The term Collaborative indicates that a group of faculty have made a commitment to each other to teach and/or do research together collaboratively across disciplines, schools, and colleges, and they include students in their work. They often have clients or community partners and expand the impact of the University of Cincinnati. Some have developed products and patents, others new ways to improve systems or service a need. All are multi-year endeavors and offer undergraduate students an exciting taste of what graduate work or professional careers in these fields might be like. Teaching in a Collaborative pushes the whole endeavor forward, since the topic usually relates to the consulting or problem-solving that the Collaborative as a whole is working on. Colleagues learn from each other in a sustained way as they move together from multidisciplinary towards transdisciplinary teams.
Two mature innovation collaboratives are UC Forward ventures: the Niehoff Urban Studio and Community Design Center, and the Livewell Collaborative. Both engage students in studios that combine design thinking processes with client's needs to innovate solutions for real-world problems. Both partner with community members and businesses who need our help. Students learn how to collaborate and create new ideas, programs, designs, or products that are multidisciplinary in nature. Faculty and the external experts and clients coach students towards their goals.