Intelligence ++ accepting applications for a $10,000 showcase competition by VPA, InclusiveU and the LaunchPad

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Apply here by April 16 for the Intelligence ++ Showcase Competition offering $10,000 in prizes to support student products, services and technologies that can assist intellectually disabled people and their families. The event will be held Tuesday, April 26 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the MIlton Room, Whitman School of Management. It is sponsored by the College of Visual and Performing Arts School of Design, the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education (InclusiveU) and the LaunchPad at Syracuse University.  Intelligence ++ is an innovative, interdisciplinary program focused on inclusive entrepreneurship and design through a generous donation by Gianfranco Zaccai ’70 H’09 and the Zaccai Foundation for Augmented Intelligence.  The program culminates in a design and entrepreneurship competition each spring.

The foundation of the program is an inclusive entrepreneurship and design course, DES 400-600, taught by Don Carr, professor in VPA’s School of Design, with support from Beth Myers, assistant professor of inclusive education in the School of Education and executive director of the Taishoff Center, and Linda Dickerson-Hartsock, adjunct faculty member in the Whitman School and executive director of the LaunchPad.  A complimentary course, EEE453, taught by Dickerson-Hartsock, helps students build business models around their design ideas.

With an emphasis on interdisciplinary and collaborative innovation, the two-semester program is available as an elective to both undergraduate and graduate students from any school or college at Syracuse University, including students with intellectual disability from InclusiveU.  The courses are taught in Bird Library.

Approximately 6.5 million people in the United States have an intellectual disability. Approximately 1 – 3 percent of the global population has an intellectual disability—as many as 200 million people. Some neurodevelopmental, medical and physical conditions can co-occur in individuals with intellectual disability, including autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, impulse control disorder, and depression and anxiety disorders. The goal of the Intelligence ++ program is help individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families through the launch of new products, services and technologies to help them thrive in the community throughout their lives.

The flagship program is made possible through the support of the Zaccai Foundation for Augmented Intelligence, founded by Gianfranco Zaccai. The Zaccai Foundation seeks to develop, stimulate and leverage technological, educational and organizational innovation to enable and empower individuals with intellectual disability, their families and their communities to improve quality of life, enhance independence and productivity, lower cost and benefit society.

Zaccai, a renowned global innovator and designer, serves as a mentor for the course. He was co-founder of Continuum, now EPAM Continuum, a global innovation by design consultancy with offices in Boston, Milan, Seoul and Shanghai.

He will be attending the April 26 event and offering advice and feedback to the students, as well as helping select the showcase winners.

Zaccai is a champion of holistic and interdisciplinary innovation research, design and development. His vision has resulted in many highly successful category-defining products, including the Reebok Pump, P&G’s Swiffer and the Omnipod Insulin Delivery System. For more than 35 years, Continuum has been recognized for outstanding innovation and design for projects spanning medical devices to consumer products.

He is former chair of the Design Management Institute and past president of the Aspen Conference. He holds degrees in industrial design from Syracuse University and architecture from the Boston Architectural College. Zaccai also previously served on the VPA Council and was conferred an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts in Industrial and Interaction Design by Syracuse University.

For more information about the program, contact Don Carr at, Beth Myers at or Linda Dickerson Hartsock at