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Exploring the Dynamic Interactions and Cognitive Characteristics of NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Teams

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count

29

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30497

Download Count

119

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Paper Authors

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Kathryn Weed Jablokow Pennsylvania State University

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Dr. Kathryn Jablokow is a Professor of Engineering Design and Mechanical Engineering at Penn State University. A graduate of Ohio State University (Ph.D., Electrical Engineering), Dr. Jablokow’s teaching and research interests include problem solving, creativity in science and engineering, and high performance teams. In addition to her membership in ASEE, she is a Senior Member of IEEE and a Fellow of ASME. Dr. Jablokow is the architect of a unique 4-course module focused on creativity and problem solving leadership and has developed a new methodology for cognition-based design. She is one of three instructors for Penn State’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Creativity, Innovation, and Change, which has attracted 250,000 enrolled learners since 2013.

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Neeraj Sonalkar Stanford University

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Neeraj Sonalkar is the Executive Director of Human Innovation Design Research at the Center for Design Research at Stanford University. He studies interpersonal interactions to understand the behavioral building blocks of teams, organizations and regional innovation ecosystems. Neeraj invented the Interaction Dynamics Notation to visualize collaborative interactions, and is currently working with corporate and entrepreneurial teams to apply diagnostics based on the notation and improve team innovation performance.

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Ilya Avdeev University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

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Dr. Ilya Avdeev is a Kellner Entrepreneurship Fellow and an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s College of Engineering & Applied Science. Dr. Avdeev teaches multidisciplinary Product Realization course that merges engineering design practice with design thinking. Dr. Avdeev is a Director of the NSF I-Corps Site of Southeastern Wisconsin – a partnership of five Milwaukee universities (UWM, Marquette, Medical College of Wisconsin, Concordia and Milwaukee School of Engineering) on commercializing new technologies through Lean Startup training. He is a co-
founder of the UWM Student Startup Challenge program and a UWM faculty mentor of the Stanford d.school’s University Innovation Fellows program. He was also a UWM team lead for the NSF-funded Pathways to Innovation Program.

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Brian D. Thompson University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

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Brian Thompson is President of the UWM Research Foundation, Inc. He leads efforts by the UWM Research Foundation to bridge between the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the private sector through programs that include catalyst grants and intellectual property management as well as fostering corporate partnerships, spinout companies and student entrepreneurship.

Thompson is also Director of the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center at UWM. He is Co-PI on the Milwaukee I-Corps Site sponsored by the National Science Foundation, and helps lead the program which helps university based innovators explore markets for their technology through lean launch and the customer discovery process. He teaches new ventures as an adjunct instructor in UWM’s College of Engineering and Applied Science and the Lubar School of Business.

Thompson was previously Managing Director at TechStar where he helped to launch several companies including MatriLab which won the 2006 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Competition. He previously served on the boards of startup companies MatriLab and NovaScan.

Mr. Thompson was part of the corporate new ventures group at Hughes Electronics where he worked with early stage companies in consumer electronics, broadband services and entertainment. His technology background includes managing software development projects and designing and launching communications satellites as a system engineer at Hughes Space and Communications.

Mr. Thompson serves on the board of the Wisconsin Technology Council and has been active in fostering entrepreneurship in the Milwaukee. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from UCLA.

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Mohamed M. Megahed Pennsylvania State University

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Mohamed M. Megahed was born in Alexandria, Egypt and moved to the USA in 2003. He received a B.Sc. in industrial engineering from the University of Benha, college of engineering, Egypt 1999. In 2017, Mohamed received his first master’s degree in Engineering Management from the Pennsylvania State University. In May 2017, he joined the Penn State University as Graduate Research Assistant. In addition to working at Pennsylvania State University, he is a Six Sigma Green Belt Certified (SSGBC) from the American Society of Quality Engineers and a certified Engineer in Training(E.I.T) from the Board of Professional Engineers.Mohamed is currently pursuing his second master's degree in Systems Engineering.

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Pratik Subhash Pachpute Pennsylvania State University,Great Valley

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Pratik Subhash Pachpute is a Graduate student,currently pursuing Masters Degree in Engineering Management,at Pennsylvania State University,Great Valley Campus.He received his Bachelor's degree in Marine Engineering in 2009 from Mumbai University,India.

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Abstract

In 2011, the National Science Foundation established the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program to prepare scientists and engineers to extend their efforts beyond university laboratories and to help them accelerate the economic and societal benefits of NSF-funded research projects that are ready to move toward commercialization [1]. Each NSF I-Corps team has three primary members: an academic lead, an entrepreneurial lead, and an I-Corps mentor. All three members of the team participate in the I-Corps Curriculum, which provides real-world, hands-on immersive learning about what it takes to successfully transfer knowledge into products and processes that benefit society [1]. To date, more than 1,000 I-Corps teams have completed the “canonical” I-Corps Curriculum delivered at the I-Corps Nodes, with various degrees of commercialization success. A given team’s success depends on many external factors, such as the entrepreneurial and investment ecosystem, as well as easy access to customers. Our hypothesis is that internal team factors, such as interpersonal interactions and individual cognitive differences, may be equally important. As a matter of fact, the internal team structure is something that all NSF I-Corps teams across the country have in common.

The success of any entrepreneurial team (including an I-Corps team) is highly dependent on their ability to integrate and leverage the diverse skills, experiences, and individual characteristics of their members in productive ways, and to communicate and synthesize their ideas effectively throughout the entrepreneurial life cycle. Until recently, however, tracking the dynamics of these interactions was difficult to do in sufficient detail to understand exactly how ideas move through these teams and who is most likely to respond in different ways. The introduction of the Interaction Dynamics Notation (IDN) enables researchers to identify specific interaction behaviors within a team and to relate those behaviors to team members’ individual characteristics and perceptions, as well as team outcomes.

In this pilot study, we used IDN to explore the dynamic interactions of five NSF I-Corps teams engaged in a simple design activity and related those interaction data to cognitive characteristics of the team members, team design outcomes, and individual perceptions related to the experience. The individual cognitive characteristics we assessed included cognitive style, as measured by the Kirton Adaption-Innovation inventory (KAI), while team design outcomes included the novelty, usefulness, and feasibility of each team solution. Individual perceptions included emotional state; overlap with other team members; relative effectiveness of team experience; novelty, feasibility, and usefulness of design solutions; and degree of coping behavior required. Our findings suggest that IDN can be adapted to the study of entrepreneurial teams and their outcomes. The results of this study demonstrate the viability of this approach to investigate the dynamic interactions of NSF I-Corps teams, as well as product-focused design teams in general.

[1] National Science Foundation, Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, web site, www.nsf.gov/i-corps.

Jablokow, K. W., & Sonalkar, N., & Avdeev, I., & Thompson, B. D., & Megahed, M. M., & Pachpute, P. S. (2018, June), Exploring the Dynamic Interactions and Cognitive Characteristics of NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Teams Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30497

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