The Illinois Technology Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the development of the technology talent pipeline in the State of Illinois.

Creativity and Sophistication Drive Student Solutions to UL Business Challenges

Contact:Steven Wilt – Executive Director

Center for Innovative Thinking   630.258.1381

July 23, 2013 – Chicago, IL – The Center for Innovative Thinking (CFIT) paired with UL (Underwriters Laboratories), of Northbrook, Illinois, in its inaugural course conducted at Robert Morris University (RMU) this spring.  The course was designed to expose students from universities across the city to real-world business situations in the safety of a classroom setting.  Applying innovative creative thinking techniques and idea generation approaches, a group of graduate and undergraduate students presented their ideas to their UL sponsor, Mr. Bill Pittges, Director, CIO Services.  Mr. Pittges expressed his pleasure not only with the results, but with the student’s demonstration to think strategically on such a complex issue.  “UL is pleased and honored to be a part of the CFIT experience.  The opportunity to challenge the students with a real-world problem and receive innovative ideas for dynamic solutions in return was a real gift.  The students applied strategic thinking techniques and truly brought a fresh, outside perspective.    This is an experience they would not otherwise get from a classroom setting.  They really knocked it out of the park.”


The course included in-class lectures, discussions, and group work, as well as a tour of the campus of UL, including the famous UL testing laboratories.  This first-hand look at the services UL provides offered the students a solid foundation to visualize new products and services UL could develop to continue its mission to promote safety.  “We are grateful to Bill and the whole UL organization for providing us with an opportunity to teach students how to be more productive in their chosen profession,” says Steven Wilt, Executive Director of The Center for Innovative Thinking.


The Center for Innovative Thinking, through the Illinois Technology Foundation, provides a unique learning environment where local business leaders team with students from participating universities throughout the city to work on their own active problems.  “We know the skills our students developed this semester in creative thinking, innovation, and change will make them more competitive as they search for their next professional opportunity,” adds Bill Waas, Chairman and CEO of the Illinois Technology Foundation.



The Center for Innovative Thinking is a student-based organization formed through the Illinois Technology Foundation.  Its mission is focused on developing creative thinking competencies in students through experiential learning gained from addressing real challenges and opportunities for participating businesses.   The Illinois Technology Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the development of the technology talent pipeline in the State of Illinois by creating and coordinating mentorships, internships and networking opportunities.  The ITF is the philanthropy arm of the Illinois Technology Association (ITA), a membership organization of more than 700 Illinois technology companies who support the development of a stronger technology talent pipeline in the region.



About UL

UL is a premier global independent safety science company with 120 years of history. Its more than 10,000 professionals are guided by UL mission of creating safer working and living environments. Serving customers in over 100 countries, UL continually advances safety science to meet an expanding and evolving definition of safety in the global marketplace. For more information on UL’s family of companies and network of 131 laboratory, testing, and certification facilities, go to

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