For people all over the world, 2020 will be remembered as a year when everything changed. The COVID-19 pandemic upended our lives in countless ways and completely transformed the landscape of higher education. Leveraging the skills of innovation and entrepreneurship, I&E quickly pivoted to the virtual world, delivering classes and co-curricular programs, coaching founders, supporting faculty innovators, and convening scholars all through Zoom. We successfully ran summer programming despite the challenges of virtual delivery, and we built new programming, such as Open Design + and the Summer Innovation Sprint, to engage students whose summer plans had been thwarted by the pandemic. And at a time of stress and uncertainty, we also sought to inspire members of the Duke community with virtual seminars, including the I&E Conversations series with senior leaders from the world’s most innovative companies, led by I&E Director Jon Fjeld, and the Duke Transform: Inside the Boardroom series for lessons learned and insights by Duke alumni founders.
As we reflect on this past year, we redouble our commitment to the work we do at I&E in service of the Duke community, understanding that in our globally connected and fast-moving world, innovation and entrepreneurship are more vital than ever before. Duke innovators—those who are creative, resilient, and poised to act—are the ones who will tackle the world’s most pressing problems, working to make health care, society, technology, and business stronger and kinder. We know that impactful innovation requires education, collaboration, and resources. By providing these to Duke’s innovators, we can make our entire community more innovative, build capacity, and increase impact.