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ASU celebrates its first ever Innovation Day

Students, faculty and staff enjoyed festivals and discussed innovative solutions to celebrate four years of being No. 1

Innovation Day Photo

Attendees browse the tables during Innovation Day at the Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018.

ASU has been ranked No. 1 in innovation by  U.S. News and World Report for four years in a row, and ASU celebrated it's commitment to innovation with the first ever Innovation Day.

On the afternoon of Nov. 16, ASU departments, partners and programs gathered in Sun Devil Stadium to showcase ideas, inventions and pressing issues to ASU students and the community.

Minu Ipe, the University's knowledge of enterprise architect, has worked at ASU for the last 15 years. Ipe said she coordinated the event to highlight the accomplishments of the ASU community.

“We do so much around innovation (but) people don’t always know what is happening on the campus,” Ipe said. “We are celebrating a slice of innovation here at ASU and having innovating mindsets.”

At the end of the event, singer and comedian Reggie Watts performed at Sun Devil Stadium. Watts is an innovator himself through his musical style that combines beatboxing, mixing different sounds and inventing blends of new music.

Watts is currently the bandleader on "the Late Late Show with Jame Cordon" in which he directs music as well as lends to the comedic aspects of the show. He is also known for the IFC show "Comedy Bang! Bang!" and his Netflix special "Reggie Watts: Spatial."

“Innovation isn't just a word — it's also a series of letters, and that's important,” Watts said.

Students attending Innovation Day networked and shared their roles in upholding ASU's reputation for rethinking and creating novel solutions.

Grace Strasser, a senior majoring in industrial design and sustainability, works in the interdisciplinary Luminosity Lab at ASU as an industrial designer and researcher.

The Luminosity Lab, which is a part of the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, creates sustainable solutions to "improve the human condition and make people’s lives better."

At the event, the lab showcased whiteboards full of ideas tackling issues in transportation, healthcare and education that drew fanfare and student attention.

“The strength of our lab is the fact that everyone comes from different industry backgrounds to come up with solutions for important and current issues in our society,” Strasser said.

One of the projects the lab previously tested is the Guardian Drone, a security robot designed to connect to the blue light warning stations on campus to document reported crime scenes.

“Before coming to ASU, I didn’t understand what innovation meant,” Strasser said. “Now I believe it’s about coming to a place where we have the ability and resources to execute important projects.”

Greg Duffley, a senior majoring in business administration, works as a software engineer for Sensagrate, a software platform that started in Scottsdale, which partners with ASU's Entrepreneurship Lab. 

The company started the Safe and Smarter Arizona Roadway Initiative and aims to improve vehicle safety through improved communication.

“I chose to be a part of Sensagrate because I wanted the opportunity to be a part of something that is different and diversify my assets,” Duffley said.

The company presented its infrastructure-to-vehicle software at the event. The I2V software alerts human-driven and autonomous vehicles before potential accidents to keep passengers safe and aware.

Duffley and other ASU students and faculty continue to foster thinking creatively and by using originality to enact change, not just for the title of No. 1 in innovation but to create meaningful improvements.

“Innovation is not just about people changing the world, but the world changing people,” Duffley said.

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