Scaling Up the Weekly Innovation Challenges to Help Others Innovate

October 25, 2012
Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, Aviation Science, Biomedical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Parks College News, Physics

Weekly Innovation ChallengeThe new iBook “Innovation Challenges - Mind Workouts for Teams” was created by graduate student Gregory Keogh and Sridhar Condoor, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at Saint Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology. The digital book illustrates mind exercises that are carefully crafted to create experiences that encourage the development of an entrepreneurial mindset. weekly innovation challenges volume 1

“These exercises have been successfully used and tested multiple times for a variety of audiences across the world,” said Condoor. “This iBook serves as a useful resource for those who are interested in engaging students in a creative way.”

The iBook is based on a set of Weekly Innovation Challenges that were first used at Parks College during the Fall ‘11 and Spring ‘12 semesters. The intended audiences range from high school instructors teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) disciplines, to engineering faculty, outreach coordinators, and student organizations leaders. The Weekly Innovation Challenge program was designed to create an extracurricular ecosystem where participants (students, staff, and faculty) compete in stimulating team-based innovation games.

“These games result in a microburst-type of learning experience that combine engineering, competition and a great deal of fun,” said Doug Melton, Program Director for the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN). “They have true educational merit because the learning objectives listed with each challenge are met through engaging students in an experimental, prototyping environment.”

weekly-innovation-challengeStudents participate in the Weekly Innovation Challenge at Parks College every Wednesday.

As other schools and institutions started adopting the Weekly Innovation Challenges, Keogh and Condoor decided to take the lead role in supporting these organizations. In order to scale its use, they took the final step of creating an iBook and distributing it free for easy adoption.

The Innovation Challenges iBook was written carefully to help others to easily mimic the exercises as well as adapt the challenges if needed. The challenges are detailed as a combination of the challenge description, supply list, learning outcomes, possible variations, and facilitator tips for effectively preparing the end users for deploying the challenges. Pictures of resulting artifacts and the reflective videos of participants, judges and observers provide a good understanding of what to expect at the end of the challenge.

Dr. Sarah Hanna, Research Associate at the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network, says the iBook demonstrates the success of the Weekly Innovation Challenges at Saint Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology.

“It provides a clear and thorough guide to hosting your own challenge at your school,” Hanna said. “These challenges have been adopted by many of the KEEN institutions, and now they are accessible to the entire engineering education community through this iBook. With multiple examples and insider tips, this iBook will help provide others with the information needed to encourage creativity, innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset.”

Dr. Condoor anticipates releasing a second volume of the Innovation Challenges next year. Additional resources such as logos, flyers, iNotes, and sign-up sheets can be found on the Innovation Challenge resources page. The website also showcases the current academic year challenges. If you want to test the current year challenges and provide feedback, please visit, identify the challenge that you want to test, and email Dr. Sridhar Condoor ( for the detailed instructions.

The Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN) and Coleman Foundation sponsor each weekly innovation challenge at Parks College.

Download the new iBook

  1. Insure you have iBooks 2.0 installed on your iPad. You can download the latest copy of iBooks from the App Store.
  2. Navigate to this page from your iPad, and download our iBook into your iBooks library.

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