‘50 Ideas, 50 Solutions in 50 Days’ to spotlight Vanderbilt staff innovation, solve workplace challenges

As part of Vanderbilt University’s ongoing efforts to enhance the staff experience, a new digital suggestion box managed by the Wond’ry, Vanderbilt’s Innovation Center, is open for ideas from creative university staff members seeking to solve issues they have experienced with systems or processes in their work.

To introduce and build awareness about the suggestion box, which is called “Ideas to Solutions,” the Wond’ry is leading “50 Ideas, 50 Solutions in 50 Days: Innovating for the Next 150 Years of Vanderbilt University.” The goal is to bring together ideas submitted by staff and test them in working groups on April 4 at the Student Life Center ballroom. The event will be part of Vanderbilt’s 150th anniversary celebration and build on the efforts of the Future of Work Committee and the Faculty Senate Task Force on Administerial Effectiveness.

“This event will showcase the remarkable culture of growth and innovation embodied by our staff, who play a vital role in furthering Vanderbilt’s mission of teaching and discovery,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said. “I look forward to seeing ideas transformed into solutions that will make the university workplace even better.”

While the digital suggestion box will be open and accessible to all staff throughout the year, the deadline to submit proposals for the April 4 challenge is March 12 at 11:59 p.m. Central time.

The following criteria will be considered in selecting ideas for the April 4 event:

  • The idea should address a problem or need on campus.
  • The idea should be technically and financially feasible to implement.
  • The idea should have a measurable impact and make a positive difference for staff, students, faculty and/or the community.
  • The idea should have a plan for maintenance and continued success.
  • The idea should present a new way of addressing a problem or issue.


headshot photo of Dave Owens, who leads the Wond'ry
David A. Owens (Vanderbilt University)

“This event gets to the heart of all that we do at the Wond’ry to provide the expertise, insights and tools for solutions to critical problems—be they on our campus or across the globe,” said David A. Owens, Evans Family Executive Director of the Wond’ry and professor of the practice of management and innovation. “I know that the Vanderbilt staff will come forward with many outstanding proposals, and it will be exciting to watch the teams in action.”

Owens noted that the submitted ideas will not be made public; only the submitters and panel of judges will be able to view and comment on them. When an idea moves from one phase to the next, the digital platform will inform the submitter by email. The submitter also can edit their idea on the platform before the close of the challenge on March 12. People whose ideas are selected will be notified by the Wond’ry on March 20. Those whose suggestions are selected will be recognized for their contributions, and updates on implementation of solutions will be shared with the Vanderbilt community.

For more information or to submit an idea for the digital suggestion box, visit the Wond’ry Idea Platform, where the digital suggestion box is located.

Project Timeline

  • Official opening: Feb. 23
  • Deadline for submissions: March 12 at 11:59 PM CST
  • Review and selection: March 13–17
  • Selected ideas notifications: March 20
  • Pre-work sessions: March 20–31
  • In-person event: April 4
  • Final report due: April 14 (50 days from launch to final report)