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Spark: A space for social innovators to combine ideas with networks

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Spark Workshop

Disrupting Distrust:
How Can Startups Help Ease The Tensions
Between Urban Communities and Law Enforcement?

Facilitated By Alphonzo Terrell '05CC,
Co-Founder of Rise

With Special Guest Speaker
Robert Gangi '65CC,
Director of the Police Reform Organizing Project

Tuesday, November 15, 2016
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Uris Hall, Room 329
Register Here


In response to chronic outbreaks of law-enforcement related violence in the U.S., Brooklyn-based pro-social startup Rise is partnering with the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at the Columbia Business School to facilitate a community-wide colloquium / workshop – inviting the students of Columbia and the entrepreneurial community in NYC at large.

The goal of the workshop will be to discover ways in which everyday people can be empowered through creativity, technology, and partnerships to address longstanding issues that have risen to forefront of our national consciousness in recent months, in line with the overall mission of the Rise platform.

Guest speaker Robert Gangi, CC ’65, Director of the PROP (Police Reform Organizing Project), will bring 20+ years of experience in the field to help guide workshop participants and evaluate the proposals they share at the end.

Workshop Details
The structure of the workshop will be built around an opening presentation from the founders of cause marketing start-up Rise regarding the purpose of the workshop activity. The room will then count-off into smaller groups and participate in an hour-long brainstorming session using the “idea vomiting” technique originally developed by IBM.

The focus of the workshop will be to generate ideas for innovative products, services, or campaigns that will encourage and incentivize both everyday citizens and law enforcement to help end the cycles of violence in their respective communities. Following the presentation of ideas by each group, there will be a short lecture and Q&A with special guest speaker Dr. Robert Gangi for the final thirty minutes of the event.

In the following weeks, several of the top concepts may be selected to be realized as an activity within the Rise application, with the potential to be distributed to the more than 10,000 beta users, in addition to potentially influencing new feature sets within the platform. Beyond this, the Rise community will continue the dialogue online through regular newsletters, which will highlight how other organizations are successfully implementing tactics to help address the need. Finally, Mr. Gangi will be authoring an op-ed article on both the experience and results of the workshop that will be submitted to many of the leading New York media portals that regularly publish his work (i.e. NY Daily News, Huffington Post).


Spark provides Social Innovators with an opportunity to explore resources, connections and potential solutions to help their social ventures, by tapping the collective knowledge within Columbia University, and the larger entrepreneurial and social impact community in the New York area and beyond.

This workshop is open to all who are willing to bring their ideas, experience, and connections to help solve social and environmental challenges that these social innovators aim to address.

If you are unable to attend the above events but would like more information on Spark, please register for our mailing list.

For more information, or if you would like to suggest a future Spark workshop, please contact

This workshop is supported by the Lang Center for Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise Club, and Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School; the Social Entrepreneurship Club at SIPA; the Social Enterprise Administration Caucus at Columbia School of Social Work; and the Center for Justice at Columbia University.

November 15th, 2016 from  6:30 PM to  8:30 PM
Phone: (212) 854-1649