Innovation Mixer

Sage Orlowski, [email protected]

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Last Monday, the Innovation Mixer took place in Nohr Gallery. The WISYS-led mixer is an annual event that brings together students from the engineering, biology and business departments in hopes to promote innovation and entrepreneurism. WISYS is a non-profit organization that supports the UW system.
Assistant Business and Entrepreneurism Professor Marcia Harr Bailey stressed the importance of the event by saying, “The application of innovation becomes entrepreneurship.”
Event coordinator Mark Levenstein said, “The event is tied into another event on campus, the Prototype Hackathon, where mostly engineering students come together to build something and are judged on the quality and utility of what they put together.”
“[The Innovation Mixer] shows students that problems are best solved by a team and different perspectives are key to trying to move solutions,” said Levenstein.
The mixer brought in Director of Innovation at JJ Keller and Associates Ethan Bagley to talk about how his company uses innovation to move forward.
A speed-networking session during the event allowed students to practice introducing themselves.
Regional Licensing Associate of WISYS Tony Hanson said, “At the end of the mixer we have an Absurd Design challenge where we pose a silly problem, one that’s not necessarily going to be world changing.”
This year’s Absurd Design Challenge was to solve the problem of the pigeons that like to roost over the entrance of the Engineering Hall and poop on unsuspecting students. The winning idea was the SAP which used a plastic owl on a track and owl noise recording to potentially scare away the pesky birds.
The faculty plans on continuing and evolving this annual event in future years.