THE POWER OF COLLABORATION
A PROPOSAL FOR THE SARATOGA SPRINGS SMART CITY COMMISSION
September 1, 2019
Using Basecamp and Typeform, SMARTACUS is engaging the community in new forms of collaborative journalism focused on Upstate New York’s creative economy. These tools enable young people to interact easily online with community leaders, innovators and artists and to produce full-length feature articles for publication in our Legacies series and for Saratoga Today.
At the same time, the Saratoga Springs Smart City Commission is discussing the establishment of a Saratoga “maker space,” “incubator,” “accelerator,” or “innovation center” — some kind of facility to support new business development. We propose to ally with this effort by establishing SMARTACUS, The Saratoga Innovation Center. Once framed, this initiative can be fast-tracked because we own SMARTACUS.com domain and the SMARTACUS trademark. We also have this web platform in Squarespace, a simple “all-in-one” web site builder that can be easily learned by student writing apprentices.
Our proposal has three main elements outlined below. We look forward to discussing these with the Commission on September 25th.
Proposed Brand Development
A Campaign Based on Four Trademarks
In addition to our trademark on SMARTACUS, we also own trademarks on Voice of the Creative Economy and The New York Brainway. In the design below, Skidmore graduate Siwei Song brings these elements together to show how SMARTACUS will stand with other incubators and accelerators in Upstate New York’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
If the Smart City Commission’s wishes to proceed with development of SMARTACUS, The Saratoga Innovation Center, we will be prepared to trademark the name.
Proposed Student-Created Content
Stories that Support Regional Development
Initially inspired by Leveraging Regional Assets for a Vibrant Future, the master plan published by the Upstate Alliance for the Creative Economy in 2014, SMARTACUS engages young people in the creation of content that supports economic development. In a form of project-based learning, we show students how to research and write full-length feature stories using such collaborative tools as Basecamp and Typeform. In Round 1 of our Practicum in Collaborative Media last year, juniors and seniors in Jill Cowburn’s journalism class produced 20 profiles of leaders, innovators and artists who drive Saratoga’s creative economy. These stories were published Saratoga Today’s Lifestyle page and on our own Legacies blog.
If the Commission agrees that SMARTACUS should evolve into The Saratoga Innovation Center, we can launch a second round of the Practicum to support the initiative. Here’s the approach we propose:
Starting in January, 2020, we will invite 50 leaders in Upstate New York’s creative economy into the SMARTACUS Innovation Engine in Basecamp to be interviewed by a team of 50 student writers enlisted from Saratoga Springs High School, the Waldorf School of Saratoga, Skidmore College and SUNY Adirondack. The profiles these students produce not only will be published by Saratoga Today and SMARTACUS but shall also be interred in the Saratoga 2056 Time Capsule on Mount McGregor.
In addition to these centrally managed content streams, SMARTACUS can be a site for publishing and celebrating student works of all kinds. At Saratoga Springs High School, for example, there’s the full array of works by students in the Saratoga Pathways Academy and the Technology Education Department. At Skidmore, we have the creations of students produced in such programs as the John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative, Skidmore Saratoga Consulting Partnership, Kenneth A. Freirich Business Plan Competition, and an array of Applied Civic Engagement (ACE) courses.
Proposed Catalog of Opportunities for Young People
In Support of Project-Based Learning
On its way toward becoming the Saratoga Innovation Center, SMARTACUS also might engage non-profit organizations and businesses in maintaining an inventory of opportunities for young people who are seeking experiential, project-based forms of learning. A group communicators representing organizations around the city and county could easily collaborate in our Basecamp-powered Innovation Engine to maintain these pages: