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Promising University of Cincinnati student research turns coffee waste into biodiesel

In the long running quest to find alternative fuel sources, University of Cincinnati researchers are adding to the pursuit. They're in the early stages of scaling a process that converts coffee grounds into biodiesel.

Graduate student Yang Liu and doctoral student Qingshi Tu have been working on the project for nearly two years. Their research, which involves burning the grounds for energy after a purification process, was recently presented at the American Chemical Society's 246th National Meeting & Exposition in Indianapolis.

"We have three targets. First we extract oil from the coffee grounds, then we dry the waste coffee grounds in a process to filter impurities. Then we burn what's left as a source of energy generation (similar to using biomass)," explains Liu, an environmental engineering student.

The research is in the proof of concept stage, so it's proven promising in the lab, says Tu, also an environmental engineering student.

"Now we have to see how this will work on a large scale … in the next two years," he says.

The students are working with UC professor Mingming Lu on the process, which began in 2010. The project began small, starting with a five-gallon bucket of grounds from the campus Starbucks.

The project was one of four awarded a $500 UC Invents initiative grant last year. The grant supports campus innovators.

With the magnitude of coffee drinkers in just the U.S., the researchers have plenty of material to experiment with. It's estimated that one million tons of coffee waste is generated in the U.S. alone each year. Most of that sits in landfills.

By Feoshia H. Davis
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Scott Belsky kicks off Cincinnati Mercantile Library's new lecture series October 21

Cincinnati's Mercantile Library is reaching into the past with its new 2035 Lecture Series.

The annual series, which kicks off in October, taps forward-looking business leaders to talk about the "future of business, management, design, philosophy, science, and technologies and the ways those will shape the economy of Cincinnati and its region."

"It's a nod to those guys who started up the library," says Mercantile Marketing Manager Chris Messick. "The library was founded in 1835 by young clerks and merchants who were the startup pioneers of their time."

This year's inaugural lecture features creative entrepreneur and best-selling author Scott Belsky who will speak October 21 at 6:30 p.m. downtown at the library. Tickets are $20. You can purchase them here.

Belsky co-founded Behance, a platform that allows creatives to show and share their work online. Adobe acquired the company in 2012, and Belsky is Adobe's vice president of products-community, according to his bio.

His lecture will be based on his book, "Making Ideas Happen," which walks readers through the process of making a creative idea a reality, Messick says.

"We have a lot events where authors speak, but this is something new. A lot of people in the design world use his site to display portfolios online, and we have a lot of activity around marketing and design downtown. I think this will get a lot of interest," Messick says.

The Mercantile is city's oldest library, with a mission "to make a difference through literature and ideas, advancing interest in the written word, and celebrating the best in literary achievement." A diverse group of authors including Herman Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Saul Bellow and Salman Rushdie have spoken at Mercantile events.

The year 2035 marks the Mercantile's 200-year-anniversary, and this lecture series reflects the historic library's mission to remain a relevant part of the city's creative and business community. The library is supported by membership fees, with memberships starting at $55. The library's blog, Stacked, is popular in local literary circles.

Kroger, dunnhumby, and Murray Sinclaire, Jr./Ross, Sinclaire & Associates, LLC are the inaugural sponsors of the 2035 lecture.

By Feoshia H. Davis
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Independent video game developer Loreful creating role-playing game "Ambrov X"

Creating today's complicated video games definitely isn't child's play.

Aharon Cagle, a marketer turned video game entrepreneur, is leading a 15-person team in creating a new role-playing game, "Ambrov X." He's CEO and founder of Loreful, an independent video game development company launched last fall.

Cagle, who's worked for Brand Populace and EmpowerMedia Marketing, is a passionate gamer who decided to turn that passion into his life's work.

"I hit 40, and I was like, 'I love games so much more than I love marketing.' I'd been a creative marketing director, so I knew I could lead a team of this size. So I wrote the business plan and started Loreful."

Cagle is working with a team of writers, designers, developers, visual arts, voice actor, animators and more to bring life to "Ambrov X."

Much of the team is already in Cincinnati, while others are moving here for the project, Cagle says.

"We're in the process of pulling people here to Cincinnati," he says.

The game garnered exposure during the recent Cincy ComicCon and Cincinnati Comic Expo.

"We have a playable pre-alpha version of the game we've been showing around. It's not necessarily how the game will ultimately look, but it shows the larger vision of what we want to do," Cagle says.

Set for release in early 2015, "Ambrov X" is being developed in partnership with the Science Fiction franchise Sime~Gen. The game is based on the Sime~Gen Universe novels that envision a future where humans have divided into two subspecies: Gens and Simes.

Gens produce a life energy that Simes need to survive. The novels center on the subspecies' struggle for co-existence.

"We're basically taking that story 1,000 years in the future. The humans have learned to live with this genetic catastrophe and are beginning to explore space," Cagle explains.

"Ambrov X" is planned for release on Windows, OS X and Linux through STEAM, a game-distribution platform. The game will be released in five episodes, ranging from three to five hours each.

Loreful is in the midst of a $500,000 Kickstarter campaign to help push development, set to end Oct. 5

By Feoshia H. Davis
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"Be Awesome" mini-conference will draw community advocates to Covington

On Thursday, October 3, the Awesome Collective of Covington will host “Be Awesome! A Mini-Conference for Community Change-Makers” in downtown Covington at 9 a.m.
 
The free event will include presentations by three Awesome keynote speakers as well as several breakout sessions throughout the day at venues throughout the city including The Madison Theater, Covington Artisans Enterprise Center (AEC), and Gateway Community & Technical College.
 
Centered around three actions—Inspire, Share and Strengthen—the mini-conference will provide a focused opportunity to network with like-minded individuals, entrepreneurs and community leaders. Although hosted in Covington, the event organizers are looking to attract individuals and groups from cities around the region like Dayton, Lexington, Columbus, Indianapolis and Louisville.
 
“We wanted to focus on the culmination of our core values,” says Jerod Theobald of the Awesome Collective of Covington, a group dedicated to celebrating the “awesomeness” of the city by engaging residents, schools, businesses and organizations in Covington-based events. “We thought that by asking people to share ideas around these topics, we could inspire people to create new ideas in their communities, create an opportunity for new partnerships and promote Covington, as well.”
 
Keynote speakers include Griffin Van Meter from NoLi CDC (Lexington, KY), Seth Beattie and Brian Friedman from Collinwood (Cleveland), and artists Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova (Transylvania University).
 
“The keynote speakers and the breakout speakers were all chosen around the three tracks: Fun and positivity, risk-taking and failure, and design and innovation,” Theobald says.
 
The Awesome Collective was founded by Tess Burns in 2011 and partners with the Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington. The Awesome Collective is an organization comprised of people who live, work and/or play in Covington.
 
“The mission of the group is to celebrate and promote Covington's excellence, uniqueness, authenticity, and share a sense of excitement about our awesome city,” Theobald says. 
 
Past events have included the Index of Awesome, which started in 2012 as both a paper and digital zine that provides a compiled list of everything “awesome” in Covington, as submitted by Covington supporters. This year, the Awesome Collective will produce the publication as a film in collaboration with production group Matic Media. Filming for this project has already begun and will continue through the fall. The premiere of the "2013 Index of Awesome" will be held on Dec. 20, 2013, at The Carnegie in an event that will be free and open to the public.
 
By Michael Sarason

Speed dating event pairs entrepreneurs with designers

On October 3, an innovative twist on speed dating called Meet Your Match will pair Cincinnati-based entrepreneurs with local designers. Hosted at The Brandery—one of the top startup accelerators in the U.S.—the goal of the event is to introduce budding startups to design firms and help them obtain essential services for getting their businesses off the ground.

As part of Cincinnati Design Week, which runs September 30 through October 5, a secondary objective of the matchmaking event is to educate entrepreneurs about what types of services designers can provide; how those services can elevate their business image; and how those services are priced.

The event is sponsored by Artworks' SpringBoard, a business planning and development program that helps artists, artisans and creative entrepreneurs achieve their artistic and economic goals by creating a unique and collaborative learning environment.

During the 90-minute event, entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to interview three designers who are interested in meeting that entrepreneur’s design needs. Rather than paying cash, participating businesses can offer $500 of goods or services in exchange for well-designed collateral that will take their ventures to the next level. Business owners will identify their design needs by selecting from a set menu of services that includes everything from T-shirts and web ads to brochures and business cards. Entrepreneurs will also disclose the goods and services they are prepared to exchange if a match is made at the event.

"Meet Your Match is designed to give entrepreneurs an opportunity to meet multiple designers in 90 minutes," says Sarah Corlett, Director of Creative Enterprise at Artworks. "Finding the right person or firm who can visually represent your company is a bit like finding the right mate. Rather than spending weeks scheduling interviews, this event facilitates those first interactions, saving both the entrepreneur and the designer time and resources."

The event is scheduled from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on October 3. Spaces are still available for both entrepreneurs and designers who want to participate. You can find a simple application form for entreprenuers and application form for designers at the Springboard website. Applications are due September 25 by 5 p.m.

By Sarah Whitman
Sarah is Managing Editor of SoapboxMedia.com.

Covington's inaugural UPSTART street party connects entrepreneurs to startup resources

Local entrepreneurs can mix business and pleasure September 19 in downtown Covington.

Covington's inaugural UPSTART street party runs from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m for entrepreneurs looking to unwind and learn more about growing a business. Nearly 40 Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati entrepreneurial organizations will line Pike Street, which will be closed for the event. There will be food, drinks and live music.

Local businessman Tony Lamb, founder and CEO of Kona Ice, a national shaved ice franchise, will give a keynote on growing a business in the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati region.

"It's a fun and inviting way to draw entrepreneurs together and have a good time," explains Amanda Greenwell, an event organizer. "We see entrepreneurs struggle with navigating through the jungle of resources and identifying what programs are best suited for their needs."

Greenwell is the program manager of Northern Kentucky business incubator UpTech. Other sponsors include NKY Tri-County Economic Development Corporation (Tri-ED), NKY Chamber of Commerce, Adams, Stepner, Woltermann & Dusin, PLLC, Republic Bank, BLDG, and West Sixth beer.

Participants will get some one-on-one time with a wide range of business support resources, including incubators, funding and loan programs, investment and economic development organizations and more, Greenwell says.

Upon arriving, entrepreneurs will receive a "passport" listing all the participating organizations, including:

Sam Adams Brewing the American Dream
SCORE
Covington Business Council
Startup Weekend
Hamilton County Business Center (HCBC)
The Garage Group
Cintrifuse
The Legacy Center
ArtWorks SpringBoard
CincyTech
Greater Cincinnati Venture Association
Minority Business Accelerator

Participants can get their passports punched by visiting the booths and learning about the services each organization provides. In exchange, attendees can earn free drink tickets and an event T-shirt.

Feoshia H. Davis
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Sunrise Advertising begins a new day, unveils new branding

Sunrise Advertising, in line with their tenth year anniversary, has unveiled a new look and positioning designed to better reflect their expertise with established brands. The full-service marketing and advertising agency, located in downtown Cincinnati, has rolled out the rebranding throughout the agency’s collateral and unveiled their new website in August. This marks the first time in the company’s history that they have gone through such a process.
 
“As we prepared for our tenth year in business, we spent a considerable amount of time evaluating our corporate direction and our greatest opportunity for continued growth and success,” explains CEO Brian McHale. “Strategic planning is about making choices—it’s probably more important to agree on what you’re NOT going to do as it is to decide what you will do as a company.”
 
The new positioning, dubbed "Energizing Established Brands," calls out the agency’s specific area of expertise.
 
“At Sunrise, we pride ourselves in our ability to help give everyone’s favorite brands succinct messaging and a relatable personality with their key audiences,” McHale says. “It’s only appropriate that we also re-energize our look and feel to reinforce our expertise in helping companies who want to maximize their reach in a timely, relevant way.”
 
Sunrise’s clients include Skyline Chili, Cintas, US Bank, the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network and more.
 
“We have a strategic process called a New Day Process that we used to guide us,” McHale says. “Throughout our history, we have had a tremendous amount of success energizing established brands, so it is a natural place for us to live. It is also a position we can own, as we are the only ad agency in the country with this focus. It is a true differentiator for us.”
 
CEO McHale has owned the company since 2008, but has been in the marketing industry for 25 years. Previously, he worked on the production side in California for the NBC Network, working on TV shows like "The Tonight Show" and "Wheel of Fortune" before returning to the Midwest and getting into the ad agency business. He hasn’t looked back since.
 
“2014 is already shaping up to be a very interesting year for Sunrise,” McHale says. “It will be a year to continue to fine tune and focus the Sunrise brand. We also have several new clients that have recently committed to work with us, like Ashley Furniture Homestores and Morris Furniture, so next year will be a year where we will get to roll out our initial thinking for those brands. I’m looking forward to our brand’s continued evolution!”

Michael Sarason

PowerGenie aims to cut passive energy costs in the home

Unless they're unplugged, your television or DVD player are never truly off.

Through what's known as "passive" or "phantom" energy, household appliances drive up your energy bill even after you flip the off switch. And unless you unplug those appliances, there's no easy way to stop it.

That could change if a team of young Cincinnati entrepreneurs get their energy-saving power outlet on the market. The PowerGenie, envisioned as a smart version of a traditional power strip, is the first product under development by Sustain-A-Watt Energy Solutions.

Passive energy is a big money and energy waster. It can add up to $40 a month to an average home's energy bill, or $5 billion a year across the U.S., says company co-founder and recent University of Cincinnati grad Rod Ghavami.

Appliances plugged into the PowerGenie can be turned off through a smart phone application that users can control from any location. The patent pending PowerGenie is still in the early development stage, but has won several business and innovation competitions. Most recently, it was a winner in the Cincinnati Innovates competition, winning the LPK Design and Branding Award.

"We have a proof-of-concept prototype, basically a Frankenstein prototype," Ghavami says. "Since graduation, some of the people on our team earlier have disappeared, and we've brought on some new people who are excited about the project and want to work on it."

The PowerGenie started as a class project for the Electrical Engineering student.

"As part of our senior design project, we came up with the idea of monitoring real-time electricity consumption from an outlet. That's how the PowerGenie came to be," Ghavami says.

After winning a Green Energy Business competition, the idea was further refined.

"We realized we could turn this into a real product and help the average person save energy," he says.

The PowerGenie is designed for residential use, but the technology could be expanded eventually for business use, Ghavami adds.

LPK will be soon start working with the company on marketing and consumer design. The company is also seeking angel investment and is working on a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding. The goal is to create a product ready for production by early next year.

By Feoshia H. Davis
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Obscura to bring world-class mixology to downtown scene

As the energy around the city’s core continues to grow, Cincinnati will welcome a new addition to the downtown nightlife scene when Obscura opens this fall. The space, located at 645 Walnut street in close proximity to the Aronoff Center, the Contemporary Arts Center and the Westin Gallery, aims to attract the art community as well business community.
 
“Obscura reinterprets a forgotten classic—‘the cocktail lounge’—offering guests an ideal atmosphere to enjoy intimate conversation, artfully infused libations, elegantly presented aperitifs and sweets, and ambient music styles from around the globe selected to enhance the social experience,” says Courtney DeGeorge, Obscura Hospitality Director.
 
Obscura will place an emphasis on high-end mixology and, to that end, has enlisted the help of Benjamin Newby, a UK transplant who has made his mark as a mixologist and nightlife expert in Chicago over the last six years. Newby, whose eye for creativity and balance in his cocktails has earned him numerous accolades, was signed as the Hospitality and Cocktail Consultant for Obscura.
 
“Bringing in Benjamin to help with this project was truly serendipitous,” DeGeorge confesses. “Recruiting talent from outside Cincinnati proved to be much more difficult than originally anticipated—that is, until we met Benjamin. By bringing a cocktail expert of his caliber on board to consult, other mixologists from Chicago, Miami and New Orleans soon followed.”
 
“Once I had done my research and visited Cincinnati for myself I could see why the team had the perspective they had,” explains Newby. “It is an opportunity to bring a new nightlife experience to the downtown area and really add to the exciting growth and bursting culture that is happening throughout the city.”
 
Newby is excited not only to bring the latest trends mixology to Cincinnati, but also to honor the history that is already here.
 
Findlay Market is brilliant and will definitely be an influence on the menu,” Newby says. “It’s such a gift to have local produce, a tea shop and Colonel De's spices in such close proximity. As far as national trends reflected in Obscura, you can expect us to use fresh local produce, have juices pressed daily, syrups made fresh, artisanal liquors, handmade ice and more.”

Obscura is owned and operated by local entrepreneurs Scott Sheridan, Bill Foster and Anthony Huser.

For more information, visit www.obscuracincinnati.com.

By Michael Sarason

Green B.E.A.N. Delivery expands with corporate wellness offerings

Cincinnati-based Green B.E.A.N. Delivery has expanded throughout the Midwest with its organic produce and natural grocery home delivery service since its 2007 founding.

The company is now taking its mission of providing fresh, healthy and convenient food to the business world, with a new corporate health and wellness program.

Two Cincinnati area corporations, Macy's and Total Quality Logistics are working with Green B.E.A.N. Delivery to provide fresh produce and other locally sourced groceries to their employees. The service boosts existing corporate wellness programs, which often don't have a major nutrition focus.

"The nutrition aspect of corporate wellness programs is the most challenging, because it involves employees making most of their decisions outside of the workplace. We're committed to helping companies achieve more balance in their corporate wellness programs," says Green B.E.A.N. Delivery Vice President John Freeland.

Here's how the program works: Employees order groceries from a company-tailored website, powered by Green B.E.A.N. Delivery. Once a week, groceries are delivered to the workplace. That same day, a Green B.E.A.N. Delivery staff member will be on hand to answer questions about the program and provide food samples, recipes and more.

"Employee can stop by on their way out of work and pick up their order before leaving," Freeland says.

Food will be distributed in an insulated, reusable tote.

In addition, a portion of employee sales will be returned to the business to further promote workplace nutrition. The money could be used to provide healthy break room snacks, to sponsor an annual event or to subsidize future employee groceries orders, Freeland says.

Green B.E.A.N. Delivery is talking to a number of local companies and organizations that are interested in the program. It's planning to begin work with the United Way of Greater Cincinnati early next year.

Green B.E.A.N. Delivery also offers a program for smaller businesses that want to promote a healthier workplace. Its Break Room Bins service allows companies to order bulk produce, coffee and other healthy beverages and snacks for office use.

"For companies, their interest comes down to health insurance premiums. The healthier your employees, the lower your premiums are going to be. It's in a company's interest to have healthy employees," Freeland says. "This program is also a way for companies to attract employees."

By Feoshia H. Davis
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New commercial real estate firm fills gap in targeting minority-owned businesses

During his 15-year career in commercial real estate, J.R. Foster didn't see many faces like his in the industry.

As an African-American, Foster found the lack of diversity in commercial real estate particularly striking, considering the changing global marketplace. In many industry sectors, supplier and corporate diversity is considered a business advantage.

"Corporations are spending a great deal of money with minority- and women-owned businesses, but there is virtually zero spend in the corporate real estate space. There are very few minorities who go out and form their own companies after growing their knowledge base," says Foster, who's spent much of his career at Jones Lang LaSalle (formally The Staubach Company), Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan.

That's why this year Foster went out on his own and co-founded Robert Louis Group. The firm is one of the only Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certified commercial real estate firms in the country.

Foster's background includes corporate real estate leasing assignments, sales, acquisition, financing and M&A transactions. The company has a working partnership with Colliers International to provide its clients services globally.

Foster and his co-founder David Hornberger are working with independent real estate contractors and are in the process of growing their leadership team.

Just as corporations depend on diversity in hires and suppliers to grow their businesses, Foster believes diversity in commercial real estate can help companies reach an increasingly diverse consumers base.

The firm offers brokerage, marketing, financing, property management and other services.

"We're not only focused on real estate, but the way our clients do businesses. We take into account the design of space, strategic locations and business objectives," Foster says.

By Feoshia H. Davis
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Local startup offers consumers chance to Kapture every moment

If you’ve ever had a brilliant idea, serendipitous conversation or inspirational moment, only to be thwarted by the inability to write down what was said, your worries may be coming to an end.
 
Kapture, a new wearable audio recording wristband, allows you to save and share what was just said. Buffering 24/7, the wristband saves only the last 60 seconds of audio with a tap of your hand.
 
“With Kapture, those you-just-had-to-be-there moments are actually available to share with others,” says Mike Sarow, co-founder of Kapture. “Rich conversation can now take a higher spot within our overall communication mix.”
 
Since the wristband’s recorder is constantly running, users don’t have to worry about disrupting a moment by getting out a smart phone. The device records over itself after each 60-second interval, allowing the user to save only the moments they wish to remember.
 
“If you never tap the product (there are no buttons or screens - only a tap interface), nothing is ever saved,” Sarow explains. “We want nothing to do with big data or continuous recording. We are about the good stuff.”
 
Founded here in Cincinnati in 2011 by Mike Sarow and Matthew Dooley, Kapture launched a Kickstarter campaign last week in an effort to gain support from consumers and create a groundswell around the new technology. The campaign runs through October 2, 2013, and seeks to raise $150,000 to help launch the product worldwide. Following the Kapture Kickstarter campaign, the device will go into production, with a planned launch to the public in March 2014.
 
“Most startups will tell you fund-raising never ends,and because we bit off a tremendously complex project, we're in the same boat," Sarow says.
 
Sarow and Dooley attribute much of their ability to secure funding and grow their business thus far to being a part of the emerging entrepreneurial scene in Cincinnati and tapping into all of its resources.
 
“It might be the best part of starting a company in Cincinnati,” Sarrow says. “It is a very closeknit group willing to help at every turn. Cincytech was our first investor and is leading our seed stage funding round. The Brandery has continued to give us ad hoc guidance along the way, and we are now a project working out of Cintrifuse. We love the support Cincinnati has offered, and we love the partnerships we have in place.”
 
As Kapture has continued to grow, more and more people are taking notice. In less than a week, the Kickstarter campaign has reached more than one third of the target goal and the company has found itself on the front page of the highly touted tech website Mashable. To find out more about Kapture, visit the Kapture Facebook page.

Michael Sarason
 

First Student and CPS team up to provide new technology for students, parents

First Student, a Cincinnati-based corporation focused on transportation services for school districts, is partnering with Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) to roll out the ZPass for the 2013–2014 school year. ZPass is a new technology that allows schools, parents and caregivers the ability to “take the guesswork out of the bus stop, and give parents comfort in knowing their child got on or off the bus as scheduled," according to First Student.
 
With ZPass, each student is issued a unique ID card, which is scanned when they enter and exit the school bus. Each time this happens, the time, date and location is logged and transmitted to a secure database. School administrators, as well as parents, can access the same system to see when and where a child has entered and exited the bus. Parents can also register to have the information sent instantly by text messages or push notifications.
 
“Cincinnati is one of the first locations to have this technology,” says First Student spokesperson Jen Biddinger. “After a successful pilot program last school year, we are in the process of rolling it out on a wider scale.”
 
“By the beginning of October we will have grown it to 12 schools,” adds John Davis, Director of Transportation for CPS, “and our outlook is that we will initiate other schools and go district-wide by January of 2014.
 
“We were looking for something that could better track student ridership and provide information for parents,” continues Davis. “The ZPass allows a parent to estimate when a bus will arrive at a particular bus stop even in adverse weather conditions.”
 
“As a district, we understand that technology is changing our lives rapidly, and we want to harness the power of that technology across the board, be it in operations, such as in this case, or in the classroom,” explains Janet Walsh, Director of Public Affairs for CPS.
 
“We’re moving forward rapidly with using various kinds of blended learning models, which use technology in different, more sophisticated ways,” Walsh notes. “It’s an exciting time, and we are embracing it as a district.”

Michael Sarason

UC launches its first Massive Open Online Course: Innovation and Design Thinking

Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, are gaining traction at major universities across the country. These free, online courses open higher education to the masses; students' are limited only by their desire to learn.

MOOCs gained major attention in the United States after prestigious universities like Stanford and MIT began offering them. The courses are open to any student, regardless of educational background, and can last from four to 17 weeks.

Course structure varies by institution, and each potentially can have thousands of students. MOOCs generally are about the process of learning, and students aren't awarded college credit for completing them.

This fall, the University of Cincinnati of Cincinnati is pushing the boundaries of MOOCs by offering its first, and participants can earn free college credit for completing it..

UC professors Drew Boyd and Jim Tappel will teach Innovation and Design Thinking. The course will teach students the tools that organizations use to innovate everything from new products to new employee training methods.

Students who complete the MOOC and enroll in a UC Business or Engineering degree program can apply the credits. It will be a two credit hour course.

"This is one of the first, if not the first, option available to turn a MOOC into course credit," explains Tappel, an Engineering and Applied Science professor.

Tappel and Boyd, a marketing and innovation professor, will begin their seven-week course in October. During those seven weeks, students will apply innovation tools, using them to create new product or service ideas.

Innovation can be taught, Tappel says. This course can help individuals or groups learn, step by step, the innovation process.

"All companies today realize that innovation is important (for growth). And it's different than creativity. Innovation takes creative thoughts and turns them into a practical, pragmatic result," Tappel says.

You can sign up the for UC's Innovation and Design Thinking MOOC, or find out more about it here.

By Feoshia H. Davis
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Crossroads community shines light on its entrepreneurs with Unpolished

Crossroads Church, one of Cincinnati’s biggest and most robust churches in terms of its services and programming, has rolled out a new, grassroots initiative for its members called Unpolished. Unpolished is a group that came together within the Crossroads community to “encourage, educate and engage aspiring entrepreneurs.”
 
“At Crossroads, we are very excited about this,” says head pastor Brian Tome. “A small handful of our community members suspected that there were others thinking like them, so they held an initial event on one day’s notice and 400 people showed up.”
 
“We held our initial event back in June,” adds Tim Brunk, co-founder of Cladwell.com, one of Cincinnati’s newest startups. “We were looking for a way to simultaneously encourage the entrepreneurs within Crossroads and begin building a community around them," says Brunk, who is one of members involved in starting Unpolished.
 
The initial event, in addition to attracting 400 people, produced some noteworthy results. “We had five short presentations from community members, telling their entrepreneurial stories,” Brunk explains. “The distinction from a ‘pitch’ was that we wanted the real story--what was hard, who did they lean on, what did they learn, what role did faith and community play, etc.”
 
“We saw some excellent fruit,” Brunk continues, “including a handful of businesses and partnerships that formed from people networking at the event.”
 
As the group is still developing, so are its future plans. Survey data taken from the first event led the members of Unpolished to begin holding office hours at Crossroads, which allow for one-on-one sessions between a subject expert and an entrepreneur seeking guidance. Additionally, development has begun on an app that will allow all community members to post needs and find help or resources within the Unpolished community.
 
“We are also looking into doing some specific workshops around startup related topics,” Brunk notes. “We have several other ideas as well, but there's plenty of planning yet to do.”

The church also began a four-week series last weeked called "Go Forth," which focuses on how to be an entreprenuer in all aspects of life, including business, family, personal and spiritual endeavors.

“While Crossroads respects the old,” Tome says, “we also see that the new is how things go forward.
 
For more information on Unpolished, visit the Crossroads Unpolished Facebook page.

By Michael Sarason
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