Published: Aug. 21, 2020 By

Innovation Incubator logo

When the pandemic hit, those of us at the innovation incubator asked: How can we make a unique contribution to support our campus right now? Resulting from that question, two opportunities for critical community conversation arose.

The Innovation & Resilience Conversation Series, co-hosted with the Center for Teaching & Learning, developed out of our observation that both innovation and resilience require us to grapple with similar characteristics of anxiety, ambiguity, and adaptability. Each of the three sessions piloted through the conversation series focused on one of these characteristics. The participant group, which was composed of both staff and faculty from across campus, was provided with curated, topical content to read, watch or listen to in advance of each conversation. And, each session featured a practical application, like identifying one’s “ambiguity archetype," for example. A primary goal of the series is to gather together a diverse group of community members to create supportive connections while surfacing everyday wisdom about innovation and resilience from participants. If you are interested in participating in a future session — sign up here!

We piloted our Open Mic Time! Let’s Talk About Failure in Higher Ed with our own team before facilitating this session at the 2020 COLTT conference. For this conversation, our innovation catalyst, Blair Young, teamed up with the incubator’s student success team lead and student services portfolio manager, Jacie Moriyama, to explore with participants the question: What are the multiple meanings that failure can take on for diverse stakeholders in higher education? The session culminated with an open mic event where participants were invited to “take the stage” and share their own stories of failure in a higher ed context. Stepping up in a brave space, speakers were supported by much whooping, hollering, and encouragement via the chat feature on Zoom! If you are interested in facilitating a conversation about failure with your team, contact