Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach


INSTRUCTOR: Robert Hacker


SCHEDULE: Tuesday, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Course Description

“We’re at the beginning of another golden age. When I think about the next big tech innovations, I like to distinguish between those that are incredible and those that are profound. Self-driving cars could be incredible. They can potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives. But new technologies that allow a paradigm shift in the way we solve problems would be profound. Many of today’s toughest problems exist because we are at the limit of what we can understand.” Eric Schmidt (former CEO of Google)

This course is for students studying science, engineering, economics and entrepreneurship interested to use transformative research to develop innovative approaches to solve social and market problems.

The course begins with a detailed examination of transformative research (and fundamental principles), using the National Science Foundation (NSF) definition of the term. Then the course explores how to define “opportunity” as a means to select a research topic. A five-step process of innovation is then presented using concepts from the renowned child development scholar Jean Piaget and the Krebs Creativity Cycle developed at the MIT Media Lab. The course concludes with the development of select principles in entrepreneurship, including value creation, competitive advantage and business concept. This is a very multi-disciplinary course but all topics presented assume no prior knowledge of the subject.

The learning outcome from this course is to help students appreciate transformative research as an alternative to the frequent incremental approaches taught and to help them realize that research, innovation and entrepreneurship in the 21st century is for social purpose to address immediate and future problems.

A course calendar listing topics by week will be provided the first day of class.

Students will learn to:

  • Understand the formal concepts of research, innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Understand the relationship between science, engineering and design
  • Understand the difference between transformative and incremental and the impact on research and innovation
  • Understand the role of knowledge, technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation in economic growth