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Fifteen SAILers from Five ACM Colleges Gather to Launch Seminar

Published: July 12, 2016

Fifteen SAILers from Five ACM Colleges Gather to Launch Seminar

ACM faculty gather in San Jose, CA, for the 2016 SAIL seminar on Silicon Valley as an Innovation Ecosystem.

Faculty in Silicon Valley

Daily posts and photos from the ACM SAIL faculty seminar on Silicon Valley as an Innovation Ecosystem.

Day 2 >

Day 1 – Monday, July 11, 2016

Posted by Brian Williams, ACM Vice President and Director of Faculty Development and Grant Programs

Complete pre-seminar preparations. Check! … Safely travel to Silicon Valley to gather with other SAILers. Done! … Gather for a quick orientation to the next nine days of on-site visits and activities. In the books!

Fifteen faculty from five ACM campuses have gathered in Silicon Valley as part of the Seminars in Advanced Interdisciplinary Learning (SAIL) program to study innovation and creativity. The leadership team from Lawrence University has arranged visits to leading companies and research facilities (Google, Stanford University's d.school, LinkedIn, Helix, and others) to talk with leaders and innovators about what they do.

SAIL seminar guide

If innovation is a phenomenon that happens in places like Silicon Valley, as well as a way of thinking and doing, what can liberal arts colleges like those in the ACM learn from the leading thinkers and doers in Silicon Valley and apply to the residential liberal arts campus?

Among the questions that the group brings to the seminar as we get started are:

  • How does technology relate to culture?
  • What are the group and industrial organizational processes in play among Silicon Valley companies that lead to creativity?
  • How can faculty approach problem solving — in the classroom, in the lab, etc. — as a creative process, like that which drives decision making and new product development in Silicon Valley?
  • What can we learn from innovators in the Valley that might encourage English majors and computer science majors on our campuses to collaborate on creative projects?
  • How can an entire college take the lessons from Silicon Valley and apply them to the development of a junior-level required seminar on innovation and problem solving?

We begin tomorrow morning with a visit to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, and then we’re off to the Google campus.

The itinerary is full for what promises to be an incredibly interesting and educational seminar on innovation, creativity, and the conditions that promote them.

2016 SAIL participants

2016 SAIL faculty seminar participants gather for an opening orientation.

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