June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
11.530.1 - 11.530.16
Embedding Innovation Process and Methodology in Engineering Technology and Business Management and Marketing Coursework
For many business segments, true “out of the box” innovation occurs in entrepreneurial companies where the founders aren’t hindered with the research paradigms established by mainstream businesses. The founders of these companies, many times technologists and scientists, see the application of the technology long before potential customers develop an understanding of the capabilities that the new technology can bring to the marketplace. Many times these “new technology ideas” have been developed though modifying an existing dominant design (product or service) to meet an unforeseen market need or through the development of a new design that may become the new industry standard. The competitors of tomorrow may reside in radically different markets yet have the insight to envision the application or modification of an existing technology to a market segment that they are currently not involved in.
Teaching engineering technology students techniques and visioning tactics related to the innovation process has been difficult. Several of the authors have experienced, both in the classroom and in industrial settings, that many engineering and engineering technology students see innovation as the application of engineering principals resulting in small incremental changes in a process. Although these changes may result in a more efficient process through increased productivity, reduced waste, faster cycle times, etcetera; continuous improvement projects many times do not generate the dramatic market changes seen with a new dominant design. In fact in many established industries, disruptive innovation is discouraged in favor of continuous innovation because of the uncertainty of the risk/reward quotient and the impact that failed experimentation (increased research and development costs) can have on Wall Street’s perception of a company. Our university recently merged the colleges of Business and Technology and Applied Sciences resulting in a cross-pollinated faculty and the establishment of courses in the graduate and undergraduate curriculum where business and engineering technology student’s work together on class projects, many of which involve an innovation component.
It is interesting that many of the faculty who incorporate a discussion or exercise related to the innovation process in their classroom have had extensive experience in an industrial setting prior to joining the university faculty. Industry seasoned faculty bring their “real-world” experience to the classroom and challenge students to move beyond continuous improvement projects. In several cases, ideas generated in the classroom or through collaborative efforts between the business and technology faculty have resulted in prototypes being built in the laboratory for further testing of the prospective innovation.
The presence of a technology-centered business incubator located within walking distance from campus provides students the opportunity to observe several high technology businesses that have developed new technology niches in established market
Clark, W. A., & Sims, J. P., & Turner, C. A., & Smith, J. L. (2006, June), Embedding Innovation Process And Methodology In Engineering Technology And Business Management And Marketing Courses Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--920
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