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Innovation & Design
We are an open, evolving community invested in creating, preserving, and translating knowledge
Our faculty and students play an increasingly large role in engaging in innovation and entrepreneurship activities.
In addition to fostering relationships with industry and government labs, SEAS serves as an “incubator” for new ventures and has dedicated programs and courses that encourage faculty and student idea generation.
Through such activities, our overarching aim is to make the social aspects of science and technology an integral part of our efforts in education, research, and practice.
Solving specific societal problems requires bringing together great minds with the right means.
SEAS Active Learning Labs
The Teaching Labs at SEAS and the related machine shop in the Physics Department support the educational mission of the school by providing students with a supported learning environment to engage in hands-on research laboratory, design, and prototyping experiences using state-of-the-art technologies.
Contact: Anas Chalah
Innovation & Entrepreneurship
The Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard (TECH)
TECH, based at SEAS, helps faculty create and deliver innovation and entrepreneurship project courses, provides students with project support and sponsors, and advises student groups working to build the Harvard innovation community.
Contact: Paul Bottino
The lively and dynamic “Innovation Space” offers resources for experiential innovation education and provides Harvard's undergraduate student innovators with their first ever dedicated environment for learning and working in teams on entrepreneurial projects.
Contact: Paul Bottino
The Experiment Fund
The Experiment Fund, anchored in Cambridge, invests in world-changing startups. We catalyze bold ideas and build transformative companies.
The fund offers experimenters seed capital, strategic guidance, and unparalleled access to America's top-tier universities and venture capital firms.
Finally, when we succeed we advance progress, reward risk-takers, and strengthen the community and institutions who support us. XFund Blog.
Startups, at their core, are small tribes of experimenters advancing progress.
The Harvard Innovation Lab (i-Lab) and the SEAS Experts in Residenct (EIRs)
The Harvard Innovation Lab (i-lab) serves as a resource for students from across Harvard interested in entrepreneurship and innovation. The programming offered by the i-lab is designed to help students grow their ventures at any stage of development and covers a wide range of disciplines. The iLab is open to any student from any Harvard school with any idea, fostering cross-disciplinary, cross-university collaboration. The i-lab resources support student ventures spanning technology and the applied sciences, social and cultural entrepreneurship, health and sciences, and consumer fields. It is student centered and faculty enabled, with programming supplied by schools across Harvard to help students take their ideas as far as they can go.
The Experts in Residence (EiR) program is an opportunity for Harvard students to receive counseling on their career, venture, or business planning issues. These one-on-one appointments are a great chance to speak with experts. We have 5 SEAS-appointed EiRs with office hours in the i-Lab who can give advice and serve as mentors for your questions on startups, innovation, industry, and relevant career path questions.
To schedule appointments, visit the scheduling site. Our current SEAS EiRs are:
Alexander Wissner-Gross, Founder, President, CTO of Gemedy, Inc.
- Technology, Coding/Development, Phys. Science/Engineering
Chris Thorpe, CEO, Philo
- Technology, Coding/Development, Sales/Biz Development
Chaki Ng, SVP Product, MTV/Viacom
- Technology, Coding/Development, Education/Ed Tech
Hugo van Vuuren, Co-Founder, Partner, Experiment Fund
- Consumer Products, Health & Life Sciences
Tony Wagner, Former Founder/Co-Director of Change Leadership Group at Harvard Graduate School of Education
- Education/Ed Tech, Social Innovation
Note: Each SEAS EiR is tagged on the scheduling site with the categories marked above. (Only one tag can be selected at a time.)
SEAS Innovation Courses
*Engineering Sciences 20. How to Create Things and Have Them Matter
Catalog Number: 9676 Enrollment: Limited to 40.
David A. Edwards and Beth Altringer
Half course (spring term). M., W., 1–3. EXAM GROUP: 6, 7
This aspirational design course teaches students to generate, develop and realize breakthrough ideas in the arts, sciences, and engineering. Students learn basic skills of engineering design, brainstorming, prototyping, and public presentations. Funding is available for continued project development following the course. This year’s theme is "Virtual Worlds."
Note: Open to all students by permission of instructor.
*Engineering Sciences 21. The Innovator’s Practice - (New Course)
Catalog Number: 70925 Enrollment: Limited to 25. Permission of instructor required.
Half course (fall term). M., W., 2–4. EXAM GROUP: 7, 8
This class focuses on the human behavior side of practicing innovation. Students spend the first week exploring themes they are passionate about, and their challenge is then to develop a tangible project that excites them, and has real world, measurable impact by the end of the term. In teams, students practice: applying design and behavior methods for finding good ideas; working well with others to build them; leading creative projects; figuring out how their designs will integrate with user behavior; and attempting to create and measure real world impact. Project experience is complimented by a discussion seminar, in which students deepen their understanding of innovation and human behavior, and learn practical lessons in collaboration, negotiation, planning and leadership for creative projects. The class is open to students from diverse disciplines, and features guest speakers and affiliated thought leaders from industry and academia. More information.
Engineering Sciences 139. Innovation in Science and Engineering: Conference Course
Catalog Number: 0994
David A. Weitz
Half course (fall term). M., W., 2:30–4. EXAM GROUP: 7, 8
Explores factors and conditions contributing to innovation in science and engineering; how important problems are found, defined, and solved; roles of teamwork and creativity; and applications of these methods to other endeavors. Students receive practical and professional training in techniques to define and solve problems, and in brainstorming and other individual and team approaches.
Note: Taught through a combination of lectures, discussions, and exercises led by innovators in science, engineering, arts, and business.
I^3 Imagine Invent Impact
TECH is a proud co-sponsor of the Harvard College Innovation Challenge. Enter your innovative idea and get help and resources to realize it
Harvard Entrepreneurship Forum
The Harvard College Entrepreneurship Forum (HCEF) was created in 2006 to fill in the gap of entrepreneurial resources for Harvard undergraduates. Though still a young organization, HCEF stands out for its plethora of events throughout the year, broad and passionate membership base, and meritocratic character.
Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs
Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs (501c3) is a Harvard Alumni Association Shared Interest Group dedicated to the advancement of entrepreneurship and the ideals of leadership and learning. Since its beginnings, the group has served as a meeting point for founders worldwide. HAE celebrates entrepreneurs from all of Harvard's schools.
Idea Experimentation in the Arts & Sciences
The Laboratory at Harvard. A new forum and platform for idea experimentation in the arts and sciences at Harvard University, The Laboratory at Harvard (The Lab) catalyzes the development of Harvard student and faculty ideas in the arts and sciences through work-in-progress exhibits, monthly Idea Nights, and annual experiments between leading inter- national artists and Harvard University scientists.