School has been back in session for about a month now. One of our programs, the Masters in Technology Commercialization and Entrepreneurship, is all about breakthrough innovation. They learn how to manage projects that are very early stage technologies, with potential to offer real value. They use the Learning Plan, the Technology Translation table, Patent Mapping, and spider diagrams. They develop skills in interviewing scientists about their discoveries to ferret out potential applications that they then pursue, as budding incubation specialists. They trace how emerging technologies are disrupting industries and launching new ones. They start companies, and they learn how established companies manage for breakthrough innovation. They learn the law associated with partnership development and intellectual property management. Needless to say, it’s a cool program.
Even more interesting is the students themselves. They’re our most eclectic bunch. They come from engineering, all walks of science, and even architecture and the digital arts. They see opportunity everywhere. They share a common interest in finding big solutions to big problems. One team is exploring a new business model for salt water batteries as a source of energy storage in emergency conditions. Another is looking at models for carbon capture and re-use. Others are working with faculty in our school of science to explore medical clinics’ interests in a new method they’ve developed to detect which cells in a tumor are most likely to metastasize. Still others are working with RPI’s Lighting Enabled Systems and Applications (LESA) Center to pursue a broad range of applications for a new sensor embedded lighting system. There’s a team working on identifying ethical issues associated with commercializing a sampling of emerging technologies. We’ll be posting their finished cases on this blog.
This year they’ll be traveling to Silicon Valley and to Washington D.C. to understand the cultural and policy angles of our country’s innovation system. Their program director is infusing in them the confidence to go beyond one project, one start-up, one first job, to think about economic and innovation policy. They are up to the task, and it’s great to have their energy, their intellect and their curiosity as part of our Lally community.