The mission of the university has always been to provide a platform for the contest of ideas. In March 2015, the university made that contest real by launching the Idea Lab. The Idea Lab is Johns Hopkins’ online platform for crowdsourcing innovative ideas from faculty, staff, and students for advancing the goals of the Ten by Twenty and the needs of the university. All members of the Johns Hopkins community—anyone with a university ID—may submit and vote on ideas, and the winners get up to $20,000 apiece in funding.
Since its inception, the IdeaLab has awarded grants to 22 teams in five challenges aimed at strengthening diversity, advancing “one university,” encouraging sustainability, and deepening the university’s commitment to the Baltimore community. Winning projects have included ideas aimed at helping individuals returning from incarceration pay for housing, mentoring high school students in a project to build robotic cars, and providing a system to reuse dorm furnishings and supplies. Last year, more than 4,500 students, faculty, and staff, across every school and division, participated.