk Valley.

“There is growing consensus in Herkimer and Oneida Counties that many of our brightest minds, educated locally, tend to migrate to other regions of the state or nation in search of economic and personal growth opportunities. In addition to this ‘brain drain,’ others are concerned about the lack of economic opportunities and entrepreneurial activity,” Edgell said. “This event brought students together with local DIY experts to help students become more entrepreneurial while increasing their propensity to remain in and be engaged with local communities. We also anticipate increased entrepreneurial activity, greater satisfaction with life in the area and increased area attractiveness to visitors and would-be residents.”

The 2014 Innovation Challenge New York: Mohawk Valley was led by SUNY Poly faculty Robert Edgell, assistant professor of business management; Daryl Lee, associate professor of communication and humanities; and Temple University’s James Moustafellos.

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