Creating Social Value Blog / Social Innovation

Summertime and the Living is Abundant

By Emily Weiner, Associate Director of The Lewis Institute and the Babson Social Innovation Lab.

There’s a big misconception that staff and faculty in academic institutions slow down over the summer. The reality is, nothing could be further from the truth at Babson, and that’s certainly true here at The Lewis Institute. Things are heating up in our offices and we’re so excited about all of the programs, activities, and impact we’ll be creating this summer. Here are a few highlights of what’s on tap for The Lewis Institute team as the weather (finally!) turns warmer in New England:

Speaking Engagements and Thought Leadership Opportunities:

On Tuesday, June 13, I’ll be speaking on a panel with Ashoka U Changemaker campuses at the 6th Annual Deshpande Symposium for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education in Lowell, Massachusetts, joining my colleagues from University of Maryland, Brown, and Arizona State to discuss Institutional Approaches to Changemaking and Social Innovation. And, I’m so excited to jump on a plane later that day to join the Fourth Global Forum on Business as a World Benefit: Discovering Flourishing Enterprise in Cleveland where executives, entrepreneurs, and change agents will explore how flourishing enterprise leads to great performance, increasing economic prosperity while contributing to a healthy environment and improving human well-being. In addition to participating in intensive strategy and prototyping sessions, we’ll witness the awarding of the Flourish Prize Winners.

At the exact same time, Cheryl will be in the Seaport District in Boston with a team of Babson students, faculty, and staff attending The Classy Collaborative, a three-day experience that connects all levels of the social sector to share breakthrough solutions to the world’s toughest problems, culminating with a celebration of the Classy Awards Winners. Cheryl will be part of a panel discussion on Understanding How Academia is Fostering Social Innovation with colleagues Harvard Business School and University of California at San Diego. We look forward to this annual event as an opportunity to network and connect with the Boston area social innovation ecosystem.

Then, on June 19, Cheryl and I will be in New York City to help facilitate sessions at the Good Capital Project, a SOCAP Group Initiative that aims to develop new tools, resources, and frameworks to align the capital markets with the human needs of tomorrow, producing a cohesive taxonomy, lexicon, and market map with which market-based solutions are able to address global challenges.

And it’s not just me and Cheryl who will be on the road. On June 25-27, Rachel Greenberger will be bringing 12 Babson MBAs to the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City.  Beyond the Show itself, the Babson team will be treated to an education session that introduces the industry specifically designed by the Show’s organizers for students, and Food Sol will host a conversation with Babson alumnus and Food Sol Fellow Bob Burke (M’87).

All of us come back just in time for two intensive and exciting programs at Babson – on both our Wellesley and Boston campuses.

Activating Youth Entrepreneurial Leaders:

On July 6, The Lewis Institute’s Youth Entrepreneurial Leadership Programs team will welcome the 8th class of Babson Summer Study for High School students to campus. This four-week residential program will welcome about 120 rising high school juniors and seniors from 23 countries to campus where they will not only learn to navigate their entrepreneurial journeys, but will also take the college credit-bearing course, The Babson Entrepreneurial Development Experience. Many of our Summer Study students go on to become Babson undergraduates and have leveraged their experiences at Babson to create great economic and social value simultaneously. [Read an earlier post from me here about the evolution of the Summer Study program and meet the new Faculty Director here.] The program culminates in our Summer Study Showcase on August 4 from 9 to 11am where families, the Babson community, and the general public are invited to meet our entrepreneurial teams and learn more about their ventures.

And on July 10, The Lewis Institute will kick off a new experimental program in partnership with Verizon and Sociedad Latina to teach entrepreneurship, coding, social innovation, and communications to 25 rising high school sophomores from Boston Public Schools at our Boston campus at 100 High Street. This five-week commuter program will be taught by Boston Public School teachers and Babson faculty, and will be a highly interactive curriculum that engages a multitude of Boston area partners. Students will focus on using the mindset of entrepreneurship to approach solving problems in their communities, and will create both venture ideas and digital portfolios with the goal of continuing to activate on their ideas beyond the summer.

What our summer highlights for us is that no matter who we teach entrepreneurship and social innovation to, we are so grateful to be able to focus on pre-college students who are already starting to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset in a social context. Whether pre-college, undergraduates, graduates, executives, or beyond, for us, it’s not about the age, it’s about the desire to be curious, take action, and challenge the status quo.