Change Accelerator

Applications will open for our second cohort of the Change Accelerator (formerly the Innovation Fellowship) on Monday, November 12, 2018. Join us in Chicago for a 6 month fellowship, learning to apply the tools of Design Thinking, Entrepreneurship, and Adaptive Leadership to your work at established institutions. Learn more about last year’s fellows here.


The UpStart Change Accelerator (formerly Innovation Fellowship) is a program in its second year that supports intrapreneurs* in the Chicago area looking to bring innovation and design thinking tools to their organizations. Funding for this program is generously provided by our funding partners, and there is no charge to participating organizations.

*What is an Intrapreneur? Intrapreneurs make change from within established organizations, helping their organizations innovate faster and better using proven methods adapted from startups. 

graphic about programThrough group labs and coaching sessions focused on addressing real world opportunities and challenges, fellows learn to apply innovation skillsets. This fellowship is a great opportunity to learn new frameworks for understanding and advancing your work. We are excited to teach you Design Thinking, Adaptive Leadership, Customer Discovery, Environmental Scanning, Opportunity Framing, Ideation and Co-creation, and Prototyping.
At the culmination of the fellowship, participants will build a prototype of a new program or project, applying their knowledge learned throughout the program. Fellows will showcase their new idea at an event with local lay leaders, professionals, and stakeholders.


UpStart Change Accelerator Fellows:

    • Identify opportunities to create change within their organization
    • Apply Design Thinking and Adaptive Leadership methodology to address a particular opportunity for innovation in their work
    • Test a new project or process in their organization
    • Gain a community of practice with other intrapreneurs in the Chicago Jewish community to support their efforts to be changemakers from within

Learn about eligibility, the application process, and key dates here.


Participating in this program has provided me along with senior leadership at JUF, the opportunity to collaborate and really think through a specific challenge in a methodical way.” – Cohort 1 Fellow

“[This work] brought me back to focusing on our students’ needs instead of other factors like finances, program history, etc…” – Cohort 1 Fellow

“I’m very satisfied with my staff’s participation! The step-by-step guidance and encouragement, along with timelines, kept her and our team accountable and moving forward.” – Supervisor of Cohort 1 Fellow