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BIG: Uniting the University Innovation Ecosystem

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Entrepreneurship Faculty Development

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.287.1 - 22.287.19

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Paper Authors


Douglas E. Allen Bucknell University

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Professor Allen, Ph.D., is associate Professor of Marketing at Bucknell University. His research and teaching interests focus on the use of a range of theoretically grounded interdisciplinary methods for understanding consumers’ relationships with products. In addition, he is also Co-Director of the Institute for Leadership in Technology and Management and has recently served as the Associate Dean of Bucknell’s School of Management.

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Steven B. Shooter Bucknell University

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Steve Shooter, Ph.D., P.E. is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Bucknell University where he has taught for design, innovation and robotics for 16 years. He has published over 90 peer-reviewed papers and been PI or Co-PI on grants from NSF, ONR, NIST, ARDEC in addition to industry. As a registered professional engineer he also consults extensively with industry on design projects and formulation of innovation strategies.

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Impact! Uniting the University Innovation EcosystemWhile there are many similarities and interesting differences among approaches to innovation invarious disciplines, there is always one common element: The strong drive to make an IMPACT.The goal of innovation is POSITIVE CHANGE, to make someone or something better. Acursory examination indicated a large number of activities at the University that are directly orclosely linked to the theme of innovation. These activities have been largely enacted by facultywho have a strong interest in a particular project. Many have been extremely successful. Whilemany of these faculty meet informally with others to discuss their initiatives and efforts, therehad not been an university-wide discussion. Faculty leaders in innovation from diversedisciplines gathered in a workshop to explore tactics to nurture, support and promote theseactivities and new initiatives. Specifically, this group of faculty from engineering, management,arts, humanities and social sciences met to: 1. Build an awareness of all of the diverse activities and identify how they tie into the Innovation Ecosystem. The outcome is a clear list and diagram of the existing and planned activities around the theme of innovation. 2. Identify university organizations and administrative support for innovation activities. The outcome is a clear statement of support from these administrators and organizations. 3. Establish a strategic plan for uniting the University Innovation Ecosystem that capitalizes on our uniqueness of liberal arts and professional programs. The outcome is a suggested roadmap for uniting the University Innovation Ecosystem. This includes desired outcomes and identified resources needed to achieve them. 4. Develop an interdisciplinary course offering for Spring 2011 called “Impact! Exploring Innovation across Disciplines”.The workshop has engaged faculty, students and administrators from domains of understandingacross engineering, management, arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences through theformation of BIG ([university name] Innovation Group). The primary goal of the group is tofoster the coalescence of a growing cadre of citizens in the University community interested incombining interdisciplinary perspectives and tools in novel and nuanced ways to addresscomplex and multidimensional challenges in the environments we inhabit. In the context of thiscollectivity, the term “innovation” is meant to be construed broadly, encompassing the creationof novel ideas that take on requisite form such that they provide some type of additional value(social, economic, aesthetic, etc.) to the world. This paper will describe the structure, methods,challenges and outcomes of the effort to unite the university innovation ecosystem acrossdisciplines.

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