BYU Innovation Academy starts tonight

BYU’s Innovation Academy believes that interdisciplinary collaboration is essential to innovation.

The Innovation Academy will be kicking off the semester with a workshop discussing the value of interdisciplinary collaboration on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at the Wilkinson Student Center Terrace from 6 to 7 p.m.

The purpose is to create an environment in which students of all majors work with faculty and businesses to find solutions to real-world problems. 

The Academy hosts four workshops each semester that are open to all students who would like to learn more about the innovation process. Dr. Taylor Halverson, an advisor for the Academy, requires his world civilization class to attend the workshops.

“Students said that the experiences they had (at the workshops) shaped their thinking and helped to convince them that they could be innovators,” Halverson said. “And then it gave them opportunity and tools to demonstrate to themselves that they really could do it.” 

Innovation Academy
Students in the Innovation Academy’s core group discuss a project.

In addition to the large workshops, the Academy has a core group of 50 students who meet regularly to create their own ideas and see them through to creation. Projects that were produced last year included a website where people could vote on local events, a luminescent tape designed to light up longboards and a bike GPS locator powered by pedaling.

Devin Basinger, Co-President of Innovation Academy, said that innovation is more than inventing.

Sometimes it’s using something that’s already been around, like the luminescent tape that had already been around, and just trying to apply it in a new way,” Basinger said. “I think that’s where a lot of our success will come from.”

Basinger got involved with the Academy when it started one year ago and has enjoyed the experience.

“This is honestly the most fun thing I’ve been a part of at BYU,” Basinger said.

The Academy is accepting applications from students interested in participating in the core group. Applications are due by Friday, Jan. 18 and can be located on the Academy’s website at byuia.com/apply.

Dix Densley, also co-president of the Innovation Academy, says that the Academy is looking to add students from all majors.

We’re not just looking for idea people,” Densley said. “I know that a lot of times people automatically exclude themselves because they think ‘Oh I’m not an idea person.’ Innovation Academy is not for idea people, it’s for people who want to add value. People who are passionate about what they do, whether or not they would label themselves a creative type.”

Carin Delos Santos

Carin Delos Santos is a junior studying public relations. She currently covers the Marriott School and Women's Services and Resources for The Universe.

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