Over the past few years, Villanova University has been awarded several grants from the Kern Family Foundation to support the implementation of entrepreneurially-minded learning in the College of Engineering. This past summer, Visiting Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering David Jamison IV, PhD, received funding to develop and implement an ideation term project focused on the “opportunity” and “impact” skill areas within the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) framework. Dr. Jamison’s goal was to enable students in his Introduction to Biomechanics senior elective course to develop skills in opportunity identification and impact evaluation, fostering the KEEN Entrepreneurial Mindset behaviors of “curiosity” and “creating value.”
Early in the semester, Dr. Jamison organized his class into six teams of three to four students, and instructed them to interact with potential customers and brainstorm several business opportunities relevant to the biomechanics field. Prospective customers included the Villanova School of Nursing, local hospitals and medical centers, and medical device companies. Students were tasked with assessing their initial ideas based on their merits and potential impact to the customer, the company and society at large. Concepts were then refined, not just through calculations, but also market analysis, consideration of resources, a business model, intellectual property considerations, and an understanding of their competition. The process continued throughout the semester until teams felt they had arrived at a near optimal product or service.