The second cohort of the Michigan Wolverine Innovation Network Faculty Innovation Fellow Program has recently completed its work. This interdisciplinary initiative, provided by the University of Michigan’s Department of Economic Development, has worked with innovation fellows from UM-Flint universities to solve research problems in real-world applications. The goal of this program is to foster innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship across all areas of the campus.
MWIN brings together fellows from a variety of disciplines in virtual workshops focused on entrepreneurship and the process of innovation and commercialization. In these workshops, faculty members will not only gain insights into the transition of ideas to the market, but also their exposure to each other’s work and how they can support each other.
The participating professors represent diverse research backgrounds and are selected because they are interested in developing their own research on useful companies and products. This year’s faculty includes Yasser Aboelkassem, Associate Professor of Innovation and Technology, Hallil Bisgin, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Melissa Sreckovic, Associate Professor of Education, Keith Kelley, Associate Professor of International Business, Ming Li, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Computers. Thiago Ferreira, an assistant professor of science and information technology.
This program guides fellows through innovation initiatives, product development, launch, and potential commercialization. The workshop was provided by UM-Flint Campus and University of Michigan and Ann Arbor Innovation Partnership Instructors.
The general themes of the workshop are:
- SWOT analysis of business ideas for refining and developing business models (advantages, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats).
- Customer definition, key partner identification, mentoring, networking.
- Legal issues regarding entrepreneurship and protection of intellectual property.
- Marketing foundations, how to develop cost structures, sources of revenue, profit and loss principles.
- Creating commercial speeches.
This program is combined with MWIN’s interdisciplinary capstone course. This course provides students with valuable expertise in the 21st century by innovating solutions to market demands in collaboration with faculty. David Melot, director of the EDA University Center, identified this need by examining his own experience as an international student. “It was difficult to mix and adapt ideas from different cultures, especially when trying to put together valuable projects for my future and for others,” he said.
The MWIN program helps both faculty and students combine the sophistication pressures typically applied to business processes with diverse perspectives and skills. Paula Nas, Director of Economic Development at UM-Flint, said: “MWIN’s Capstone Course provides a unique opportunity for students from multiple disciplines to gain experience in solving problems as a team. For students.”
The American Association of Colleges and Universities 2021 Employer Report identified that in addition to traditional hard skills, more than 90% of employers are looking for graduates who can use their knowledge to solve real-life problems. The report also emphasized that participation in applied learning experiences gives graduates a clear advantage by helping them express their research outcomes more clearly. Teamwork and critical thinking have also been identified as important skills for graduates to acquire.
Aboelkassem said: Also, I was happy to hear the experiences of his colleagues and their opinions on our products.
This program is financially backed by the CS Mott Foundation and the US Department of Economic Development. Contact Paula Nas (email@example.com) for more information.