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The IdeaFactory at Texas Christian University is a center within the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. We are dedicated to supporting the innovative and creative spirit of TCU students and then entire TCU community by providing an inclusive environment, innovative and human centered frameworks and resources to advance ideas and drive creative solutions

Supporting the innovative and creative spirit of TCU

To be the hub for human centered interdisciplinary and cross disciplinary innovation at TCU

Radical Collaboration
Optimistic Spirit
Fail Fast & Forward
Experiment relentlessly

Do Work that Matters




In 2010, Dr. Eric Simanek, the Robert A. Welch Chair of Chemistry was appointed as the first director of IdeaFactory by Dean Demitrius Kouris from the College of Science and Engineering. IdeaFactory was funded by a Vision in Action grant (VIA) and a National Science Foundation grant. With the support of Dean Phil Hartman, Dean of the College of Science and Engineering secured space in Rees-Jones Hall, a state-of-the-art instructional building in the heart of the university. Currently, IdeaFactory is part of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies with space in Rees-Jones Hall and is under the direction of Dr. Stacy Landreth Grau, Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation Practice in the Neeley School of Business. Associate Director, Cedric James, has been with IdeaFactory since its inception.


Human Centered Design.

Human centered design (HCD), also known as design thinking, can be defined as framework to translate creativity into innovation by focusing on human elements to understand users in a meaningful way by using primarily ethnographic research, synthesizing that data and identifying key insights that provide the foundation for understanding the right problem to solve. The framework includes tools to generate and select ideas and to prototype and test those ideas to maximize success. To accomplish this, design thinkers should approach problem solving possessing an open design mindset.

Life Design.

Using principles from HCD, life design is a framework, toolkit and mindset to help people to contemplate and act upon their options as the design their journeys in life. This includes first year experience, college experience and career choices while here at TCU and beyond.

Systems Thinking.

Understanding the overall picture is important. Systems thinking provides a set of tools and frameworks that helps design thinkers to consider all the stakeholders and all the consequences (intended and unintended) when examining a problem.

Social Innovation & Social Change Leadership.

It is possible to use all these frameworks to drive social innovation and real change. It is important to understand the problem to be solved and who is working on the problem before diving in. This framework includes tools and frameworks to help people lead responsibly and create social impact to change the world.