NextSeattle: Innovating for Urban Social Challenges

eScience’s Bill Howe discusses the institute’s Data Science for Social Good summer program at NextSeattle

This past weekend undergraduate students from the University of Washington participated in a multi-day “ideathon” focused on important urban issues including equity and access to public space, public transportations as a public good, youth and homelessness, and big data for social good. The program’s purpose was to help attendees develop and learn to pitch ideas that address urban challenges for a Seattle of the future, giving students a chance to build on their strengths and extend their knowledge in new and exciting directions.

Students heard from local leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators, and, guided by expert mentors, were charged with coming up with ideas to address urban social challenges in interdisciplinary teams through sessions on Design Thinking, Pitch Training, and using the UW Maker Space and 3D printing resources. Prizes were awarded for creative approaches, interdisciplinary solutions, and innovative use of resources.

NextSeattle leaders and speakers included: Nick Hanauer, entrepreneur, venture captalist, civic activist, philanthropist, and author; Vikram Jandhyala, UW Vice Provost for Innovation and Executive Director of CoMotion; Thaisa Way, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of urban@uw; and Bill Howe, eScience’s Associate Director.