Kicking Off 2019 at CITY: Spring Programs Preview


As students return to campus for the spring semester, CITY is kicking off 2019 with a vibrant lineup of programs. Collectively designed to offer students a variety of entry points to innovation, the programs fall into three buckets:

  • Inspire and connect: In these one-off events, students can get to know our community and spark new ideas — with no experience or post-event commitment required.

  • Learn: These programs invite students to delve into specific skills and topic areas, with offerings ranging from beginner-level workshops to semester-long Intensives.

  • Build: Our highest-engagement programs offer opportunities for students who want to take their existing ideas to the next level, devoting focused energy to building on these ideas.

From dropping by a one-hour session to taking part in a semester-long experience, students can explore these programs in a variety of ways, forging their own paths through CITY’s ecosystem. As in each semester, the spring programs lineup consists of a mix of continuing programs and new experiments. The lineup also reflects wide-ranging partnerships, as CITY collaborates with centers and communities across Yale’s campus to produce programs that train new lenses on innovation. Here’s a look at some of these upcoming programs.

Storytelling and community-building

A number of programs this spring will offer opportunities for community and conversation. February will see CITY’s first ever Fail Night, a chance to share and hear stories of flops, fiascos, and moving forward. In April, anyone with an idea — no matter how undeveloped or just plain weird — can pitch it at this spring’s Pitch Slam, with opportunities to connect with potential collaborators following the slam. Elsewhere in CITY’s ecosystem, opportunities to learn from others’ experiences and connect with fellow students abound, from the spring iteration of the Yale Women Innovators Series to Beyond Food, a monthly(ish) gathering at the Yale Landscape Lab that will explore the role that food plays in our society.

People and power

In any innovation process, the idea is important — but the people involved in developing and executing on that idea are just as crucial. This spring, several programs will touch on personal and interpersonal elements of innovation. A workshop series on emotional intelligence for founders, for example, will look at how to cultivate strong interpersonal relationships and functional teams. A Knowledge Equity Intensive, meanwhile, will invite students interested in social change both to reflect on their own motivations and to explore approaches for valuing lived experience and expertise in social impact work, defining opportunities for building equitable, impactful collaborations for positive change. Other programs in the works include a speaker series on inclusive economic growth, new pop-up collaborations, and more.

Bringing new perspectives to technology

Many students are interesting in learning about new tech tools and their potential for impact, but are unsure where to begin. Spring programs at CITY invite students from all disciplines to explore some of these technologies together, collaborating to consider new perspectives on applications and implications. A Data for Impact 101 Intensive, produced in collaboration with the Yale Center for Business and the Environment, will offer an introduction to the hands-on skills, processes, and ethics of handling data and communicating results. Another Intensive, focused on App Design, will give students the skills and knowledge to design a complete app prototype, without any coding or background needed. A MedTech Accelerator, meanwhile, will open the world of medical technology to students from diverse disciplines, leading them through the process of designing technologies that fill needs in the health sector.

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Developing ideas together

As always, CITY programs will support students in collaboratively forming and developing ideas, from early insights to more advanced concepts. Spark Sessions will continue in the spring semester, providing a space for “structured chaos” and creative brainstorming, open to any and all. A hackathon on mixed reality and climate change, a collaboration with numerous campus and external organizations, will invite teams to create experiences on climate change themes using augmented and virtual reality, while design/build workshops at the Yale Landscape Lab will focus on constructing collaborative outdoor projects.

Funding and building ventures and projects

As it does each semester, the Accelerator will help students advance existing ideas, from ventures and nonprofits to creative projects and community initiatives. In April, Startup Yale, an annual event collaboratively produced by members of Yale’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, will put student ideas front and center. During the three-day event, finalists will pitch for the campus’ entrepreneurship prizes, which come with $15,000-$25,000 awards: the Miller Prize, for a tech or tech-enabled service startup; the Rothberg Catalyzer Prize @ Yale, for an innovative hardware solution to a medical challenge; the Sabin Sustainable Venture Prize, for products, services, projects, or programs that advance a more sustainable way of life; and the the Thorne Prize for Social Innovation in Health or Education.

This is just a sample of spring programs; for more information, see our full programs lineup or browse upcoming events (note that listings are continuously updated and added). Want to stay updated on what’s happening at CITY and around Yale’s innovation ecosystem? Sign up for our mailing list.

Laura Mitchell