Social Innovation Partners

GTECH Strategies

Growth Through Energy and Community Health (GTECH) cultivates the unrealized potential of people and places to improve the economic, social, and environmental health of communities.

GTECH was spun out of research conducted at the Heinz College of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University in 2007. Recognizing the distinct benefit of turning vacant spaces into green places, the founding team put ideas into action and trialed a range of strategies to help fuel a growing green economy in Pittsburgh. By farming Pittsburgh’s largest remaining brownfield, The Almono site, by hand, GTECH piloted the concept of growing biofuel crops to remediate land and produce biofuel feedstock. Proving that such an approach was successful in not just catalyzing change in a place but effective in bringing together diverse and complementary partnerships, GTECH adapted its approach to a community scale.

At the heart of GTECH’s original strategies is the premise that the process of improving places can be an economic driver. The effort of planning, designing, and most importantly implementing green strategies on vacant land can fuel a community development process – while stemming the often overwhelming challenges of urban decay and disinvestment.

GTECH: A Story of Growth:

Manchester Bidwell Corporation

Manchester Bidwell, founded by globally renowned social entrepreneur Bill Strickland, combines many seemingly disparate elements – adult career training, youth arts education, jazz presentation, orchid and flora sales – into a dynamic whole with a proven record of positively changing the lives of underserved populations in Pittsburgh and the surrounding region.

Its powerful fusion of mentorship, education, beauty, and hope creates a safe space in which students, young and older, can feel comfortable learning. They are so confident in their vision that they founded the National Center for Arts & Technology to create similar educational environments across the nation and the world.

Thread International and Team Tassy

Thread International started as a small group of dedicated social entrepreneurs and has grown to convert millions of bottles into raw materials and fabric each month – catalyzing real change in communities, starting in Haiti, that need it most.

Along with their sister organization, nonprofit Team Tassy, Thread was founded with the questions “What if we used job creation to change the way the world approaches international development? What would happen if we looked at trash as an opportunity to do good and solve problems?”


Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE)

In the fall of 2012, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) was created to strengthen the already bustling culture of innovation that exists at Carnegie Mellon and to accelerate the commercialization of university research and innovative ideas. In combining the proven strengths of Project Olympus with those of the Don Jones Center, the new center enables the sharing of resources, bringing together a broad range of educational and experiential activities focused on innovation and entrepreneurship-a "one-stop shop" for CMU faculty, students, staff, and alumni.


The Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment (CREATE) Lab explores socially meaningful innovation and deployment of robotic technologies. They specifically aim to:

  • Empower a technologically fluent generation through experiential learning opportunities in and outside of school. We define technology fluency as the confidence to author / creatively configure technology to pursue individual and collective goals.
  • Empower everyday citizens and scientists with affordable environmental sensing and documentation instruments, and powerful visualization platforms for sense-making and sharing of gathered scientific data - to promote evidence based decision making, public discourse and action.

Engineering and Technology Innovation Management (E&TIM) program

Carnegie Mellon’s Engineering and Technology Innovation Management (E&TIM) program is a one-year, interdisciplinary MS degree offered by the Carnegie Institute of Technology in collaboration with the Heinz College and the Tepper School of Business.

From nanotechnology to critical infrastructure, biomedical engineering to the environment, energy to information technology, today's opportunities and challenges have both technical and management dimensions.

The E&TIM program equips students for meaningful careers as leaders in innovation and the strategic management of technology.

Project Olympus

Project Olympus, a Carnegie Mellon innovation center, operates at the earliest stages of the value creation chain. It aims to augment and accelerate the process of moving cutting-edge research and great ideas to development and business stages through licensing, creating start-ups, and through corporate collaboration and strategic partnerships. Olympus provides start-up advice, micro-grants, incubator space, and connections for faculty and students across campus and with the wider regional, national and global business communities.

School of Design

Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design is one of the oldest and most respected programs in North America, with a rich history in Product (Industrial) Design, Communication (Graphic) Design, Interaction and Service Design. It is one of the only leading programs to offer design degrees at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels within a multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural research university.

Its programs provide students with an understanding of the pressing problems facing society today such as climate change, resource constraints, loss of biodiversity, economic disparity, pollution, loss of vibrant local communities, and privacy issues within a globally connected world
and the ability to work collaboratively in trans-disciplinary teams, which is fundamental to designing for complex problems.