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Local organizations and James Madison University students using start-up research methods to solve urgent complex problems in our community.

About “Community Innovations”

“Community Innovations” is a course where students and faculty from across the disciplines partner with local organizations to respond to complex social, economic, health, and education issues. Working in cross-disciplinary teams, students conduct primary research (such as interviewing key stakeholders) to better understand their chosen problem.Using a variety of methods, student teams prototype possible solutions and share those prototypes with their sponsors and others. Based on feedback they receive, the students build on those prototypes to develop a final project for their clients which represents a detailed and considered response to the complex problem under consideration. Teams present their plans (which can take a variety of forms) and the associated research to their problem sponsors at the end of the semester. This course is co-sponsored by JMU X-Labs and the Leslie Flanary Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship.   


Students from across the disciplines collaborate with partners from the surrounding community.


Students from different disciplines form teams to solve complex and real problems


Students use rigorous and relevant research methods to develop innovative solutions to problems community partners face.

meet the teams

Click on the icons below to find out more about the teams, their problem sponsors, research process, and solutions.

gift and thrift

Working with Gift and Thrift to create a twenty-five-year sustainable business plan

suitcase clinic

Aiding the Suitcase Clinic in their mission to end homelessness

plains elementary

Constructing a World of Wonder for students to innovate, create, and play