Powered by Innovate at Iowa State

At Iowa State’s College of Design, we believe that everyone has a spark of innovation within them – the potential to create something great and make a difference in their world. That’s why we constantly strive to provide the education and opportunities needed to see that potential grow through practice, experimentation, and collaboration.

Innovation and entrepreneurship (I+E) is embedded into the college’s coursework, research, facilities, and student resources to ensure all students have the access, support, and empowerment to become innovators and entrepreneurs. These efforts, powered by the Innovate at Iowa State campaign, include multiple pathways to engage with innovation.

A traditional entrepreneur is a dreamer who takes an idea and makes a business out of it. Numerous Cyclones have embodied the entrepreneurial spirit – from starting an augmented reality service for zoos and aquariums to designing a custom pesticide applicator.

An intrapreneur is someone who helps their organization innovate from within. Many of our College of Design alumni do this every day in their careers!

Civic innovation improves how society works in new ways. College of Design associate professor of architecture Shelby Doyle, the Stan G. Thurston Professor in Design Build, does this by researching how automation can help make home construction safer and more efficient.

Social entrepreneurship solves social, cultural, and environmental issues. For example, the College of Design’s interdisciplinary option studios get students involved in a variety of innovative pursuits for the greater good, including design solutions for senior living facilities, unhoused populations, and sustainable rural communities.

I+E opportunities in the College of Design

  • Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I+E) Fellows

    Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I+E) Fellows

    Explore innovative and entrepreneurial opportunities as a student fellow in the College of Design. The college’s entrepreneurial student fellows experience first-hand how design and business intersect, engage, and elevate one another through a design consultancy class. Student fellows in innovation provide student leadership in dreaming their own (and the college’s) future.

  • Core Design student projects

    Core Design student engagement

    Design students are empowered to become future social innovators with the potential to improve human existence through design. Through the College of Design’s Start Something initiative, first-year students in the Core Design Program are introduced to Core + Care, an initiative where they explore the idea of care – for oneself, the individual to the group, the group to the individual, and the group to the greater community.

  • Faculty and Staff I+E Cohort

    Faculty and Staff I+E Cohort

    The college’s faculty and staff are directly engaging with innovation and entrepreneurship as they help students, their peers, the college, the university, and Iowa as a whole grow. As Innovation Scholars and Fellows, design faculty and staff guide students through a diverse range of interests in their areas of research and scholarship.

    The 2022-2024 cohort members are:

    Scholars: Patrick Finley, Daejin Kim, Raluca Iancu, and Jiwnath Ghimire

    Fellows: Diane Al Shihabi, Roman Chikerinets, Leila Ammar, Julie Stevens, Dan Neubauer, Jen Hogan, and Ingrid Lilligren

Innovate at Iowa State Wordmark

Start Something Wordmark
  • Events, workshops, and competitions

    The College of Design offers a variety of I+E events and activities, including:

    • Our annual Dean’s Charrettes and Start Something workshops, a tradition where stakeholders propose complex problems and students explore possible solutions
    • Ignite Exhibits, where students showcase their work accomplished in I+E engaged courses at the Student Innovation Center
    • Student pitch competitions, powered by the Papa John’s Center for Entrepreneurship
    • Multi disciplinary symposiums led by the I+E scholars’ and fellows, student engagement in these events allow student voices to lead the way for the college
    See upcoming events
  • Interdisciplinary option studios

    The College of Design’s Design Studies 546 studios, known as option studios, are offered every spring for students in their junior year and above. These studios have a long-standing tradition of innovation in the college, as they invite students from every discipline of the college to explore complex problems together. For many design students, this is the start of a career trajectory engaging in collaborative, multidisciplinary design.

    Learn more about option studios
  • Secondary Major in Interdisciplinary Design

    No matter your major at Iowa State, you can add Interdisciplinary Design as a secondary major to develop your inventiveness, visual communication skills, and ideation mindset. The academic program focuses on creative innovation, strategic design thinking, and interdisciplinary teamwork.

    See program details
Students working at the Student Innovation Center.

Support our initiatives

There are two ways to contribute a gift to the college’s I+E efforts.

The first option is to mail a check with a note that specifies the designation: College of Design Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fund. Mail to Iowa State University Foundation, 2505 University Blvd., P.O. Box 2230, Ames, IA 50010-2230.

The second option is to make a giftonline. For “Selected Designation,” select “I want to support a fund not listed” and type “College of Design Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fund” in the notes section.

About/Facilities page Feature - SICTR Atrium Artwork

Student Innovation Center

The Student Innovation Center is the nexus on Iowa State’s campus where all Cyclones are invited to innovate. All students can utilize makerspaces and attend events, and the College of Design offers a number of classes and opportunities throughout the building.

Students working on class project in the King Pavillion.

A Cyclone in the Making

Find your place at Iowa State University’s College of Design, where we like to ask questions, poke and prod, create something new, and make a difference through design.