Innovation Floor Off to Fast Start
Since it opened in fall 2016, the new home of the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science has fostered a culture of experimentation and creativity.
That’s especially true on the building’s Innovation Floor, the entry-level space created as an interdisciplinary project-based, co-working zone. It includes an incubator, innovation lab and event space.
Serving DU faculty, students, staff, alumni and the surrounding community, the open-access Innovation Floor is managed by Mike Caston. Previously an assistant professor of industrial design at Metropolitan State University in Denver, Caston holds a master’s degree in industrial design from North Carolina State University. He has operated a product and graphic design firm for the past decade.
Since January, the Innovation Floor has offered more than 25 free workshops covering everything from laser engraving and 3-D printing to industrial sewing. Caston also has collaborated with roughly 10 DU and 10 community organizations, with additional partnerships in development. What’s more, the Innovation Floor has played a critical role in helping launch or develop five student businesses.
In the weeks and months ahead, Caston says he plans to “continue reaching out to all DU students, faculty and staff to bring awareness around and provide resources for creative projects, STEM-based learning opportunities, collaborative co-working and entrepreneurial ventures.”
He also aims to extend existing Innovation Floor offerings to DU alumni and the surrounding community, form a student-run “Maker Club,” and develop a DU Innovation Center offering interdisciplinary services to facilitate entrepreneurial ventures.