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Mapping Engineering Outcomes to the Lean Launch Curriculum in the Context of Design

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Beyond the University

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


Laura Hirshfield University of Michigan

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Laura Hirshfield is a lecturer and research fellow at the University of Michigan. She received her B.S. from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. from Purdue University, both in chemical engineering. She then transitioned into the engineering education field, focusing on the areas of design and entrepreneurship.

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Aileen Huang-Saad University of Michigan

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Aileen is faculty in Engineering Education and Biomedical Engineering. Previously, Aileen was the Associate Director for Academics in the Center for Entrepreneurship and was responsible for building the Program in Entrepreneurship for UM undergraduates, co-developing the masters level entrepreneurship program, and launching the biomedical engineering graduate design program. Aileen has received a number of awards for her teaching, including the Thomas M. Sawyer, Jr. Teaching Award, the UM ASEE Outstanding Professor Award and the Teaching with Sakai Innovation Award. Prior to joining the University of Michigan faculty, she worked in the private sector gaining experience in biotech, defense, and medical device testing at large companies and start-ups. Aileen’s current research areas include entrepreneurship engineering education, impact and engaged learning. Aileen has a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, a Doctorate of Philosophy from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Aileen is also a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Beta Sigma Gamma.

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Julie Libarkin Michigan State University

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Although engineering graduates could once be successful through acquiring technical proficiency alone, modern engineers are expected to master a wider set of skills to succeed in the workplace. They must be able to communicate effectively, lead and work with interdisciplinary teams, and design unique and creative solutions for open-ended problems, while considering ethical standards and global implications. In response to these growing expectations, engineering programs are evolving to better prepare their students for the workplace. One way that engineering curricula are addressing this is by the inclusion of design-based courses or projects, that give students a chance to work in a more industrially-situated context to develop both technical expertise and non-technical skills.

Recently, entrepreneurship education has emerged as a means of supporting engineering professional development in the modern context. Although entrepreneurship has traditionally been a focus primarily in business curriculum, engineering programs have recently recognized its value for developing important skills in engineering students such as collaboration, communication, and creativity. However, unlike design, the implementation of engineering entrepreneurship into traditional engineering departments is not yet widespread, due to limited time and space within both curricula and individual courses, and due to difficulties adapting entrepreneurship education pedagogies to be useful in an engineering context.

In this work, we discuss Lean Launch, an entrepreneurship curriculum that can be easily implemented into engineering programs and which shares many parallels to engineering design. Rather than focusing on traditional business model development, Lean Launch incorporates an iterative hypothesis-testing model built around customer need and constraints, akin to that found in engineering user-centered design courses. Through this approach, Lean Launch offers students the skill sets needed to iterate and explore user needs. The use of a Lean Launch curriculum can also aid in the development of important skills needed by modern engineers, such as communication. This paper maps the Lean Launch curriculum to engineering design outcomes and behaviors and a typical human-centered design process, to identify how Lean Launch can be used in engineering courses to meet the ever-evolving needs of engineering education and better prepare students for the field. By identifying how the Lean Launch curriculum supports traditional engineering outcomes, it is possible to integrate entrepreneurship education into engineering curriculum. This will lead the way to providing a framework for instructors to encourage the non-technical skills required and recommended for engineers of the future.

Hirshfield, L., & Huang-Saad, A., & Libarkin, J. (2017, June), Mapping Engineering Outcomes to the Lean Launch Curriculum in the Context of Design Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28651

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