Creative is Collaborative: A Day on the Bench

January 31, 2011 at 4:37 am Leave a comment

The Coleman Fellows on our campus have been mingling during monthly web calls, and I am hoping we can continue collaborating. For me, a Creative entrepreneur is someone who is able to realize his/her own limitations, and has the ability to reach out to others who can fill in the gaps.

I recently learned about a fantastic organization that supports women entrepreneurs, called ACTiVATE. In a meeting with the head of ACTiVATE, Julie Kirk, I learned that some of the businesses that have been launched through the program were headed by entrepreneurs who had no background in technology, but had identified business opportunities that required technology. Instead of giving up and saying, “Gosh, I have an idea for a great new medical device and I know just what market it would serve, but I don’t know how to build the device,” these women reached out to universities or to companies who had knowledge of the technology — and built a business.

Here at Lawrence Tech, I am constantly urging our students to look around the university for opportunities to collaborate. If a business student has a viable idea for a new software program, but lacks the knowledge to create it, that student needs only to head over to the Computer Science department or the Blue Devil Development club to meet someone with the right expertise. A chemistry student whose idea requires biomedical engineering knowledge can find that knowledge just down the hall. And so on.

In a nod to collaborating and getting outside the box, our class recently journeyed over to LTU’s makeLab and held that day’s session on The Bench, a fun product created by makeLab students. Check out the timelapse video of how they built it, along with other collaboration opportunies, after the jump. Also after the jump: weigh in on your thoughts about collaboration.

The purpose of our field trip was not only to find a change of scenery, but to start to become aware of the talents and other resources distributed all around our campus.

Other opportunities for collaboration at LTU:

Blue Devil Motorsports invites students in all disciplines to assist in marketing, sponsor recruitment, team member recruitment and all other aspects of the operation of a student-run four-vehicle enterprise

-The Make Your Mark Competition is open to interdisciplinary teams of undergraduate students who can think of a way to take just $10 and turn it into something that benefits the community

-The IIT Innovation Chase is another competition open to interdisciplinary student teams. The Chase takes place over one intensive weekend, where a series of surprise challenges will have you solving problems in engineering and business that mirror real-world situations

-The Quest program allows interdisciplinary teams, as long as there is at least one “anchor” in the College of Arts and Science, to pursue projects in arts, leadership or research. A current project, accessMOD has students in Business, Architecture and Product Design fundraising and researching a method for improving the creation of handicap access ramps to quickly modify homes to provide access to recently disabled residents. The sky’s the limit with Quest: start a business, research the “why” behind or a new treatment for autism, put together a comedy troupe.

If you’re an LTU student, what other opportunities for collaboration with your other-major peers do you see? If you are in industry, what are your thoughts about cross-department or cross-discipline collaboration — and what pitfalls are there that I haven’t mentioned?

-Dr. Evans


photo: Attribution Some rights reserved by ChrisL_AK


Entry filed under: Journeys of a Studentpreneur, Tools/Resources.

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