The Santa Fe Innovation Park (SFIP) is a laboratory for developing and deploying innovative approaches to complex, practical problems. Utilizing a unique method, SFIP  creates, prototypes, tests, and scales effective solutions to pressing real-world challenges in such areas as energy, education, and health.

SFIP emphasizes new problem-solving processes and creative collaboration, and brings together individual and institutional leaders from industry and commerce; public planning and policy; science and technology; and the design, art, and creative fields.

You can read more about this new approach here, and sample our blog posts and items of current interest below.

New Mexico Highlands University, one of two core partners in SFIP’s affiliate the Center for Cultural Technology, will offer expanded opportunities thanks to a new degree program to be offered by the Department of Media Arts & Design. On November 17th, the New Mexico Board of Finance approved the MFA in media arts and cultural technology in a unanimous vote. According to Professor Miriam Langer, the new MFA program will build upon a strong 10-year partnership between Highlands and the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs in the Center for Cultural Technology (CCT). The partnership places paid interns in museums and other cultural institutions throughout the state as part of the university’s one-of-a-kind AmeriCorps Cultural Technology (ACT) program. Each MFA student will be required to complete a minimum of 600 hours of internship in a cultural setting. Highlands is now submitting the new MFA to the Higher Learning Commission, the university’s accrediting agency, for approval. The new program will begin fall semester 2017. Read the rest of this entry »

The Microgrid Systems Laboratory (MSL), an SFIP joint venture with Santa Fe Community College, was pleased to help develop and participate in the Santa Fe Energy Summit of August, 2015. Convened by U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, in collaboration with Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzalez, the Summit “…brought together experts, business and tribal leaders, public officials, and decision makers to advance the clean energy economy in northern New Mexico through innovation, investment, smart policies, and collaboration.” Senator Heinrich sits on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and has proposed and promoted legislation bearing on several aspects of grid modernization.MSL logo

MSL Managing Director David Breecker worked with staff at the City and the Senator’s New Mexico office to help plan and design the event. MSL was then asked to form a Microgrid Panel as one of three break-out sessions (along with Tribal Energy and the Energy/Water Nexus), which met following keynote remarks from the Senator, and from distinguished guest DOE Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall. Video of the keynotes, including the Senator’s extensive discussion of the value of microgrids and MSL’s contributions, can be seen here, and a radio interview with the Senator and Mayor can be heard here. Read the rest of this entry »

We had the great pleasure of visiting Oaxaca, Mexico recently, an amazing city with striking parallels to SFIP’s home town of Santa Fe: a strong cultural, artistic, and culinary flavor; significant indigenous populations; and efforts to grow both a creative economy and a social impact ecosystem. The potential for collaboration was immediately evident, and the opportunity to do so presented itself serendipitously.

Oaxaca graffitiIn addition to outstanding cultural institutions, a well-preserved colonial-era downtown, fabulous restaurants, artisanal craft villages of world renown, and Zapotec ruins (including their capital city of Monte Alban), the overall spirit of the place is warm, friendly, cheerful, and welcoming.

Happily, we had heard about Hub Oaxaca, one of many “impact hubs” worldwide which share interests with SFIP’s impact investing collaboration, IN Santa Fe. A visit to their facility and conversations with key personnel proved fruitful, as we uncovered similarities, shared challenges, and potential solutions; and that resulted in an ongoing dialog with Daniel Oxenhandler, the new curator of the affiliated CATAPULTA  Social Innovation Festival about how we might work together under the framework of “sister social innovation cities” to collaborate on projects and programs, with the working project title “Viejo/Nuevo.” Read the rest of this entry »

The following post originally appeared on the Microgrid Systems Lab news page:

MSL Partner Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) and its Sustainable Technologies Center has received two funding commitments in support of its Microgrid Education Center (MEC), which now begins its planning and development phase. Together, these commitments address both curriculum and associated equipment and infrastructure, including a campus-wide functional microgrid testbed, in a way that supports MSL’s overall mission and objectives.

The Microgrid Education Center will provide technical training, ongoing development for industry professionals, custom training for industry, and upper-level courses and advanced degrees through university partnerships, along with “train the trainer” offerings for global applications. The electric industry workforce is graying rapidly, and will require large numbers of new workers soon, with concurrent growth internationally in rural electrification. In order to keep pace with the technological innovations affecting the industry, there will be a crucial need for appropriately trained technical staff at all levels and sectors of the industry, a need that MEC will help address.

Read the rest of this entry »

This post originally appeared on SFIP’s Microgrid Systems Lab (MSL) news:

Human, Social, And Cultural Practices Work Advances

MSL is pleased to announce that its inaugural research publication is available for download: Human, Social, And Cultural Practices For Rural Electrification Using Microgrids develops a critical set of insights and tools to ensure the success of rural microgrid (and other technology) deployments based on essential aspects of community engagement and input. This work was the subject of the MSL-hosted workshop in May 2014, and formed part of a Stage 1 feasibility study for rural deployments in India. MSL is now part of a consortium comprising MSL Members General MicroGrids, Inc. and The Energy and Resources Institute, along with Alstom Grid USA, India Smart Grid Forum, and India’s TERRE Policy Center, which is assembling funding for Stage 2 design and deployment work. In addition, MSL is developing the Center for Participatory Energy Practice (CPEP), and through it will support training and community engagement work in the field. Read the rest of this entry »

Santa Fe’s next generation of Social Entrepreneurs have arrived

After careful deliberation by an expert panel of judges, Impact Network Santa Fe (an SFIP collaboration with the Story of Place Institute) has chosen its first class of social entrepreneurs to venture on a five month fellowship to gear their businesses for optimum results. Social enterprises are those that harness market forces and utilize business skills and practices in order to achieve a social objective, and are a critical element of the overall INSF initiative.

The IN Santa Fe Challenge Fellowship is an opportunity for select social entrepreneurs to seed their projects, learn, grow and sustain their enterprises. It brings together a small number of social entrepreneurs for a five-month period with supporting members of the community to develop integrated business plans that can leverage the systemic impact of their startup ventures. These projects were selected through a competitive challenge, and winners will work closely with a team of topical experts and resource networks. Beyond the five-month “challenge” period, IN Santa Fe will continue to serve as a networking and resource support platform for these entrepreneurs.

Winners of the INSF fellowship are… Read the rest of this entry »

This post, on initial activities of SFIP’s collaboration with Story of Place Institute on the IN Santa Fe (Impact Network Santa Fe) impact investing project, originally appeared on the Santa Fe Startup Weekend blog:

“Social entrepreneurs recognize social problems and use entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to achieve social change. To be one takes courage, a keen mind and a big heart. —It’s no easy gig.”   – Octavious Murphy

Have an idea for something that could really benefit the well being of our community—or the world? Bring it to Santa Fe Startup Weekend!

At this year’s Santa Fe Startup Weekend, participants will get an introduction to thinking more broadly about the kind of social impact their emerging businesses can have.

IN Santa Fe (Impact Network Santa Fe) is championing the idea of “place sourced, impact investing,” to all current entrepreneurs and potential investors. IN Santa Fe’s design combines doing financially well with doing social good. Through the growing network being formed by IN Santa Fe Directors David Breecker and Nicholas Mang, emerging social enterprises can be aligned with potential impact investors to leverage social, environmental, and economic benefits within the communities they thrive in.

What’s different this year?

In addition to basic business coaching that all Startup Weekend events provide, social enterprise coaches will also be made available at Santa Fe Startup Weekend this year to help interested entrepreneurs in developing their “social impact plan” as an integrated part of their overall business concept. When participants get together to explore the value of their potential startups, they will be evaluated for more than just the bottom line. Judges this year will also evaluate those that are looking at overall impact on the society or group in which the venture seeks to market its product or service.

Through this year’s social entrepreneurship experiment, participants will not only get free mentorship, they have a chance to be chosen as a member of the IN Santa Fe “Social Entrepreneur Challenge,” to further learn about building their enterprise with free working space, startup support and connection to a growing network of local impact investors.

So to all those entrepreneurs who want to make a big difference in your community:  bring your ideas to Startup Weekend and join experts in the art and science of the business of doing good. Register here!

Read the rest of this entry »

SFIP’s Microgrid Systems Lab (MSL) recently took a significant step toward fulfilling the goal of integrating creative problem solving techniques with challenges and processes in other domains. The following post originally appeared in the MSL news blog on May 5, 2014:

In support of its human factors work on the DOE-India microgrid pilot feasibility study, MSL convened a cross-sector workshop of a dozen experts drawn from a broad range of  relevant disciplines and on-the-ground experience. The highly successful workshop was co-facilitated and hosted by the Santa Fe Art Institute (an affiliate of MSL partner institution the Santa Fe Innovation Park) and its director Sanjit Sethi, an expert in “design thinking” and its application to many problem-solving settings. It featured a user-centered design approach to the Human, Social, and Cultural (“HSC”) factors bearing on successful technology and energy projects in rural community settings. Joining Sanjit in leading the session were MSL General Manager David Breecker, and Christian Casillas, who recently completed his Ph.D. at the Energy and Resources Group of the University of California, Berkeley. Christian did his field work in community participatory energy planning in Nicaragua, and also has practical experience in India. Read the rest of this entry »

A team comprising SFIP’s Microgrid Systems Lab, the University of New Mexico’s Center for Emerging Energy Technologies, NM State University, and NM Tech has been selected to submit the New Mexico proposal to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, under its current EPSCoR funding opportunity. DOE’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DOE EPSCoR) is a federal-state partnership program designed to enhance the capabilities of designated states and territories to conduct sustainable and nationally competitive energy-related research. DOE EPSCoR addresses this mission by fostering competitions for scientific and engineering research in states and territories that have demonstrated a commitment to develop their research bases and to improve the quality of science and engineering research conducted at their universities and colleges. Read the rest of this entry »

SFIP’s Place Sourced Impact Investing project is now moving into implementation; and given the problems plaguing the financial sector, and its apparent inability to create true prosperity, this partnership with the Story of Place Institute may come at an opportune time. To quote Pavan Sukhdev of Corporation 2020, the market-centric economic model “…is recession-prone, leaves too many people unemployed, widens the gap between the rich and the poor, creates ecological scarcities that affect water and food, and generates envrironmental risks such as climate change.” We can do better.

Building on last Spring’s preparatory work, the PSII implementation strategy has two major components. First, it calls for the selection of a small group of pilot projects and social entrepreneurs, with whom we’ll work very closely to maximize their ventures’ potential returns across a broad range of capitals (e.g., financial, social, human, built, and natural), at the community scale.  Read the rest of this entry »


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