University of Evansville

Changemaker Incubator

The Changemaker Incubator is a new space on the University of Evansville campus that accelerates the growth of social enterprise start-ups by providing space for social entrepreneurs to gather, exchange ideas, connect with mentors, collaborate with community partners, pitch ideas, and develop skills necessary to get their ideas off the ground.

The Changemaker Incubator is a culmination of several brainstorming sessions between UE students, Hafer’s design team and members of UE’s facilities department. During the interactive design process, students stated their dreams and desires for the new space while Hafer listened and interactively translated their vision into a three-dimensional computer based design model. With a small space and limited budget, Hafer’s designers were challenged to work with the students to make the most out of this project to ensure it was designed with creativity, thoughtfulness, and versatility in mind.

Upon entering the room, you immediately feel energized. This is due to the room’s unique color palette, furniture selection, and daylight filling the room. The majority of the space is covered with marker paint, allowing students’ thoughts to endlessly flow throughout the space without the need to erase and start over. It is also equipped with the necessary technology to handle long-distance and virtual meetings. Furniture selection was a key component to the successful use of the space. It was specifically selected to allow for innovation to occur in a variety of comfortable settings. Tables can be brought together to create one large surface for group discussions. Or, the furniture may be separated to provide several breakout group arrangements. A cantilevered custom-built marker board / divider wall was also created to completely divide the room into two separate spaces, which adds to the flexibility on-the-fly nature of the space. Students also have the choice of rolling chairs, eclectic bean bags and stools containing storage space inside. In the end, the Changemaker Incubator provides students a place to inspire innovation and encourages them to think far outside the box.