Celebrating Innovation and Creativity

To honor Innovate L.A. month and Global Entrepreneur Week, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation hosted three events designed to create bridges for collaboration and inspiration. By partnering with other Cal State LA colleges, alumni, local entrepreneurs and change-makers, students learned how innovators have adapted new technologies to their industry and creative interests and how to make impactful change whether applied to a community issue or their own career path.

Starting off the week the Center partnered with the College of Arts and Letters’ Department of Television, Film and Media Studies to host Next Level VR. The event highlighted and introduced students to the industry potential within the world of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) by showcasing VR products designed and created by current students, recent alumni, and industry professionals.

Barney SantosStudents highlighted their recent work and progress on an augmented reality game that provided new students with an introduction to the Cal State LA campus. After their presentation, they joined a panel to discuss trends, ideas, and issues with other industry experts like Brian Conyer from Giblib.  “Because the ethos of the College of Arts and Letters is creativity we knew this would be the perfect playground for truly original and innovative thinking to thrive,” said Barney Santos, Director of The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, when asked about the importance of collaborating with the college that houses creatives.

On the 14th the Center partnered with the College of Natural and Social Sciences’ Departments of Political Science and Sociology to present Changemakers a workshop and panel discussion showing students a proven method for solving community problems through service design thinking, then hearing from panelists who’ve used this method to address community plans for the City of L.A. Marina Tertenyan, Co-Innovator for Good Projects and creator of the Why Service Design Thinking podcast, walked students through the steps for a community issue relevant to them.

ChangeMakersThe workshop was followed by a panel discussion by community leaders who created successful ventures using the method. Jorge Nuño, founder and CEO Nuevo South Community Development Corp. aka The Big House, Rudy Espinosa, Executive Director, LURN (Leadership for Urban Renewal), Mike Blockstein, Founder and Principal, Public Matters, LLC, and Oscar Aguayo, CEO, Conaxion provided concrete examples and provided practical advice on how to handle the inevitable stumbling blocks and where to get help. Barney talked about the importance of exposing students to different ways to do things and to see how methods can be applied to a variety of problems.

Coding Career Hacks: Advice from the Pros – Startups to Big Business pivoted from applying a specific method to general applications, to a toolbox of techniques to help coders and programmers can build a successful career in high tech.  Hosted in conjunction with Toolbox LA, both CBE and ECST students heard first-hand the perspective of tech industry insiders on how to build a successful career in tech. Speakers from Facebook, Sabio.la, Koder and Myspace encouraged students to develop a growth mindset at work, explained how to develop a career pathway and navigate through their chosen path.     

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The week’s events align with the university’s focus on the importance of student learning through engagement and the Center’s approach to innovative learning through exposure to creative thinking across disciplines and applications. Events like these are only possible with the support of our community partners and faculty who help bring them to Cal State LA students. We’re all looking forward to more events and speakers coming in the spring, including the annual Business Pitch.

The Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation’s mission is to inspire and empower the entrepreneurial spirit of Cal State LA students, faculty, and alumni in order to accelerate upward mobility and deepen the economic impact of innovation within underserved communities.