Water Innovation Challenge

Participants in this spring’s water innovation challenge gather in the Digital Learning Commons’ Design Space to work on this wicked problem.

Student Teams Compete in MIIS Water Innovation Challenge

February 11, 2014

As our motto, to “be the solution,” indicates, a Monterey Institute degree involves much more than classroom theory. Monterey Institute students have numerous opportunities via immersive learning experiences to develop their professional skills by completing fieldwork and working on real-life issues as part of their class assignments. This spring semester, a group of faculty and staff from across the Institute has launched an innovation challenge for teams of students willing to tackle a true wicked problem.

The challenge, Nor Any Drop to Drink? – Securing the Future of Monterey County’s Fresh Water Supply, involves participating in a series of stakeholder conversations and workshops and working with teams to come up with solutions to a problem that is at once very local and yet global in its wickedness. As Professor Kent Glenzer of the Development Practice and Policy program says, it serves three main purposes: “First, it promotes interdisciplinary work among students, and stretches them to look across degree silos. Complex problems don’t lend themselves to single-discipline solutions. Second, it gives students a real-world laboratory for trying out what they are learning in the classroom. And third, it allows students to engage with local stakeholders – the powerful and the excluded – and forces them to find solutions that are acceptable by many. And it’s a great networking opportunity to boot!”

Ten teams have risen to the challenge and started to interact with stakeholders and experts. They have been tasked with coming up with ideas that are:

  • sustainable across future generations
  • progessive regarding economic growth
  • affordable,
  • socially,economically and politically just, and
  • compelling to local stakeholders

A panel of external judges will select winners in late April. The team with the idea deemed best by the judges will receive a monetary award of $2,500.

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