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Effectual Thinking: A Systematic Approach for Teaching Entrepreneurship as Part of a Design and Manufacture Lab

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Ethics Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.464.1 - 24.464.13

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Paper Authors


Sangarappillai Sivaloganathan United Arab Emirates University

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Dr. Sivaloganathan is an associate professor at the United Arab Emirates University and program director for the M.Sc. in engineering management. An eminent researcher in design theory and methodology, he has published more than 70 papers in reputed journals and conferences. His research interests are design theory and methodology, CAD and applied FEA.

Dr. SivaloganathanHe graduated from the University of Sri Lanka in 1976. After a year of post-graduation training in the Railway Workshops, he joined the cement industry where he worked for 10 years. He got his M.Sc. from the University of Aston in 1981 and his Ph.D. from City University London in 1991. He joined Brunel University, where he was the founding course director for the M.Sc. program in advanced engineering design, in 1995 and worked there as a senior lecturer until September 2011, when he joined UAEU.

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Rajesh Ganithi UAE University

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Mr. Rajesh Ganithi started his career in engineering with a diploma in tool-and-die making from NTTF, India in 1995. Over the next 20 years, he gathered enormous amounts of experience while working for a variety of companies in various capacities. He started with IRS Singapore Pte Ltd as mold maker for five years from 1995. He then joined Meridian Automotive systems, Canada in 2001 as a tool and die maker. In 2005, he joined ATS Automation Tooling Systems, Canada as a tooling engineer and then joined Prolink Molds Canada in 2008 as a manufacturing engineer. Training students in CNC applications was part of his work in the past few years in Canada. In 2012, he joined UAE University as the engineer in charge of the CNC lab. The lab was completely rejuvenated by Rajesh and he plays an active role in teaching and researching CAM and its applications. Coming from a practical background, Rajesh has research interests in strategies for machining-time reduction and material saving.

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 There   are   so   many   pre-­‐requisites   for   a   successful   entrepreneurship   in   manufacturing   but   the  fundamental   requirement   is   a   smart   idea   which   should   originate   from   engineering   and   technology.  Normally  a  societal  need  and  its  requirements  identified  by  the  marketing  sector  are  refined  as  a  set  of  final  requirements  for  a  new  product.  Thoughts  are  then  focussed  to  fulfil  this  set  of  requirements  which  thus  is  a  ‘causal  thinking’  towards  achieving  an  effect  or  goal.  If  now  there  are  no  requirements  or  set  causes   to   focus   the   thought   process   and   there   are   several   technologies   and   knowledge   components  lying  around,  the  challenge  is  to  identify  goals  that  can  be  achieved  with  these  means.  Saraswathy  [1]  named   this   as   Effectual   Thinking   which   is   the   inverse   of   causal   thinking   and   is   the   nucleus   of  entrepreneurship  since  this  can  identify  smart  new  ideas.  A  systematic  effectual  thinking  methodology  involves:     i. Choosing  the  technologies  that  have  to  be  put  under  scrutiny   ii. Carrying   out   trials   to   understand   the   entire   characteristics   so   that   the   technology   and   engineering  can  be  used  to  its  best  advantage   iii. Starting   reverse   mapping   or   effectual   thinking   to   identify   goals   or   entrepreneurial   opportunities   after  understanding  the  capabilities  of  the  technology.  The   methodology   was   put   to   test   in   the   Design   and   Manufacture   Lab   course   of   the   Mechanical  Engineering   program   in   the   United   Arab   Emirates   University   to   achieve   the   course   outcome   ‘Students  demonstrate  an  appreciation  for  entrepreneurial  opportunities  relevant  to  design  and  manufacturing’.    In  this  task  a  vertical  and  a  horizontal  CNC  machining  centres  are  the  technologies  chosen  for  scrutiny.  Two   groups   of   five   students   each   designed   a   pendent   for   a   key   chain   that   will   fully   exploit   the  capabilities  of  CAD/CAM  and  the  two  machining  centres  in  its  manufacture.  They  were  to  make  careful  observations   about   the   technological   capabilities   of   CAD/CAM   and   the   machines   that   they   can   use   to  assist   ‘Effectual   Thinking’   later.   They   were   then   asked   to   come   up   with   entrepreneurial   ideas.  Observations   were   made   on   (i)   Organized   structure   and   cognitive   action   (ii)   Scoping   and   information  gathering  (iii)  Consideration  of  alternatives  (iv)  Learning  experience  and  (v)  Quality  of  ideas.  The  results  suggest   that   Effectual   Thinking   can   be   used   as   a   structured   method   for   entrepreneurial   activity.   The  paper  describes  the  methodology,  description  of  the  case,  students’  entrepreneurial  ideas  for  products  or  services  using  these  machines  and  observations  described  above.      Reference:  1        Saraswathy  S.D.,  What  makes  Entrepreneurs  Entrepreneurial,  University  of  Washington,  2003.        

Sivaloganathan, S., & Ganithi, R. (2014, June), Effectual Thinking: A Systematic Approach for Teaching Entrepreneurship as Part of a Design and Manufacture Lab Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana.

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