Congratulations to the Deans’ Cultural Entrepreneurship Challenge Winners and Runners-Up
The i-lab is excited to announce the winners and runners up of the inaugural Deans’ Cultural Entrepreneurship Challenge!
Team MUSEY took home the Grand Prize of $30,000. MUSEY is an online platform and mobile app solution that uses geo-technology to enable users to find art in one’s immediate vicinity, learn more about it, and support it financially, supporting art outside museum walls.
MUSEY is led by Judy Fulton, Hokan Wong, and Wes Thomas, of the Graduate School of Design, and Lucy Cheng ’17, as well as Loeb Fellow Helen Marriage.
“This is a huge vote of confidence and encouragement,” Fulton said of the award. “We were going to go ahead with it whether we won or not, but there’s so much more momentum. Now we know we can probably work on it for a full year. It’s amazing.”
The three runners-up, who each took home $15,000 awards, were:
- Midas Touch, which uses 3D printing technology to render paintings an accessible art form to the visually impaired;
- Culturally, an online social discovery and engagement ecosystem for the arts;
- and Music+1, a mobile app that provides adaptive orchestral accompaniment in real time to musicians.
Mukti Khaire, associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School (HBS), said that in developing their projects, the students became a defining force for cultural entrepreneurship, an emerging business discipline.
“We’re at a moment in time when new ways of thinking about business and culture can have a profound impact on society,” said Khaire, who encouraged the deans and Harvard’s artistic partners to create the challenge. “The arts are essential to civil society, and if artists and artistic organizations are to thrive, we have to think about new models. The ideas the students have presented as part of the challenge are a significant step in the right direction.”
Announced in the fall and supported by the Office of the President as well as friends and alumni of Harvard, the challenge celebrates artistic and entrepreneurial visions, and grows out of an interdisciplinary partnership among HBS, the Division of Arts and Humanities in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), and the Silk Road Project under the leadership of Yo-Yo Ma ’76.
The inaugural challenge attracted entries from 70 teams across 13 Harvard Schools.
HBS Dean Nitin Nohria, who presented the awards along with his co-chair, FAS Dean Diana Sorensen, commented on how the challenge broke down boundaries. “Who would have thought, for example, that the two of us would be working together on an endeavor of this kind?” he said to Sorenson. “To my mind, that’s what this venture is about: making unexpected connections and enabling remarkable things. In many ways, that’s the spirit of the i-lab.”
“Many of the problems we are facing today are interdisciplinary in nature. These teams have leveraged their passions, talents, and learning from all corners of the University to meet these challenges head on,” said Gordon Jones, managing director of the i-lab. “The i-lab and Harvard are uniquely positioned to build on students’ skill sets as they tackle big problems and offer big solutions.”
Photo Credits (Courtesy of the Silk Road Project):
Photo One: Silk Road Ensemble Photography at the Overture Center in Madison, WI © Todd Rosenberg
Photo Three: Yo-Yo Ma speaking about cultural entrepreneurship during a Silk Road Ensemble flash concert at Harvard Business School in 2011 © David O'Connor
Photo Five: Silk Road Ensemble percussionists Sandeep Das and Shane Shanahan during a flash concert at Harvard Business School in 2011 © David O'Connor