June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
12.1187.1 - 12.1187.11
Product Innovation Engineering Program: Training Students in Entrepreneurial Thinking
When measuring innovation in Europe, Sweden is in the top end concerning resources put into research; almost in the top concerning education, but behind concerning innovation. KTH, the largest technical university in Sweden, has set out on a path to create a systematic change affecting engineering education toward innovation engineering and entrepreneurial thinking in general. This article presents the overall idea together with examples of educational activities with a particular focus on a new course aimed at finding, selecting and developing innovative student ideas and motivating these students to start developing their ideas into new businesses.
In 2005, representatives of KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, together with a number of industrial partners took the initiative to develop a large national R&D- program with the purpose of strengthening Swedish ability in innovative product- and business development. A major aspect of the program is to create a systematic change in higher engineering education in product development, to push toward a focus on innovative product development, toward entrepreneurship and better utilization of student ideas. The intention was not to create new educational programs in innovation engineering, but rather to create a change in existing programs and curriculum. Examples are introduction of new courses in innovation engineering, integration between project courses, research projects, entrepreneurs and companies to better utilize student ideas and projects.
The aim of this article is to present the overall goals of the program, experiences from the establishment together with experiences and results from the introduction of a new large course aimed at bringing student ideas to the market.
Industrial and Educational context
The industrial history in Sweden can be characterized by a number of manufacturing companies that has grown to multinational corporations based mainly on technical innovations, with the examples of Volvo, SKF, Ericsson and Scania. The position is though challenged; several of the major companies have been acquired by international actors and the global competition forces decisions conveying that both activities and competencies disappear from Sweden. In a situation where work and related competence within production technology is transferred a worrisome development would be that also activities related to development are transferred to countries where the production now takes place1.
The potential to keep existing, and develop new, possibilities for businesses can be related to the ability to develop innovative products, organizations and businesses, within areas where a high level of competence exists in Sweden. From an educational point of view, Sweden is
Grimheden, M. (2007, June), Product Innovation Engineering Program: Training Students In Entrepreneurial Thinking Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2356
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