Technical Innovation, Design Thinking, and the Entrepreneurial Mindset

Program Coordinator: Christopher Kitts

To solve the complex and interdisciplinary technical challenges of the modern world, students must understand the entrepreneurial methods appropriate for harnessing technical innovation in order to create value through new devices, products, systems, processes, services, and ecosystems. This minor addresses this need by providing students with learning experiences that address product innovation, business fundamentals, and entrepreneurial thinking; in doing so, it leverages themes and concepts promoted through movements such as design thinking, lean development, and business modeling. In addition, an experiential learning activity in the context of the entrepreneurial development of a real engineering system is required. Participation in an elective component is also required.

This minor program is suitable for undergraduates in a wide variety of disciplines. It places an emphasis on an understanding of the user and the business environment for the design and implementation of technologies and solutions that are appropriate, affordable, and accessible for consumers in a variety of markets. Students who complete the program will be able to adapt both themselves and the organizations in which they work in a way that will allow them to remain competitive and relevant as global consumer trends continue to evolve.

Requirements for the Minor

Satisfaction of the minor requires completion of the following requirements:

  • Product Innovation and Prototyping (5 units)
  • MECH 144/L. Smart Product Design (5 units)

Business Fundamentals (4 units minimum)

Select one of the following options:

  • Option A: BUSN 70. Contemporary Business Issues (4 units) or BUSN 170. Contemporary Business for Nonmajors (5 units)
  • Option B: ENGR 173. Introduction to Business Fundamentals (1 unit) plus any 3 additional units from the list below:
    • ENGR 174. Financial Statements and Decision Making (1 unit)
    • ENGR 175. Business Model and Plan Development (1 unit)
    • ENGR 176. Introduction to Technical Marketing (1 unit)
    • ENGR 178. Intellectual Property for Engineers (1 unit)
    • ENGR 168. Legal Considerations for New Ventures (1 unit)

Entrepreneurship Fundamentals (4 units minimum)

Select one of the following options:

  • Option A: BUSN 144. Entrepreneurship—Bringing New Ideas to Market (5 units)
  • Option B: Any 4 units from the list below:
    • ENGR 171A/B. Opportunity Recognition I and II (1 unit each)
    • ENGR 172A/B. Applied Entrepreneurship I and II (1 unit each)
    • ENGR 169. Social Entrepreneurship (1 unit)
    • ENGR 179. Corporate Intrapreneurship (1 unit)

Experiential Activity (4 unit minimum)

An academically supervised, hands-on engineering activity that includes entrepreneurially- oriented tasks relating to the development of an appropriate business/enterprise model for a real engineering product/system.

Select one of the following options:

  • Option A: ENGR 197. Engineering and the Entrepreneurial Mindset (1 unit over 3 quarters), performed in conjunction with a senior project course sequence (6-10 units)
  • Option B: BUSN 145. Entrepreneurship Practicum (4-5 units) performed with a hands-on engineering component approved by the minor program coordinator

Elective Component

Participation in additional pathway, course, or co-/extra-curricular activities within the School of Engineering's program in innovation and entrepreneurial thinking. Complete any two of the following program opportunities:

  • Option A: Complete the Design Thinking Pathway with an essay theme that specifically emphasizes a topic relating to developing a deep understanding of customer/ market needs and opportunities and capitalizing on this to create value through the design of a technical system
  • Option B: Participate in two extra-curricular design challenges approved in advance by the minor program coordinator (challenges may not have been used for credit in any other course)
  • Option C: Complete an independent study project relating to technical entrepreneurship, supervised by a faculty member and approved in advance by the program director
  • Option D: Complete an additional 2 units of coursework from approved courses in the Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship program:
    • Any of the course options previously listed
    • ENGR 19. Ethics in Technology (2 units)
    • ENGR 177. Globalization and the Cultures of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (4 units)

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