Lehigh University
Lehigh University


Graduate program launched in technical entrepreneurship

TE will attract students like Erik Lillydahl ’10, ’12G and Adam Kirell ’10, ’12G, whose start-up, A&E MedTech, produces a portable biofeedback device for TMJ (Temporomandibular joint disorder) sufferers.

Lehigh is accepting applications for enrollment in a new one-year professional graduate program in technical entrepreneurship (TE) that will begin this summer.

Believed to be one of only a few of its kind in the U.S., the master’s of engineering (M.Eng.) program is offered by the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science and cosponsored by the Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation.

“People know how to create and innovate, but don’t know how to commercialize,” says John Ochs, professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics, who helped develop the curriculum. “A product doesn’t do any good until it gets to the market. In this program, we surround that spark of an idea with the right tools and experience to help make that leap.”

TE helps young entrepreneurs create, refine and commercialize intellectual property through the licensing or launching of a new business. After completing the program’s first session in the summer, students are eligible to compete for thousands of dollars in seed funding, some of which is available only to students in the program.

TE students are encouraged to tap into Lehigh’s entrepreneurial infrastructure, which includes more than 50 resources and programs spanning. They can also take part in the university’s award-winning Integrated Product Development program and the Eureka! Ventures Competition Series.

As with other Lehigh’s other entrepreneurial programs, Ochs and his colleagues used the “human-centered design thinking” process of IDEO, a global design consulting firm, to help shape the TE curriculum.

IDEO is listed among America’s Top 25 Most Innovative Companies by Bloomberg BusinessWeek and ranks #16 on Fortune’s list of the 100 MBA employers where students say they would most like to work. On its website, IDEO sums up its philosophy as follows: “Nobody wants to run an organization on feeling, intuition and inspiration, but an over-reliance on the rational and the analytical can be just as risky. Design thinking provides an integrated third way.”

Students in the Baker Institute visited IDEO during their LehighSiliconValley immersion trip to California earlier this year. Adam Mack ‘06, a mechanical design engineer at IDEO, hosted that event.

The creative-design approach fits well in Lehigh’s entrepreneurial culture, says Ochs.

“The professional environment is changing,” he says. “In the tech-driven, flat-world economy we live in, small and mid-sized firms are contributing to the global economy as never before. For today’s students, entrepreneurial thinking won’t be a luxury post-graduation—it will indeed be a way of life.”

Story by Tom Yencho

Posted on Monday, February 27, 2012

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