Now Accepting Applications for Intelligence++ Competition

March 9, 2023, 5 p.m.

person talking to students at table in front with computer on table
Gianfranco Zaccai ’70 H’09 working with students from Intelligence++ program in the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University Libraries

Syracuse University Libraries’ Blackstone LaunchPad (LaunchPad) will be hosting the Intelligence++ showcase competition on Friday, April 21, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. Undergraduate and graduate student teams across Syracuse University, including SUNY-ESF students taking innovation and entrepreneurship courses at Syracuse, who are interested in competing can apply online by Saturday, April 15. Eight teams will be selected to compete for a chance to win $10,000 in prizes for student-designed products, services and technologies that can assist intellectually disabled people and their families.

The competition is the culmination of an innovative accessible design and entrepreneurship program, Intelligence++, which supports a key pillar of the campus academic plan around accessibility. An innovative, interdisciplinary initiative at Syracuse University focused on inclusive entrepreneurship, design and community, the project is available to all students across the University, including those with intellectual disabilities from InclusiveU, a program of the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education. The project is a partnership between Syracuse University Libraries, the School of Education and the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ (VPA) School of Design.

The foundation of the Intelligence++ program is an inclusive entrepreneurship and design course, DES 400-600, taught by Don Carr, professor in VPA’s School of Design, with support from Beth Myers, assistant professor of inclusive education in the School of Education and executive director of the Taishoff Center, and Linda Dickerson-Hartsock, adjunct faculty member in the Whitman School, founder of Blackstone LaunchPad and advisor for strategic initiatives at Syracuse University Libraries. The courses and studio workshops are taught in Bird Library.

The program focuses on three main concepts: accessible design, disability and inclusion, and innovation and entrepreneurship. It was launched in 2020 through a generous donation by Gianfranco Zaccai ’70 H’09 and the Zaccai Foundation for Augmented Intelligence. It is one of the only programs of its kind in the country.

Zaccai, a Syracuse University alum with an undergraduate degree in industrial design and an honorary doctorate in fine arts and industrial and interactive design, is a renowned global innovator and designer. He was co-founder of Continuum, now EPAM Continuum, a global innovation by design consultancy with offices in Boston, Milan, Seoul and Shanghai. He will be attending the April 21 event and offering advice and feedback to the students. He is a renowned champion of holistic and interdisciplinary innovation research, design and development.

About Syracuse University Libraries’ Blackstone LaunchPad

The Blackstone LaunchPad is Syracuse University’s innovation hub, connecting the campus resource-rich ecosystem with a global network that provides support for aspiring entrepreneurs, inventors and creators. The program serves faculty, staff, students and recent alumni across all disciplines who are interested in entrepreneurship, venture creation and innovation careers. The program supports a key pillar of Syracuse University’s academic strategic plan to give students experiential opportunities that help prepare them to be trailblazers in an entrepreneurial world.

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