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  • Demo Day

  • Resources for Batch Participants

  • Resources


    For Batch Participants: team-restricted access to batch resources

    For the Selection Commmittee: committee interest form, job descrition, and access to committee-restricted materials

    For Innovators: podcasts, books, articles, team exercises, and advancement-related ideas for innovators

  • People


    Batch Participants: Each batch includes a number of teams. Those teams are comprised of a small number of members, not to exceed six. The participants self select into roles like chief innovator, head of growth, technical lead, user experience lead, or others as designed within each team.

    Selection Committee: A Selection Committee of advancement professionals, academic partners, industry experts, technologists, and alumni advise Accelerator operations by identifying preferred verticals or horizontals for upcoming batch application cycles; selects initiatives and teams for batches; identifies and provides introduction to potential partners within and outside the University; serves as a “corporate advisory board” for Demo Day; and advocates on behalf of the Accelerator.

    Advisors: Advisors are used throughout the accelerator process and may be industry experts, alumni, faculty, etc. with knowledge specific to a team’s initiative. They are encouraged to communicate regularly with teams and are invited to attend meetings with Batch participants at least once per year as well as partner alongside initiatives in a guidance and expertise role. Advisors are also invited to attend Demo Day.

    Staff: UIF Strategic Innovation staff support UIDEA, connecting teams with advisors, holding weekly check-ins with batch participants, recruiting and staffing the Selection Committee, investigating potential opportunities for disruption or growth, advising teams, etc.

  • Welcome

    Twice per year, the University of Illinois Foundation provides seed funding for initiatives that will enable the University advancement program to adapt rapidly to changing industry or customer needs. These quick-to-market strategies, programs, products, or technologies represent new ideas or entirely new spins on old ideas in the higher education advancement or charitable giving spaces.

    UIDEA was designed to embed a spirit of innovation throughout the advancement enterprise, reflective of the innovation exhibited by the students, faculty, and staff at our great universities. Strategic and annual planning and budgeting activities provide the opportunity to address immediate gaps or to adopt best practices from other institutions. Accelerator initiatives by contrast:

    • tackle new areas of growth for UI (especially where the University of Illinois can lead the nation in particular markets);
    • translate societal and consumer changes from other industries to higher education advancement;
    • introduce new ways of doing business; or
    • disrupt the nonprofit industry.

    Read more about the accelerator process.

  • Ideas


    Our innovation ideas/initiatives run in five stages—Investigate, Design, Pilot, Scale, and Iterate, with the Design and Pilot stages being the critical components of UIDEA.

    Stage I: Investigate

    The preliminary work during Stage I can be done by the Strategic Innovation team for items in the pipeline, by users themselves who may be submitting applications, by tech firms who have already developed or scaled a minimally viable product to pitch as Stage III, etc. This pre-UIDEA refines ideas into preliminary intelligence about an issue or a quantification of the potential opportunity.

    During this stage, a preliminary business case or overview of the initiative may be developed, the analysis segment (a subset of the whole potential market) to investigate determined, and preliminary analysis performed, quantifying the market / potential and identifying leading stories. Attempts may also also made during this stage to assess data maintenance / integration opportunities for the advancement enterprise and to document data entry standards or system functional needs, if applicable.

    Information gleaned during Invesgitation will be shared as resources for potential applicants.

    Stage II: Design

    Teams can participate in the Accelerator in one of two stages, the first being design. During this stage, teams will focus their energy on deeper investigation and the refinement of preliminary intelligence into strategies, tactics, programs, and/or technologies to address that issue or opportunity.

    This design stage is finite, and the result should be either movement into Stage III in a subsequent batch or failure to develop a viable strategy, product, program, or process.

    Stage III: Pilot

    The second category of accelerator initiatives are those that are ready to pilot. These may be initiatives that have graduated from Stage II or those that have jumped straight to this stage, like third-party vendor pilots where investigation and design was done by the vendor, or pilots in which units want to vet a strategy quickly. During this stage, the team launches an initial proof of concept for a subset of the UIDP, adjusting and planning for scalability across enterprise or industry.

    This pilot stage is finite, and the result should be either scaling into normal business practices or failure of pilot. In rare cases with successful pilots, the Selection Committee may opt to retain an initiative in UIDEA during its first Scaling instance.

    Stage IV: Scale

    In most cases, the Scale stage extends the innovation initiative to the University of Illinois Development Program (UIDP) (either to additional adopters beyond the pilot group or across the entire UIDP). At this point, the initiative is no longer considered part of the accelerator—except in rare circumstances where the Selection Committee has opted to support the initiative through its first scaling—as the initiative becomes a normal business program. A scaled initiative is considered an Exit.

    The scale stage is not finite and may continue until the initiative is fully deployed across UIDP or is retired.

    Stage V: Iterate

    Once scaled, tweaks or modifications to the initiative are made by the normal UIF/UI business or technology teams, and all related expenditures are part of the normal budget cycle. Iteration requests follows the traditional UIDP procedures for implementing strategic / technology changes, like tickets, governance, budget requests, etc.

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