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Sharing Progress: Innovation at CC

Our Progress: Building on the Block

Colorado College is not your typical liberal arts college. It appeals strongly to certain kinds of people — those with a strong sense of self-confidence and curiosity.

That’s why we proposed an innovation program that would provide resources, structure, and encouragement to students and faculty as they investigate today’s opportunities and challenges, understand their contexts, and go on to identify sustainable solutions.
With this broad goal in mind, Dez Stone Menendez ’02, CC’s director of innovation, has developed the first-ever strategic philosophy to guide CC’s innovation recommendation. Innovation at CC strives to help students build comfort with navigating ambiguity and iterative risk-taking; teaching them creative problem-solving methodologies, as well as design thinking skills, and something Menendez calls “courageous doing.” Developing a willingness to take, indeed embrace, risks is one of the outcomes Menendez is helping students develop through a new program, the Risk Project.

Recommendation 4: Innovation Initiative

“We’re poised to realize some opportunities that other institutions don’t have because of our sense of place and the Block Plan," says Menendez. "Our question is, ‘How can we do what we already do better and what are the unique opportunities we have because of the Block Plan?’” View the vision statement for Innovation at CC and hear more from Menendez about our work to achieve it. 

Bridget Galaty ’21 participated in the first-ever Risk Project program during Block 2 of the 2017-18 academic year. “You have to redefine what failure is and say that instead of, ‘oh no, if I can’t climb this rock wall’ or ‘If I don’t find the perfect solution to this problem, that’s failure.’ Instead, defining failure as not having tried at all. Then risk-taking takes on a new light,” she says. Listen to students and professors share their experiences with CC's innovation program.