Entrepreneurship and Information Management

An Innovation Management Class in a Polytechnic Environment

  • Thomas A. Lacksonen (University of Wisconsin - Stout)


Innovation is a central driver of our country’s economic prosperity. Industry sees innovation as the key to sustainable growth. Building on these ideas, a motto of the University of Wisconsin-Stout is “Inspiring Innovation.”

To support innovation on campus at UW-Stout, a one credit, on-line, self-paced course has been developed to teach innovation management basics to a wide variety of students. The only prerequisite is that the student comes to the course with a product idea, either from a class project or from extra-curricular ideas. In the course, students will learn intellectual property, market assessment, prototype development, and basic business plans. The class assignments relate these four topics to their product idea.

As part of the polytechnic focus of the university, students come from a wide variety of majors, including Engineering, Technology, Business, and Art and Design. Faculty and lab support from all of these areas are also available in all these disciplines.

One end result of the course is for students to decide to stop their product because in some way it is not commercially viable. This is not seen as a failure, but as a first-time learning experience. If a student wishes to pursue commercialization, one route is continued development at Stout through a variety of other class projects. Another route is direct commercialization to a manufacturer. Finally, continued development of larger and more innovative products could be supported through Manufacturing Extension Partners, the state of Wisconsin or other new business support organizations.

Future work is to expand and refine the routes forward by piloting the linkages with other classes and outside agencies. Successful products will be promoted to help grow the course enrollment.

How to Cite:

Lacksonen, T. A., (2014) “An Innovation Management Class in a Polytechnic Environment”, 2014 ASEE North Midwest Section Conference 2014(1), 1-7. doi: https://doi.org/10.17077/aseenmw2014.1037

Rights: Copyright © 2014, Thomas Lacksonen.

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Published on
17 Oct 2014
Peer Reviewed