What is the Evening of Innovation?

Here at the Annenberg Innovation Lab, we close out every academic year with a big gala event we call the Evening of Innovation. Showcased at the event are not only the student teams from that year’s CRUNCH Student Design Challenge, but many of the year's biggest projects from both the Annenberg Innovation Lab and the Blackstone LaunchPad at USC. The main spectacle of every year's event is the grand finale of this year's CRUNCH Student Design Challenge as each student team pitches their entrepreneurial ventures to a panel of industry judges.

The CRUNCH Student Design Challenge

The pitch competition is the culmination of the CRUNCH Student Design Challenge course, an intense eight-week "startup boot camp" created by AIL Managing Director and Research Fellow Erin Reilly and co-taught most recently by AIL Technical Director Geoffrey Long, AIL Research Associate Francesca Marie Smith, and Blackstone LaunchPad at USC's Lead Venture Consultant Ian Donahue, with designer/entrepreneur and friend of the lab Trevor Satterfield.

The CRUNCH Student Design Challenge is structured to enable student entrepreneurs as they aim to turn their ideas into startup successes through skill-based activities on topics such as determining your minimum viable brand and discovering ways to motivate customer.

Now in its fifth year, the CRUNCH Student Design Challenge has cultivated a thriving entrepreneurial student spirit on campus, collaborating with organizations at USC and tech industry leaders around Los Angeles and the world.

Each student team competes for the final prize: $10,000 in funding and the official title of Startup-In-Residence at the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab. Each team had a demo table set up at the event to show off their creations and answer questions, and then had four minutes apiece to pitch their startups to the audience and the panel of judges.

Over three years, this program has seen two of our CRUNCH winners go on to participate in accelerators, raise additional funds and launch their startups.

Project Showcase from AIL and Blackstone LaunchPad at USC

In addition to the CRUNCH startup competition, the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab showcases a number of its research projects, as well as a number of student entrepreneur projects from the Blackstone LaunchPad at USC.

By bringing all of these project showcases together for the Evening of Innovation, we get the chance to share with our friends, family, faculty, sponsors, the public and each other the huge breadth of work being done here at the Annenberg Innovation Lab, and gives everyone a great chance to meet each other, celebrate each others’ work, and spark ideas for how we might collaborate moving forward. If you'd like to be a part of that, consider yourself invited to next year's event – but there's no reason to wait that long. Reach out to us here at the lab, and let us know how you'd like to come play!

2015 Evening of Innovation


Learn about the teams and projects from Spring 2015.

CRUNCH Student Design Challenge + Incubator

Prefound - Winner of the 2015 Crunch Challenge!

Prevail Games and Bridge to Solas - Winner of the Audience Choice Award

Freeform Labs and ElemenTerra



Stunt Players

The Edison Project: The New Screens

Tangible Storytelling: Winklebeans

The Edison Project: The New Metrics + Measurement

Fans.Passions.Brands. Global Football Study

Fans.Passions.Brands. Global Music Study

The Edison Project: The New Public Spaces

Situated Engagement: PiPhone

World Building LA

Augmented Reality + Virtual Reality Journalism

Blackstone LaunchPad USC


AIO Robotics

FOMO Coffee

Pulp Pantry

Lucky Day

Sassy Spirituality

2014 Evening of Innovation

Learn about the teams and projects from Spring 2014.

CRUNCH Student Design Challenge

XCLU  - Winner of the 2014 Crunch Challenge!

College Knowledge Los Angeles (CKLA)





The Edison Project: The New Screens

360-Degree Storytelling

Tangible Storytelling

Augmented Storytelling

Augmenting Accessibility

DSAIL: Black Twitter

Sports Media & Entertainment Fan Engagement Strategy

Athena News


Situated Engagement

Sankofa RED

Learn It!

Bench Beats