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The i3 Incubator is a space for social sector organizations to explore new ideas addressing relevant issues. A team of researchers and community experts provide mentoring, networking, and rapid cycle testing to grow new ideas into sustainable solutions.

Steps of the Incubator

Current Innovators 

Richland County Public Defenders Office 

The Richland County Public Defender’s Office’s Juvenile Reentry Program seeks to build a coalition of key stakeholders to examine, develop, and implement strategies to combat the challenge of juvenile reentry. The Reentry Coalition will create opportunities for stakeholders to support youth reentering the community and mobilize stakeholder’s involvement in these youth’s success.

Stage 1: Idea Selection

i3 will host its annual call for ideas proposals from its community constituents. Proposals created by community members are to be submitted through an online portal. All ideas will be evaluated by i3’s team of experienced researchers and social sector leaders. Individuals/organizations whose ideas are selected are referred to as innovators in subsequent stages. 

Stage 2: Project Planning

Selected innovators will meet with the i3 team to develop shared expectations and establish a project work plan with measurable goals. Innovators will return to this stage regularly as projects evolve and conditions change. 

Stage 3: Idea Refinement

Innovators will find that the i3 team can assist in key areas of idea development such as scanning existing research, conducting focus groups, and surveying community. 

After the complete analysis, the i3 team will develop innovation sustainability plans to nurture the idea through development.


Stage 4: Prototyping

Innovators will bring their ideas to life by creating the materials, processes, products and/or services that comprise their innovation through prototyping. Prototypes will receive feedback from stakeholders and experts in order to create a satisfactory product. 


Stage 5: Evaluation

i3 will provide rapid feedback regarding the innovation’s acceptability, workability, and impact. From feedback and further research, i3 will assist with evaluation planning, developing measuring tools, data collection, and analysis.


Stage 6: Outreach

After a successful innovation, the i3 staff will communicate by way of social media, brief reports, news stories and presentations to gain the support of community partners, funders, political leaders, and the community.


Stage 7: Grow

During the final stage of the incubator, the i3 team will help innovators plan for the

sustainability and expansion of the innovation.

Autism Academy of South Carolina 

The Autism Academy of South Carolina’s will launch their No Couch Campaign, a year-long process that will assist them in launching their Couch to Career program, which offers hands-on, work-based, extended job training and placement into employment for transition-aged youth with autism spectrum disorder, aged 14-24.

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