Teaching Innovation in a Cross Cultural Context, John Farris
In May 2007, a multidisciplinary group of students and faculty from four institutions, two in the U.S. and two in Nicaragua, collaborated on an entrepreneurship initiative for economic empowerment in Estelí, Nicaragua. The goal of the two-week session was to identify opportunities for new products for Nicaragua, utilizing local materials and skills. Working in cross-institutional teams, the students developed a wide range of product ideas, including a bicycle-powered clothes washer, a non-electric ceiling fan, and a detachable bicycle seat. This paper describes how the U.S. schools will integrate the product opportunities into their curricula. One college will focus on the opportunities through an interdisciplinary course on economic empowerment. The other university will leverage both a product design course and a marketing class for further development. These efforts will be integrated with the on-going work of the Nicaraguan students and the group as a whole.
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