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Integration of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Elements: The Whole is Greater than the Sum of the Parts

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


Mary Raber Michigan Technological University

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Mary Raber currently serves as Assistant Dean for Academic Programs for the Pavlis Honors College, and co-Director of the newly created Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship at Michigan Technological University. Prior to this role, she was responsible for the development and growth of Michigan Tech's innovative Enterprise Program. Within the Pavlis Honors College her responsibilities include curricular development and assessment for experiential learning programs such as the Enterprise and Pavlis Global Technological Leadership programs. She received her BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and MBA from Wayne State University and is currently working on her PhD at Michigan Technological University. Before joining MTU she held various engineering and management positions during a 15 year career in the automotive industry.

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Jim R. Baker Michigan Technological University

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Jim Baker currently serves in a split role as Executive Director of Innovation and Industry Engagement and as Co-Director of the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE) within the Pavlis Honors College at Michigan Technological University. In this role he leverages his responsibilities for and experience with; industrial sponsored research contracting, technology transfer, startup business development, corporate relations into a bridge to student entrepreneurship, innovation and experiential education activities. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on technology commercialization and intellectual property law, is a licensed Patent Agent, holds a Ph.D. in environmental engineering, and a partner in a Michigan-based manufacturing company.

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At our university, we have carried a long-term goal and expectation of student start-ups and other commercial outcomes arising from our interdisciplinary student-led design program. Over the years, and through the efforts of a few individuals, we have developed pockets of programs and support resources to help those students follow through on their entrepreneurial interests. To-date though, we have largely fallen far short of our goals related to outcomes from those interests. Within the past two years, we have experienced a perfect storm of efforts, interests and activities that have aligned to allow for significant traction in the realization of a cohesive set of resources…what we refer to as an integrated I&E Ecosystem. The goals of our integrated ecosystem include the creation of learning environments that better engage students, faculty and staff in developing an innovation and entrepreneurial mindset, and the creation of a bridge across academic units to help foster collaboration throughout the campus community.

Through this paper we propose to share our journey to creating an Innovation & Entrepreneurship ecosystem on our campus including information on the programs, individuals and networks that have helped us to move forward along the way as well as our efforts to assess the state of evolution of the I&E Ecosystem. Through the efforts of a few champions who have maintained a passion for creating this ecosystem, the creation of an interdisciplinary college, participation in transformative programs such as I-Corps, Pathways to Innovation and University Innovation Fellows, as well as support from entrepreneurial alumni, we will share how a ten-year journey is finally generating a cultural change on our campus and the lessons we’ve learned along the way.

Raber, M., & Baker, J. R. (2016, June), Integration of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Elements: The Whole is Greater than the Sum of the Parts Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25428

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