June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
26.1477.1 - 26.1477.8
Teaching Innovation and Economic Content to Materials Science and Engineering Students: Innovation for Materials Intensive Technologies and IndustriesThree years ago, The School of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University implemented“Teaching Innovation” as an initiative of the Dean’s office. Subsequently a course, “Inventionand Innovation in Materials Intensive Technologies” was developed and offered as an electivesuitable for fulfilling requirements in both the Material Science and Engineering and theEngineering and Public Policy programs. We are currently in the second offering of this contentand our student cohort primarily draws from the senior undergraduate student population,however we note that as science and engineering students, few have been exposed to more than acursory look at business operations or to product development and commercialization strategies.With all products being comprised of materials, innovative changes in material selection,processing, and material properties can be felt in almost every business sector. Many innovationsclaimed at the product level are in fact traceable to, or made possible by innovation in materials.Few if any other engineering disciplines have such a wide influence. This course is unique as ithas been constructed specifically to dissect the commonly accepted interpretation of innovationand re-assemble the process with materials and the materials business in mind.This course begins by exploring the academic formalizations of the invention and innovationprocess in a general fashion and then introduces the difficulties commonly experienced withmaterial-centric invention, innovation and commercialization. This is done by presenting therisks, issues, and opportunities associated with these five topics: (a) materials research anddevelopment, (b) materials processing and process development, (c) design and selection ofmaterials for products, (d) environmental concerns, and (e) business strategies for materialsproducers. Our student cohort makes this task challenging as we need to convey our message toscience focused and engineering focused student with materials science or from other disciplineswith interest in engineering public policy. To provide continuity in the coursework, studentsselect a novel materials based innovation at the beginning of the semester and follow it throughthese various topics and presenting on their findings at the end of the term.
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