I want to share an update on how we are driving innovation at NMC, and how you can get involved. As many of you know, we have been very fortunate to rely on the NMC Foundation for the support of Innovation Grants to improve teaching and learning at the college. But the landscape of higher education is changing, and disruptive innovation has become more critical to ensure NMC’s long-term success. We are fortunate to have dedicated faculty and staff who have always been willing to take risks and embrace new ideas. We are also experiencing a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in Traverse City as more start-ups, incubators and collaborative spaces take root in our region.

With all of this in mind and in partnership with the Foundation, we are moving forward with a more disruptive and exciting innovation framework at the college. The Office of Possibilities (or OOPs) will allow students, faculty and staff to explore and develop the next “big idea.” Unlike the previous innovation process, it will involve mentoring to challenge and flesh out the idea, connecting back to the entrepreneurial community and focusing on a growth-driven mindset to expand innovation at NMC. We know there will be failures, and that is okay (and why we are called OOPs), and this development will provide the resources and space needed to push, experiment and disrupt how we will meet the needs of NMC and our community.

So how do you get involved? That’s easy!

  • OOPs is a start-up itself. We are still learning, measuring and refining, and Fall represents our “soft launch.” Bring your ideas to OOPs office (open Thursdays from 8–10 a.m.) in the Timothy J. Nelson Innovation Center (Room 116 by the west entrance). This is your chance to connect with OOPs mentors Steve Rice and Will Kitchen and a host of others from the college and local community!
  • Attend the innovation session during Professional Development Day Tuesday, Oct. 11 to hear how OOPs was launched and learn to apply the same principles to begin formulating your ideas.
  • Email us at innovationnext@nmc.edu or visit the OOPs website (NMC login required) to find additional resources, the pitch deck template and more.

After mentoring and development, projects that are ready for review will be part of an active pitch. High potential, disruptive ideas will hopefully get funded. The first pitch event is Friday, Oct. 21 from 1–3 p.m. in IC 104/105.

We look forward to hearing your ideas and appreciate the support of the NMC Foundation as we drive innovation and challenge the norm at NMC.

Best regards,
Jason Slade
Vice-President for Strategic Initiatives