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A Multidisciplinary Approach To Teaching Invention And Entrepreneuring

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.58.1 - 6.58.10

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Edward Lumsdaine

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1454

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Teaching Invention and Entrepreneuring Edward Lumsdaine Michigan Technological University (USA) and University of Nottingham (UK)


This paper describes the context, format, experiences, and outcome of three multidisciplinary team project-based pilot courses focused on teaching entrepreneurial skills and invention: 1. ME 490 “Invention and Entrepreneuring,” co-taught by two professors (from engineering and business) at Michigan Tech for multidisciplinary students during fall quarter 1999. 2. N1D041 “Creative Problem Solving, Innovation and Entrepreneuring,” a four-week intensive multidisciplinary course in a new one-year MSc in Entrepreneurship, Science and Technology program at the University of Nottingham during October 2000. 3. MODULE 12 “Entrepreneurship,” a one-week condensed course in a University of Nottingham part-time MBA program co-taught by two business professors in Singapore for managers and engineers in business and industry in November 2000. With special attention paid to teaching explicit thinking and creative problem solving skills and processes, as well as multidisciplinary and whole-brain team development, the student projects can result in viable invention – products or processes – that are patentable and can lead to the formation of a new business enterprise, as illustrated with some of the student project results. Students become excited about applying what they have learned and branch out into developing additional creative ideas and projects on their own.

I. Global Context, Philosophy and Motivation

Increasingly, industries all over the world are looking for people with entrepreneurial (or intra- preneurial) skills to gain a competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace. The growth of knowledge-based companies has opened new opportunities for people who can solve problems creatively and know how to assess risks and be inventive and innovative. Governments and institutions of higher education are involved in cooperative ventures to address this need with a variety of approaches. Because of many institutional and administrative barriers, introducing new courses and recruiting students to enroll in these courses however has not been easy.

ΠThe objectives of three new courses developed and taught by the author in the past year are: Students learn teaming, communication, and lateral thinking skills as well as the creative

Πproblem solving process applied to invention and creating a new business. Students learn the practical aspects of the patenting and licensing process, how to protect and market their ideas, and how to develop a business plan. They learn how to access and use

Πweb-based and other resources for starting their enterprise and evaluate entrepreneurial ideas. The student-centered teaching occurs in a just-in-time format; thus individual topics are

Πcovered and resources identified as needed by the chosen team projects. Students gain an understanding of the organizational cultures that enhance innovation.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Lumsdaine, E. (2001, June), A Multidisciplinary Approach To Teaching Invention And Entrepreneuring Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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