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A Contextual Innovation and Process Investigation of an International Student Entrepreneurial Organization

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Student Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Student

Page Count

8

DOI

10.18260/1-2--36571

Permanent URL

https://strategy.asee.org/36571

Download Count

28

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Paper Authors

biography

Ryan Edward Lake University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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I am a junior in Civil Engineering at the University of Illinois. My research focuses on the domestic applications of Contextual Engineering and student motivations. I am also a clarinet in the Marching Illini.

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biography

Jessica Brooke Altenberg University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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Jessica Altenberg is a sophomore studying Mechanical Engineering. Besides engaging in Contextual Engineering research, Jessica is involved in American Society of Mechanical Engineers and TAMID. Jessica is a member of the Special projects team for ASME, working on projects for Engineering Open House and other events throughout the school year. As a member of TAMID, she also works on consulting projects for Israeli startup companies. Jessica’s research focuses on the application of Contextual Engineering in the realm of entrepreneurship. Specifically, she is looking at how entrepreneurs interpret and apply contextual thinking to their respective projects, as well as the effects of the use of contextual engineering principles.

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Arin Rzonca University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Kariem Hashem University of Illinois

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Junior in Civil and Environmental Engineering and member of the Contextual Engineering Research group since 2019

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Ann-Perry Witmer P.E. University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-7210-9572

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A research scientist, lecturer, and professional civil engineer, Ann-Perry Witmer is the architect of the emerging discipline of Contextual Engineering, which merges technical design with societal understanding to improve adoption outcomes. Dr. Witmer brings to the classroom her experience working as an engineering consultant in the United States and a volunteer on numerous drinking water projects with communities throughout the non-industrialized world. She holds a Ph.D. in Contextual Engineering, along with MS and BS degrees in civil/environmental engineering, as well as bachelor's degrees in journalism and art history. Her research group investigates the relevance and application of context to engineering and entrepreneurial processes both domestically and internationally.

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Abstract

Contextual project design is a process of applying sociological thinking to technical decision-making in order to create a project that better suits the context in which it will be used. While introduced in an international engineering setting, Contextual Innovation and Process (CIP) has become a method that now is applied to engineering and entrepreneurship projects, both international and domestic. Our research focuses on applying CIP to an international student entrepreneurial organization on the macro and micro scale. The intent of the research is to advise organization leadership on how to achieve more satisfactory outcomes for the stakeholders engaged in the student entrepreneurial projects. The macro scale examines the organization’s structure in the United States and how it interacts with and guides its university chapters; the micro scale applies CIP investigation to a student-led entrepreneurship project within one of those university chapters. To conduct our research, we interviewed students and leaders both within the organization and its chapters, then closely observed one particular project from conception. Our preliminary findings suggest that the structure of the organization defines and promotes particular student motivations and levels of involvement, which in turn significantly affects both the impact of a project and the student experience. But without chapter-level professional guidance, students fail to complete the projects that align with the stated goals of the national organization. Further complicating the achievement of stated objectives, we have encountered unstated objectives within the organization that potentially conflict with student motivations. While stated objectives are overtly promoted through organizational guidance and procedures, unstated objectives are more attractive to participants’ personal needs and are not acknowledged in organizational literature. From this we have learned that it is important to evaluate the multiplicity of drivers — both stated and unstated — before an organization can determine whether it is successful in meeting the needs of the participants and the organization as a whole.

Lake, R. E., & Altenberg, J. B., & Rzonca, A., & Hashem, K., & Witmer, A. (2021, July), A Contextual Innovation and Process Investigation of an International Student Entrepreneurial Organization Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36571

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