May The Civic Innovation Force Be With You

The Nice Center’s newly formed Civic Innovation Force invites students to pitch their ideas & receive funding to bring them to life in our community

To make the most of the extra day in February, The Nice Center spent Leap Day morning leading an ideation workshop for anyone interested in an internship opportunity with the City of Fargo. Participants were 20 students and faculty from a variety of academic backgrounds. 

The event was anchored in coming up with ideas for bettering our community. So, we asked that students and faculty arrive ready to share their visions and to work collaboratively. Those with the most promising ideas could become pioneering members of the Civic Innovation Force, a partnership between the City of Fargo and The Nice Center at NDSU. 

The City of Fargo’s Assistant City Administrator, Michael Redlinger, was in attendance to share what challenges the city faces, and to evaluate solutions pitched by participants. His insight helped focus our session in on these key areas: Communications, Climate Change, Landscape Architecture & Architecture, and Arts & Culture.

Here’s how the day unfolded:

Ideation Phase:

To start, the floor was made open for people to pitch their ideas for projects that would address challenges that the city faces. In less than a minute, they provided a high-level overview of their project and would then have it documented in a phrase onto a poster-sized paper adhered to the wall. It didn’t take long for the room’s walls to become covered in large white papers titled with project ideas

Voting Phase: 

Each person was given three sticky-notes to vote on three ideas of interest posted around the room. The top four ideas with the most votes made it to the next round.

Grouping Phase: 

With four main ideas remaining, groups formed around people’s interest levels and skill sets. These groups of four to five participants then worked to further develop their idea and prepare to pitch it before City of Fargo’s Michael Redlinger.

Presentation Phase: 

Groups pitched their project idea, keeping their presentation around five minutes in length, and then received critique on their project’s feasibility and impact potential from Michael Redlinger. The winning group would have their idea chosen for the internship, which officially launched the first team within the Civic Innovation Force.

The ideation session served as a springboard for further collaboration across departments and beyond the campus. With the launch of the Civic Innovation Force there now exists a framework for connecting students with opportunities to create projects that are timely and relevant to the needs of our community. And winning ideas can be funded through scholarships and/or paid internships.

Have an idea about how to improve our community? Share it here:

Posted on March 6th, 2020 by Marquis Armwood in Events, News and Stories