7:00-5:00 Conference Registration: Regency Ballroom
7:00-8:00 Breakfast: Regency Ballroom
8:00-9:00 Opening plenary: Regency Ballroom

Hold That Thought: New Twist on the Classic Wooden Blocks Encourages the Development of Great Thinkers from Preschoolers to Global Corporate Executives

Can you imagine a second grader and a scientist using the same toy to help them think better? Derek Cabrera and Laura Colosi are research scientists who took reams of research on the essential patterns of human thinking and boiled it down into the simplest of educational tools--the toy block. The result is a revolutionary new toy that teaches thinking skills to children and adults, from preschooler to PhD. ThinkBlocks are used with elementary grade students in school classrooms, in graduate classrooms in the Ivy League, and in corporate boardrooms. ThinkBlocks have no gender, age, cultural, language, skill-level, or subject barrier.  They can be used by anyone, anywhere to tackle virtually any topic or discipline. In this active and engaging opening plenary, Drs. Cabrera and Colosi offer an entertaining peek into their accidental sojourn from academia to entrepreneurialism and show us the four simple patterns that underlie all human thought and this remarkable thinking toy. Join us and learn how getting your ideas out of your head and into your hands can expand your ability to problem solve, invent, innovate and thrive.

View the ThinkWorks video by clicking here!




Creativity Track: Papers (CONTINENTAL); Moderator: J-D Yoder, Ohio Northern University


Thurs 1A1

Jorge Vanegas and Rodney Hill, Texas A&M University

An Advanced Learning Environment and Experience on Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

This paper advances the field of invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship education by sharing the content, structure, pedagogical approach, and tools used for a unique multidisciplinary undergraduate course on the design process, creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and by presenting outcomes, lessons learned, and insights gained from teaching over 5,000 students over a decade. The course, currently taught for Honors students from diverse majors (from engineering, business, biotech, and life sciences to veterinary medicine, liberal arts, agriculture, and design), addresses fundamental concepts of creativity and problem solving, creative thinking, humor, convergent and divergent thinking, and future studies, all within a dual individual/team learning environment centered around design thinking, problem-based learning, and knowledge creation. It provides an advanced learning environment and experience that prepares students to be the active creators of the future, encouraging them to think holistically as inventors, cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit and develop leadership skills, and reach their potential creative talent.
  Thurs 1A2

Jason Morris, Western Washington University

Facilitating Creativity by Making Function Follow Form

Creative solutions are rarely found using conventional problem solving methods.  Students must be encouraged to try alternative processes for attacking a problem.  Professional design projects begin with a design brief, but because of preconceived notions, the brief itself inhibits the designer’s creativity. This alternative process removes hindrances to creativity by restating the design problem in abstract, non-objective language. It begins with abstract form creation without knowledge of the design’s purpose. The form creation is done with guidelines made by the instructor, who creates the rules to correspond with the design’s objectives. Only after these abstract sculptures are complete is the design’s purpose revealed. A selected form study is then evaluated for ideas and inspiration, which is refined applying the realities of the design functions. This process has consistently resulted in highly creative and beautiful designs that delight and surprise the students.

Click here to view the paper


Thurs 1A3

Andy F. Loewy, University of Louisina at Lafayette

Methods for Promoting Innovation in the University Industrial Design Studio

Flexible and original thinking is key to outstanding design. In order to teach design effectively we must therefore offer students a framework that doesn’t restrict their thought process, allowing students room to develop their own individual design process. This doesn’t mean that we can’t offer our students technical advice or offer suggestions that might influence their process. Creativity blossoms and a student’s creative process is discovered when the individual is immersed in an environment conducive to innovative thinking. This paper cites methods and techniques that have proven to be helpful to my students as a catalyst for furthering the development of their design process without the restrictions that we encounter so often in prescriptive teaching. My methods for promoting mentally active drawing and encouraging discovery through hands-on model-making are a few of the areas will be elaborated upon in this paper.

Click here to view the paper


Entrepreneurship Education Research Track: Papers; Moderator: Steve Nichols, University of Texas at Austin (STATE)


Thurs 1B2

Jon Pratt, Dave N. Norris Jr. and Laura Marler, Louisiana Tech University

Nurturing the Creative Class from Art to Nano

Richard Florida’s book, The Rise of the Creative Class, focused national attention on the importance of attracting and retaining highly skilled individuals that work in creative occupations. Recent research from USDA indicates that a combination of the creative class, entrepreneurship, and natural amenities can improve development in small metro and non-metropolitan areas. The creative/entrepreneurial class spans fields from fine arts to nanotech. How can this group be nurtured through active local policies and programs for attracting/retaining them and maximizing the economic impact of their innovations? What programs have proven to be supportive of creative individuals and the creative enterprises they populate? How can universities create an environment where creative types from all disciplines—arts to nanotechnology and at all levels—collaborate and interact to form a new problem solving idea generation?

Click here to view the paper


Thurs 1B1

Phil Weilerstein and Angela Shartrand, NCIIA

Education for Innovation: A Decade of NCIIA Program Outcomes

For over a decade, the NCIIA has supported faculty and students in the area of technology entrepreneurship through our grants programs, events, competitions, and educational resources. What have we learned about the long-term impact of our programs? This session will highlight NCIIA’s assessment and evaluation strategy, and will share the key outcomes of our Advanced E-Team and Course and Program grants. We will also discuss some of the challenges we have faced in assessing long-term outcomes of entrepreneurship education and technology commercialization.


Tools Track: Workshop (FAR EAST)

  Thurs 1C

Steven Overholt, Gannon University

Blogs—Tips and Strategies for the Tech Entrepreneur

Many students are aware of blogs and how they may be used socially. However, blogs are also a powerful tool for the tech entrepreneur. They are invaluable for collaboration, product development, technology research, market research, marketing, customer relations, and more. Large corporations have discovered the interactive power of blogs and their effectiveness in introducing new products to market.  This session will demonstrate how student inventors can also use this medium to help drive their innovation process and effectively engage current and potential customers to build their markets. This program will put another powerful tool in the toolbox of tech entrepreneurs.

Product Development Track: Workshop (OAK)

  Thurs 1D

Randall Tagg, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences

Prototyping for Everyone: Rapid Assimilation of Skills & Tools for the Creation of Physical Prototypes

Product development requires the successful fusion of concept, physical prototyping, market assessment, and business planning. The prototyping phase is critical, since a viable, well-designed, and tested realization of a proposed product is the foundation for all the other activities that bring the product to market. Prototyping requires a wide range of technical knowledge drawing from many fields of science and engineering. Through workshop activities, we aim to explore how much of this broad range of knowledge can be assimilated and applied by individuals, regardless of prior training or specialization. Indeed, students working in experimental scientific research must quite often quickly assimilate and apply knowledge of mechanics, electronics, optics, and other areas into the successful completion of a project. Workshop participants will explore how this mode of learning can support the entrepreneurial development of new products and what resources would create the ultimate “inventor's garage.”

Click here to view the paper

10:30-11 Break and soapbox sessions
11-12:30 Breakout 2
  Creativity Track: Workshop (OAK)
  Thurs 2A

Denise K. DeLuca, The Biomimicry Institute

Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature

Biomimicry is a method for studying and then emulating nature's best materials, forms, processes, and systems and using them to develop sustainable design solutions. The core idea is that animals, plants, and microbes have already solved many of the design challenges that engineers and architects are grappling with today. After 3.8 billion years of research and development, design failures in nature are fossils, and what surrounds us is the secret to sustainability. Biomimicry is a path to a sustainable future, a survival strategy for the human race. The more the human world looks and functions like the natural world, the more likely we are to endure on this home that is ours, but not ours alone. During this 90-minute workshop, participants will get a brief introduction to biomimicry and then break into design teams that will tackle a design challenge using the biomimicry design spiral and Life's Principles.

  NCIIA Grants and Resources Track: Panel (EXECUTIVE)
  Thurs 2B

Phil Weilerstein, Jennifer Keller Jackson, and Humera Fasihuddin, NCIIA.

NCIIA Grants and Resources

This session will update participants on NCIIA grant programs and future initiatives. NCIIA’s program offerings continue to grow and now include grants for faculty and students, one-day and four-day workshops on entrepreneurship and innovation, student-led competitions and more. Twice each year, the NCIIA calls for proposals for Course & Program and E-Team grants to support invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship education at member colleges and universities. The Sustainable Vision program supports economically sustainable models of technology innovation for those living in poverty and focuses on basic human needs such as clean air, water, energy, shelter and nutrition. The Invention to Venture workshops introduce the basics of technology entrepreneurship and are targeted to students, faculty and members of the local community. The Advanced Invention to Venture workshops provide in-depth training for ventures on the brink of commercializing their activities. The BMEidea competition recognizes and rewards students for their biomedical inventions. Finally, the I-Show competition, in partnership with ASME, invites students to submit a product/service plan and winners participate in a public pitch competition at the ASME annual conference.


Tools Track: Papers (FAR EAST); Moderator: Courtney Price, VentureQuest

  Thurs 2C1

Malu Roldan, San Jose State University

Innovation Conversations via Social Media

In their book Innovation, Lester and Piore (2004) discuss how innovations emerge from interpretive conversations among customers, designers, marketers, and others.  Companies have joined industry consortia and set up company-owned stores (even an entire resort in one case) to encourage these conversations. On the online front, social media is emerging as a significant platform for generating such conversations. For example, blogs, podcasts, and forum conversations are shaping the direction of TV shows and other products of mainstream media organizations. Furthermore, sites like and Second Life are emerging as virtual platforms for testing and promoting innovation ideas. This paper will discuss how social media sites are serving as platforms for these conversations, present findings from a pilot application of these tools in an information technology innovation course, and tips for bringing these tools into the classroom.

Click here to view the paper

  Thurs 2C2

Clifton Kussmaul, Muhlenberg College

Supporting Teams with Open Source Software Tools

Student teams and projects present many challenges. For example, students need to know what to do, and benefit from seeing “real world” tools and processes. Teachers need to assess progress and identify potential problems. Some of these challenges can be addressed using open source software tools. These tools are free and have often been adapted to a variety of settings, and faculty and students with software development skills can examine and enhance the tools. In this session, we describe the experiences we and others have had in academia and industry using such tools, including task trackers, version control systems, wikis, and integrated systems such as Trac and Moodle. We describe challenges, lessons learned, and recommendations for selecting and introducing such tools effectively. We emphasize the benefits of choosing a small number of flexible tools, introducing them incrementally, and focusing on people and processes.

Click here to view the paper

  Thurs 2C3

Terri Barreiro, College of St. Benedict and St John's University

EduCases:  An Innovative Method for Teaching Entrepreneurship to the Millenial Student

This session will present EduCases, an innovative tool for entrepreneurship educators. EduCases are designed to appeal to millenial students who have grown up in a multi-media world. Millenials tend to learn best in team situations, and they are comfortable with multi-tasking. EduCases are designed to integrate video and written material in a way that appeals to the millenial student. EduCases are ideally used as a tool to introduce the basic concepts of entrepreneurship (opportunity recognition, feasibility analysis, marketing, operations, finance), and are appropriate for students with little or no management background.
  Product Development Track: Papers (STATE); Moderator: Lisa Getzler-Linn, Lehigh University
  Thurs 2D1

Derek Ruth and Jim Wolff, Wichita State University

The Influence of Individual, Group and Disclosure Characteristics in Assessing the Commercial Patent

A main challenge facing technology transfer programs is to assess the commercial potential of a technology disclosure before significant resources are invested. Using twelve real technology disclosures from a variety of disciplines and twenty-one raters, this paper develops and refines an instrument to assess a technology’s commercial potential. The technologies were first evaluated on an individual basis (two per rater) and then again on a group basis (five per group). The instrument assesses five dimensions of each technology: market, technology, competitive, value creation, and venture attributes. Using factor analysis and other techniques, we evaluate and refine the dimensions and individual items of the instrument. Using the refined instrument, we explore how the characteristics of the raters and the technology disclosures affect the ultimate ratings of the technologies. In particular, we focus on inter-rater agreement as well as how preliminary, individual ratings affect the final group ratings.
  Thurs 2D2

John M. Wilkes and Jose Gomez-Marquez, Worcester Polytechnic University

Evolution of an NCIIA-sponsored Course into a Health and Space R&D Unit

This is the story of how a course at WPI, established with an NCIIA grant, resulted in a patent for AEROVAX, and the multiple student team effort to develop a system to harvest liquid oxygen in low Earth orbit. Key to the LOX story is a 1976 WPI graduate and inventor who came to WPI to speak in the class about the space idea. He has now applied for a patent. Aerovax is a health care delivery device for mass immunizations devised by a past member of the class. All WPI students have to complete a (three-course equivalent) Society-Technology project as juniors. The paper describes how this required project was linked to the Aerovax and LOX innovations and has resulted in experiments at WPI on the ideal way to form teams in an R and D environment.
  Creativity and Product Development Track: Workshop (CONTINENTAL)
  Thurs 2E

John-David Yoder and Robert Kleine, Ohio Northern University; Jonathan Weaver, University of Detroit Mercy; and Susan Kleine, Bowling Green State University, Creativity Across the Product Development Process

Creativity Across the Product Development Process

Certainly creativity is not a new concept at NCIIA. Recent annual meetings have included excellent workshops in this area. The goal of this workshop will be to focus on the complete product development process and give examples, tools, and experiences in employing creativity tools through this process. The session will be lead by a team of two engineer faculty with industry experience in product development and two marketing faculty with expertise in consumer marketing. This should provide a significant contrast to previous workshops in which the emphasis tended to be creativity in engineering concept generation, or in problem finding, etc (that is, in one stage of the product development process rather than across it).


Luncheon session with featured speaker Sir Ken Robinson (REGENCY BALLROOM)

National education systems worldwide are being reformed to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. As a respected adviser to governments in Europe, Asia and the United States, Sir Ken Robinson argues that many countries are pushing reforms in the wrong direction. Drawing from his groundbreaking book, Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative, he explains why too many are locked into a model of education shaped by the Industrial Revolution and a narrow idea of academic ability. Urging schools and colleges everywhere to urgently rethink basic assumptions about intelligence and achievement, Sir Ken focuses on the vital questions: Why is it essential to promote creativity? What’s the problem? Why do so many adults think they’re not creative? Most children are buzzing with ideas. What happens to them as they grow up? What should be done? Is everyone creative or just a select few? Can creativity be developed? If so, how? In exploring these questions, Sir Ken argues for radical changes in how we educate all students to meet the extraordinary challenges of living and working in the 21st century.

2:30-3:30 Breakout 3
  Social Entrepreneurship Curriculum Track: Papers (CONTINENTAL); Moderator: Susannah Howe, Smith College
  Thurs 3A1

Burt Swersey, Rensselaer Polytechnic University

Affordable Design

Students have successfully designed products for “the other 90%” in three design courses. They have been enthusiastic about working on projects that have the potential to improve the lives of those who are most in need. Several of their designs have potential to become real products.
  Thurs 3A2

Nassif Rayess, Jonathan Weaver and Leo Hanifin, University of Detroit Mercy

Interdisciplinary Design, Entrepreneurship and Service (IDEAS) Course

The Interdisciplinary Design, Entrepreneurship and Service (IDEAS) course brings together students and faculty from the colleges of Architecture, Business, Engineering and Liberal Arts to work on socially beneficial projects. The structure of the course, the successes and difficulties, the type of projects, and the feedback from the students and faculty involved and external reviewers will be discussed. The development of this course is sponsored by the NCIIA.

Click here to view the paper

  Policy and Ethics in Entrepreneurship Education Track: Papers (STATE); Moderator: Liz Kisenwether, The Pennsylvania State University
  Thurs 3B1

Richard Popp and Paul G. Yock, Stanford University School of Medicine

Ethical Issues in Invention, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

Ethics and Policy is one of three major teaching divisions within the Stanford University Biodesign Program, along with Invention/Research and Technology Transfer. We have addressed our obligation to educate our students about the ethical implications of developing technologies by course work and by creating case studies with defined scenarios that encourage students to consider real-life situations and respond to challenging ethical dilemmas. Personal ethics surrounding working in interdisciplinary teams in new environments are many and varied. Ethical issues in medical innovation have special legal implications. Conflict of interest is much discussed in the media and is a topic that students need to understand in the educational context, but they also need to develop sensitivity to conflict of interest for their future careers. This talk will describe the ways in which Biodesign approaches ethics within the biomedical technology innovation setting.

Click here to view the paper

  Thurs 3B2

George P. Jones, Rice University

A Model for Teaching Business Ethics to Graduate-Level Science Students

Graduate-level science students entering occupations in industry and government will become involved in business and policy decisions, often with ethical implications. A graduate-level course at Rice University, “Science, Policy, and Ethics,” combines the teaching of ethical issues with science- and technology-based case examples to build awareness of business ethics issues and their impact. The course emphasizes fact-based decision-making and examines how organizational culture can impede ethical behavior and decisions in business. The presenter will share the model used to teach business ethics issues and one of the cases used in the course. The model and case will illustrate many key points used to build awareness of the ethical implications of science-related decisions and policies in business.
  Innovative Educational Models Track: Panel (OAK)
  Thurs 3C

Joyce Ward, National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation; Marcian (Ted) Hoff, National Inventors Hall of Fame inductee; Corey Centen and Nilesh Patel, Atreo Medical, Inc.; John Calvert, Inventor Assistance Program

Inventing Today. Changing Tomorrow.

The director of the Collegiate Innovators Competition (CIC), along with a panel of guests, will discuss the role of the program in encouraging and enabling students to cultivate original ideas through invention and the act of inventing. “Where Are They Now?” success stories of competition participants will be used as case studies to encourage, motivate, and inspire conference participants in their quest to move from the drawing board to production to the market place. The Collegiate Inventors competition is an annual program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation and is designed to recognize and encourage graduate and undergraduate students in their quest to invent and develop new technologies and scientific breakthroughs. Entries are judged on originality, inventiveness, and potential value to society (social, environmental, and economic).
  Creativity Track: Workshop (FAR EAST)
  Thurs 3D1

Derek Cabrera and Laura Colosi, ThinkWorks

Thinking Skills Unplugged: New Twist on the Classic Wooden Blocks Encourages the Development of Great Thinkers from Preschoolers to Global Corporate Executives

Can you imagine a second grader and a scientist using the same toy to help them think better? Building off of their plenary talk and activities, Drs. Cabrera and Colosi offer a workshop on the four essential thinking patterns that underlie human thinking and the design of ThinkBlocks—the toy that teaches thinking skills to preschoolers and PhDs. This session will engage participants in a deeper review of the four patterns of thinking that can be used to develop analytical and critical thinking, creativity, prosocial or teamwork thinking, and emotional intelligence. ThinkBlocks are for business leaders, scientists, inventors, parents, teachers, and students, and can be used in any setting.

3:30-4:30 Poster session
4:30 Group excursions in Dallas
6:30 Dinner in small groups

Thursday night is scheduled as a night out on town with fellow attendees and should provide an excellent networking opportunity away from the conference spotlight!



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