Ideator program at the Wond’ry receives endowment from Sullivan family

Ideator, a highly rated program designed to help faculty, students and staff members from Nashville-area colleges and universities evaluate promising ideas, has been endowed by Eric Sullivan, CEO of Quantum Technology, and his wife, Teri Steele, in honor of their family.

The newly named Sullivan Family Ideator Program at the Wond’ry, Vanderbilt’s Center for Innovation, takes an evidence-based approach to evaluating and testing ideas for further development.

“Every great invention or business starts with an idea. The Sullivan Family Ideator Program exists to help Vanderbilt innovators take those first difficult steps of moving from concept to reality,” said David A. Owens, the Evans Family Executive Director of the Wond’ry. “Ideator has emerged as one of our flagship programs. and we are grateful for Eric Sullivan’s enthusiasm, expert guidance and generous support as we set even higher goals for our internationally recognized innovation center.”

The Sullivan Family Ideator Program is a free, noncredit, two-part program, and participants typically have not yet formed a formal entity. They are at the earliest stages of developing and evaluating a new idea, product, process or service focused on a specific business, social or technological need they have identified.

“Our family is excited to help grow the Ideator program,” said Sullivan and Steele, parents of two Vanderbilt alumni. “We love new ideas and appreciate how the Wond’ry brings together ideas from many different disciplines. The Ideator and the Wond’ry have a focus on open-minded idea creation and disciplined idea development, and we are honored to be part of it all.”

The first two weeks of Ideator is designed to immerse participants in the process of evaluating ideas and finding solutions that address user needs. Aspiring innovators must demonstrate that the idea is worth pursuing and that they are committed to the process. The remaining three weeks of Ideator then provide a deeper dive into achieving problem-solution fit, with a focus on researching the potential for adoption, analyzing competing solutions and building a prototype.

Those who successfully complete the full Ideator program become eligible for microgrant funding and can apply to continue their journey through the Wond’ry’s Builder Program. Applications to join the Spring 2022 Ideator cohort are open through Feb. 6.

About The Wond’ry
Housed in a three-story, 13,000-square-foot space in the heart of the Vanderbilt campus, the Wond’ry offers state of the art makerspaces, virtual reality labs, workshops, training opportunities and programs designed to support everyone from budding entrepreneurs to community changemakers.