Guttman Partners with the DO School and the NYCEDC on Program to Solve Real-World Problems



December 21, 2015 | Awards, Career Development, Community Service, Experiential Learning, Student Feature

Guttman Community College, the DO School, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), and nine other New York City Universities have come together to launch Innovate NYC, a new landmark program in New York City’s higher education system that will enable students to learn-by-doing by co-creating social innovations in order to solve real-world community problems. Supported by Newman’s Own Foundation, Innovate NYC is the first time that students from this collection of higher education institutions have come together to co-create innovative solutions for some of New York City’s toughest problems.

Guttman continuing students Karen David, a Business Administration major, Bryan Heredia, a Human Services major, and Brandon Pabon, an Urban Studies major, will represent the College in this program. In cooperation with Guttman’s Office of Academic Affairs, Innovate NYC will utilize a ground-breaking approach originally developed by the DO School for Oxford University and other leading organizations.

Within the program participants will learn-by-doing entrepreneurial methods, work with diverse groups of world-class practitioners, and create real change. This year’s Challenge, presented by the NYCEDC, is The Shared Resource Challenge, which seeks to amplify the impact of non-profit organizations, social enterprises, and mission-driven businesses by addressing the critical issue of access to affordable workspace and resources. “Non-profits and social enterprises are the backbone of our economy, using innovative tools from across sectors to address issues that impact all New Yorkers,” said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. “By tasking these students to develop solutions that increase non-profits’ access to affordable workspace, strategic advice, technology, and other resources, Innovate NYC is helping to make the City a stronger, more equitable place. Thank you to our partners at the DO School, and congratulations to all students that are participating.”

Over seven months, students will work with renowned experts and top social change makers to develop and implement a hands-on solution that they will present to the City. Commenting on this method of experiential education, Martha Kanter, former Under Secretary of Education of the United States and current Distinguished Professor of Higher Education at New York University, remarked that “innovation and collaboration are critical skills to advance any nation’s prosperity and competitiveness in the 21st century. The DO School is the energizing force behind a new and vital cross-sector collaboration to solve complex challenges and empower students in their future endeavors.”

Innovate NYC universities include: Borough of Manhattan Community College, Brooklyn Law School, Columbia University, The Cooper Union, Fordham University, Guttman Community College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Macaulay Honors College, and The New School. Students from New York University are also participating in the program.

Innovate NYC held a one-day DO-a-thon workshop on December 7 where students were trained on developing ideation skills and out-of-the box thinking. That evening a reception with program participants and key members from New York’s social impact ecosystem was held. This year’s Challenge and program participants were announced at this invitation-only event, featuring speeches by:

  • Martha Kanter, former Under Secretary of Education for the United States;
  • Florian Hoffmann, Founder & President of the DO School;
  • Kate Daly, Senior Vice President, Center for Economic Transformation at NYCEDC
  • Scott Millstein, Executive Director, Coro New York Leadership Center.