James J Salmon
IND E 599
Prerequisite: permission of supervisor.
Technical Entrepreneurial Engineering
INDE 599 - Summer 2013
Purpose: Prepare engineering graduate students to enter the workforce armed with insights, tools, and methods for designing or participating in a technology-centric business enterprise. Emphasis is on initiating new entrepreneurial activities, spanning independent start-up through “Intrepreneurial" activities in established firms.
Student learning goals
• Gain an understanding of various business models for technology-centric enterprises.
• Gauge advantages and disadvantages of various organizational structures relative to entrepreneurial objectives.
• Leverage the analytical philosophies of engineering to build predictive cash flow simulations, accounting for uncertainties and beholden to economics.
• Leverage the design philosophies of engineering to architect a business model and articulate a business plan.
• Recognize some of the unique risks and responsibilities related to launching an entrepreneurial endeavor.
• Tailor the above principles for Intrepreneurial activity: Launching new efforts within an existing enterprise.
General method of instruction
Assignments, Exercises, and the Class Experience: Students will read texts, articles, and case studies and prepare notes for class discussion. At least two of the case studies are based on video documentaries. In some cases, written questions will be assigned to assist and focus the student’s preparation. In all cases, the exploration of each topic will benefit from dutiful attention to the reading and a robust dialog in class.
Two significant assignment will run over several weeks and will tie together some of the major themes of the course. One is a spreadsheet-based cash flow simulation intended to illuminate the criticality of viable cash flow, the effects of various economic realities such as debt and taxes, and illuminate the need for risk and uncertainty analysis.
The other major assignment is the construction of a complete technology-centric business model containing two versions of a business plan, an organizational architecture, network/relationship map and risk analysis. Students are not required to have an original idea for a technology or business but may choose to develop their own if desired.
While the course is offered through the virtual network, students are encouraged to physically attend class to facilitate robust discussion. Students attending virtually should be in a location that fosters concentration and facilitates communication.
There are no explicit prerequisite classes for this course. However, students will benefit from some background in economics, good written and verbal communications skills, and competency with a spreadsheet tool (preferably MS Excel).
Also, over the course, each student will develop a business model and plan. In order to make the experience as useful and effective as possible, it helps if the student can incorporate the topics into a framework that is personally tangible. Ideally, the student will bring his or her own idea for a technology based business.
Class assignments and grading
Case study reading and preparation: 15% “Cashflow Finite Element” simulation Part 1 15% “Cashflow Finite Element” simulation Part 2 15% The Totally Unfair Test 10% (Don’t Panic!) Course project: Business Model Assignment 10% Operational Design Assignment 10% Business Plan 15% Final product 10%