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Open Process for Entrepreneuring Team Collaboration: Parallels from an Academic Research Team to the Start Up They Studied

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Entrepreneurship Teaming and Collaboration

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1011.1 - 25.1011.12



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Paper Authors


Barbara A. Karanian Stanford University

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Barbara A. Karanian, Ph.D. teaches graduate design methods and a new REVS class on the car experience in the College of Engineering at Stanford University, using applied psychology and art for storytelling to facilitate student progress from the idea and prototyping phases to delivery. With a focus on entrepreneurial leadership, Karanian makes productive partnerships with industry and forms collaborative teams from the areas of engineering, design, psychology, and communication. She was the Michael T. Anthony Professor at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston from 2005-2009. Karanian paints pictures.

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Mona Eskandari Stanford University


Akshit Aggarwal Stanford University

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Akshit Aggarwal is a graduate student at Stanford University, majoring in computational and mathematical engineering.

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Felipe Pincheira Stanford University

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Rebecca Rose Krauthamer


Gregory Kress Stanford University

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Greg Kress is a Ph.D. student of mechanical wngineering in the Stanford Center for Design Research. His research activities include developing tools and methods to encourage radical creativity, modeling team cognition to predict design performance, and investigating trends in the future of the internet. Kress is an alumnus of the University of Michigan Engineering Physics program, the Co-founder of the Imaginary Lab at Stanford and a lecturer and coach for the capstone master's course ME310: Global Design Innovation.

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OPEN PROCESS FOR ENTREPRENEURING TEAM COLLABORATIONParallels from an academic research team to the start-up they studiedKaranian, Barbara; Kress, GregIncreasingly, student entrepreneurial ventures begin as emotional connections,artistic experiences and expectations for delivering on research teams. This paperexplores student team progress and responses to roadblocks while helping amaturing Silicon Valley start-up-IMVU-consider the role of avatars, creativeepression and social interaction in the virtual world. We believe that every newresearch team is like a start-up company. This paper examines the unique dynamicsof the research team during the evolving investigation and delivery phase all thewhile examining the underlying emotions and motives of participants in one virtualcommunity.“I rely on a no process or open-process environment,” claimed the graduate studentlead. Why? What are the commonalities or differences between the student ledacademic research environment and the company’s organizational culture? Howdid the team dynamics impact the results? Our goal was to seek a deepunderstanding of why users choose to spend their time and money to take part inthe online community-IMVU- all the while creating a productive entrepreneurialteam vibe.Our collaborative research team includes members from the areas of engineering,design, psychology and communication. Parallel consideration of two factors: 1)evolving research team dynamics, and 2) the need-finding interactions with usersboth inside and out of the IMVU environment, set the stage for insights onentrepreneuring. Surprising discoveries include a strong gender imbalance in thecommunity as well as users reporting that on-line “was basically real life.” Theteam lead discussed unknowingly using an open-process as his approach. Membersnoted a considerable lack of reluctance to prototype methods and teampresentations. They also reported a deliberate lack of specific planning that theybelieve contributed to a fun and productive team vibe. The full experiment offersstunning stories and compelling implications for creating effective designinterventions in team-based engineering and design classes as well as for thosepursuing the stories of compassion, empathy and transformation inentrepreneuring.Index terms –Open-team process, Entrepeneuring, Design Thinking, IMVU, SocialParticipation, Empathy

Karanian, B. A., & Eskandari, M., & Aggarwal, A., & Pincheira, F., & Krauthamer, R. R., & Kress, G. (2012, June), Open Process for Entrepreneuring Team Collaboration: Parallels from an Academic Research Team to the Start Up They Studied Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21768

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