Published: March 3, 2020 By

Logos for the 4 Innovation Incubator project teams

House of Genius was a hit!

Participants gathered for the House of Genius eventIn a university setting like ours the word “genius” conjures the persona of an award-winning, world-changing outlier who is leagues smarter than the rest of us. Certainly, many who fit this profile research and teach here. But House of Genius (HoG) is premised on a different kind of brilliance — the collective genius of a diverse group of everyday people whose experiences and expertise can surface out-of-the-box thinking and divergent ideas. ASSETT’s Innovation Incubator is an environment ripe for the disruptive contributions that come from HoG events, so we hosted one this spring. But what exactly is HoG?

House of Genius is a nonprofit organization founded over a decade ago right here in Boulder, Colorado. Today, HoG has grown to support community gatherings in cities all over the world with a mission to “bring together entrepreneurs and a diverse mix of collaborators from the community for an evening each month of disruptive thinking, supportive input, and creative new ideas.” HoG headquarters provides an event protocol for “houses” in U.S. cities like Manhattan and Atlanta to international locations as far-reaching as Bangalore and Buenos Aires. A defining principle of HoG is that participants show up with their titles stripped away while sharing insights from their experience as everyday people — no one reveals more than their wisdom and their name until the close of the event!

At the first — and certainly not the last — ASSETT Innovation Incubator HoG event, three A&S faculty, including June Gruber (PSYC), Catherine Kunce (PWR), and Eric Vance (APPM/LISA), delivered brief presentations about an innovative project they are working on. In a condensed and accessible talk, they shared their work and posed a wicked challenge they are facing to the genius community. Following HoG protocol, the geniuses — who represented sectors ranging from nonprofit to tech to government, and included CU undergraduate students too — collaboratively generated solutions in dialogue with one another and with faculty presenters. All of the HoG participants volunteered their time, their experience, and their expertise while sharing their feedback with the presenting faculty. Throughout the evening their generosity was palpable and the evening was a fun experiment in building community among unlikely collaborators!

EMERGE 2020: Unprecedented circumstances call for unexpected pivots

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the live EMERGE 2020: IDEATE event scheduled for Thursday, May 14, 2020 is canceled. We are currently brainstorming how we might still creatively pursue the intent of the event: To gather like-minded colleagues and community members to showcase your incubator projects while wrestling with the question How might we get students out of their seats and into active learning? Currently, we're considering an online series of community conversations, which would include opportunities for our scheduled conference presenters to deliver their sessions virtually. Stay tuned!