The Sustainable Innovation Lab

Sustainable Innovation Lab

We are excited to announce the introduction of our first-ever Sustainable Innovation Lab.  It’s a small cohort, to learn how to make environmentally friendly products.  Specifically, crafts from up-cycled, recycled, or environmentally friendly materials, that can be assembled in a short period of time.

The lab leverages existing ideas, teaching how to brainstorm and build on ideas, prototype, and validate concepts.  At the end of the six weeks, you will have a prototype of an eco-friendly product that you replicate, and sell. 

Best of all, we’re doing this in partnership with the Star House – a drop-in center serving youth experiencing homelessness.  Our work program, Wild Tiger Tees, has worked with these amazing individuals for years, and we want to add new product lines to our work program.  We love working with these youth because they’re so full of ideas – and there is such an exciting opportunity for collaboration and ideas when you connect people from different backgrounds.

During this hands-on 6-week program, you will be learning about eco-friendly design, brainstorming up ideas, learning how to pitch and prototype those ideas, source sustainable materials, and develop a final prototype that you can use to validate your product.

Never developed a product before?  Know nothing about crafts, upcycling, recycling?  You’ll learn everything you need to, in a small supportive cohort where we’ll work together to develop some great products.

How did this come about?

Our social enterprise, Wild Tiger Tees, was built on screen printing.  We go out in the community for t-shirt orders so that we can employ and mentor youth experiencing homelessness.  But it’s messy.

We built Wild Tiger Tees as a side-hustle, which is a great way to test a concept.  It’s great because it is easy to budget costs per order. For our guests in the work program, it was fun and provided an opportunity for teamwork.

But, it wasn’t perfect. We learned that screen printing requires extra attention for training and printing, because, well, plastisol ink gets everywhere.  It takes a lot of upfront time preparing for a work session, and the post-session cleanup uses chemicals that aren’t environmentally friendly.

That last piece about the environment personally really bothered me, because the more I read about climate change and our consumption, the more I want to be part of creating solutions that have a positive impact – both for our environment and for our society.

On a side-note: a huge shout-out to Stauf’s Coffee Roasters – they have consistently supported Wild Tiger Tees by purchasing mugs from our work program to sell in their coffee shops, which helped us keep our work program running throughout the pandemic.

How does the Lab work?

This is a 6-week program, two hours each week, in person.  Each class will have a short learning session, with most of the time spent on group work developing our ideas.  We will finish the program by presenting our ideas and setting up our new products for success.

The Lab

What is the cost?

This is our first-ever sustainable product innovation lab… so just this once, we’re offering it… for free!  Spaces are limited, and there is an application process to make sure we find the best fit.

We are looking for individuals who are committed to the 6 weeks, with a curiosity for sustainability and a desire to create a positive impact in our world.  Our hope is that we develop new ideas that we can help produce and sell through our work program with Wild Tiger Tees.  But we don’t take any ownership over the ideas.  What you come up with is yours.

There are a lot of great product ideas out there that we’re going to use to start with, and then expand on and redevelop these ideas into something new and exciting.

These workshops will be held onsite in East Columbus, near Broad and 71.

What is the Star House

The Star House is a drop-in center for youth experiencing homelessness, aged 14-24.  We’re looking to provide more work program opportunities for these youth, so we will work together to build new ideas and create new opportunities for everyone involved.

As part of that, you are required to go through the Star House volunteering training and background check before starting the program.  There is a virtual training on June 21 at 6 pm.

The lab will start on Thursday, July 7th for 6 weeks:

  • Lab, Class 1: Thursday, July 7th, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
  • Lab, Class 2: Thursday, July 14th, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
  • Lab, Class 3: Thursday, July 21st, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
  • Lab, Class 4: Thursday, July 28th, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
  • Lab, Class 5: Thursday, August 4th, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
  • Lab, Class 6: Thursday, August 11th, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Apply Here

Interested? Spaces are limited and subject to availability. If we are unable to accommodate you on our first program, you will be given priority when we launch our next lab.

Questions? Drop us a note on our Contact Page.

The Lab
Sustainable Innovation Lab