2014 Exchange by Ashoka U

Cordes Innovation Awards

The Ashoka U-Cordes Innovation Awards recognize high impact and highly replicable education innovations. Innovations may include effective approaches to curricular development, co-curricular activities, and community and culture building to enhance social entrepreneurship in higher education. Our goal is to inspire and catalyze innovation at colleges and universities around the world.

2014 Ashoka U-Cordes Innovation Awardees:

Social Innovation Fellowship & Leading Social Ventures at Brown University led Alan Harlam, Director of Social Entrepreneurship, Lizzie Pollock, Assistant Director of Social Entrepreneurship, and MJ Kaplan of Adjunct Professor of Public Policy. This innovative co-curricular approach to supporting social entrepreneurship provides 15-20 undergraduates with a unique combination of extra-curricular and curricular support. The Fellowship offers funding that allows students to work on the venture full-time during a summer, intensive skills training, mentorship and a supportive peer community. Leading Social Ventures is an action learning entrepreneurship course where ideas learned in the classroom can be immediately applied to their ventures.

Echoing Green’s Work on Purpose program developed by Lara Galinsky, Senior Vice President, Echoing Green and Linda Kay Klein, Director of Work on Purpose, Echoing Green. Echoing Green’s signature Work on Purpose curriculum & training teaches ten research-based principles through illustrative stories and interactive workshops that young people can use to find their place in the ecosystem of social impact work.

NexGen Fellowship Program led by Ramon Marmolejos, Executive Director of Emzingo Group, and Daniel Pulaski, Director of Academic Services at Emzingo Group. The Emzingo Group’s NexGen Fellowship combines innovative leadership training with social impact consulting projects in emerging markets. Emzingo takes the experiential learning model a crucial step further by intertwining training and development, professional coaching, reflection, and mentoring.

CityStudio Vancouver is Co-Founded and Co-Directed by Dr. Janet Moore and Duane Elverum. CityStudio is a globally unique hub of learning and leadership inside Vancouver’s City Hall where students gain hands-on experience with complex real world problems, while co-creating solutions on the ground with City staff. After 3 years CityStudio has involved 1616 students contributing 53 projects on the ground and 50,000 hours of research, learning and action to the City.

Center for Design Practice (CDP) at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), established by Mike Weikert. CDP is a multi-disciplinary, social design studio dedicated to preparing the next generation of creative changemakers. CDP brings MICA students from different disciplines together with faculty and outside partners from government, nonprofit and business sectors to collaborate on the development of innovative solutions to complex social problems.

MiddCORE at Middlebury College led by Jessica Holmes, Director of MiddCORE. MiddCORE is a mentor-driven, experiential learning program designed to build skills, create opportunities, and expand networks for tomorrow’s leaders and innovators. Skills developed include leadership, collaboration, idea creation, strategic thinking, empathy, persuasive communication, design-thinking, ethical decision-making, negotiation, crisis management, financial literacy and self-reflection.

The 2014 Innovation Awardees will present during an awards ceremony at the Ashoka U Exchange at Brown University February 20-22, 2014.  Awardees will receive media coverage and be featured on a special section of AshokaU.org to showcase their innovation and partnership opportunities.


2014 Judges:

We’d like to extend a special thank you to the six Ashoka U-Cordes Innovation Award Judges:

  • Ron Cordes, Co-Founder, Cordes Foundation
  • Chris Crane, President and CEO, Edify
  • Stephen Huddart, President & CEO, J.W. McConnell Foundation
  • Regina Ridley, Publishing Director, Stanford Social Innovation Review
  • Jacqueline Smith, Advisor to the President for Social Embeddedness, Arizona State University
  • Greg Van Kirk, Ashoka Fellow and Co-Founder, New Development Solutions Group

Judging Criteria:

Receipts of the 2014 Ashoka U Cordes Innovation Award will be selected based on the following criteria:

I. Innovation: The model demonstrates creativity, a deep understanding of the levers and barriers in higher education, and addresses a clear opportunity for advancing an entrepreneurial or socially impactful mindset, skillset, and culture for the university context.

II. Impact: The innovation has a clear contribution to social impact and has a track record of results and success. This innovation, if scaled, has potential to be transformative for higher education.

III. Replication and Scale: The innovation may be easily adapted without losing quality. The innovation should be able to spread with relative ease, increasing efficiency and impact with every replication. Replication may be across different universities, disciplines, or with partner organizations.

IV. Maturity: There is evidence of refinement and iteration of the model over time, proving that the innovation is at a stage of maturity to effectively share lessons learned and contribute to the field. It is clear that the idea is no longer in the early ideation phase.