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Using Simulation Experiences, Real Customers, and Outcome Driven Innovation to Foster Empathy and an Entrepreneurial Mindset in a Sophomore Engineering Design Studio

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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

New Tools for Teaching Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Cristi L. Bell-Huff Lawrence Technological University

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Cristi L. Bell-Huff, PhD is the Director of the Studio for Entrepreneurial Engineering Design at Lawrence Technological University where she teaches courses on fundamentals of engineering design projects and entrepreneurial engineering design. In addition to her PhD in Chemical Engineering, she also has an MA in Educational Studies and is a certified teacher in Michigan. She has industrial experience in pharmaceutical product and process development and over 15 years of teaching experience at the secondary and post-secondary levels.

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Heidi Lynn Morano Lawrence Technological University

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Graduated from U of Michigan 1995 with a Master of Mechanical Engineering - Applied Mechanics.
Taught as an adjunct instructor in the ME department at Lawrence Technological University for 11 years.
Hired in 2015 as full-time staff in the Engineering Dean's office as a Project Engineer (with teaching responsibilities) for the Studio for Entrepreneurial Engineering Design.

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For many years, Lawrence Technological University has been engaged in a campus wide effort to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in our engineering undergraduates. As part of this effort, we have intentionally created opportunities at all levels of our curriculum for students to practice an enterprising attitude. At the sophomore level these opportunities take the form of a team based, multidisciplinary, engineering design experience in our EGE 2123: Entrepreneurial Engineering Design Studio course. In the design studio, students build on the foundation of entrepreneurial mindset development laid in our first-year introductory design course. As such, at the sophomore level, they spend a semester identifying opportunities for design within a theme, engaging real customers beyond the walls of the classroom, and creating a working prototype that creates value for these customers. The purpose of this paper is to describe some of the pedagogy used to foster an entrepreneurial mindset in this sophomore design studio course. Specifically, we will focus on aspects of the course in which students are identifying opportunities for design, interacting with customers, and determining how to create the most value based on the jobs these customers are trying to perform. Building off of lessons learned from the initial offering of this course, we have created a program that allows students to interact with actual customers through a partnership with a non-profit organization that helps people with disabilities in the workplace. We also foster empathetic design by having students engage in an accessibility simulation we developed to help our students understand the everyday experiences of people with disabilities and placing those experiences in an historical context. We also use the principles of outcome driven innovation to help our students gather focused customer feedback and identify where they can create the most value for their customers in the workplace. Assessment of the impact of these studio course activities on empathy and the development of an entrepreneurial mindset will be discussed based on the experiences of multiple sections of course participants.

Bell-Huff, C. L., & Morano, H. L. (2017, June), Using Simulation Experiences, Real Customers, and Outcome Driven Innovation to Foster Empathy and an Entrepreneurial Mindset in a Sophomore Engineering Design Studio Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27425

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