By assessing the current environment for entrepreneurs and innovators at Missouri University of Science and Technology, three of its students hope to measure and then improve the climate through creativity and design-focused thinking.
The three Missouri S&T students were selected to take part in the University Innovation Fellows program, a national program administered by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. The students plan to apply what they learn through the program to make their school a more innovation-friendly campus. Innovation Fellows Jonathan Bopp, a senior in mechanical engineering from Kirkwood, Missouri; Atiyeh Kouchakzad Khiabani, a junior in mechanical engineering from Tehran, Iran; and Elizabeth Popoola, a sophomore in civil engineering from Florissant, Missouri, work together and individually on projects to develop the campus climate.
“The campus climate lends itself to many technology-based projects,” says Dr. Bonnie Bachman, professor of economics and the program’s advisor at Missouri S&T. “By gauging its unique ‘ecosystem’ and better understanding it, the students will be able to improve it in measurable ways.”
One group project the students hope to develop is to create an official “maker” space on campus.
“Missouri S&T already has great resources for business innovators and student design teams, but there isn’t really a space where someone with a vague idea for a personal project can go and bounce ideas around,” says Bopp. “We hope to create a place with no creative minimums, just a place with a lot of folks with ideas.”
Bopp is also working on an individual project for the campus – “open-source” robotic parts. He hopes to create a library of robotic parts for Missouri S&T entrepreneurs and innovators to use. That way, other students and faculty are not required to be as familiar with robotics engineering for them to benefit and utilize the technology.
The three Missouri S&T students will travel to Stanford University in the spring to complete Innovation Fellow training and visit businesses like Google, which try to prioritize innovation as a part of everyday jobs.
For more information about the University Innovation Fellows program, visit universityinnovation.org.