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Sidhu I.,United States Center for Entrepreneurship | Deletraz P.,IE University
ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings | Year: 2015

In this paper, we demonstrate preliminary determinations that a person's comfort zone, as measured on a newly developed CZone Scale, has significant correlation with their potential as an entrepreneur or innovator. "Comfort Zone" is a behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk (White 2008). Our preliminary data, based on approximately 1000 samples, shows that the potential of an entrepreneur or innovator is much more correlated with higher tolerance for uncertainty than it is with field of study. We also find that this critical indicator of entrepreneurial potential is linked with the ability to learn and grow professionally, and that comfort with uncertainty is even an indicator of a person's perception of overall career satisfaction and personal happiness. We also find two particularly interesting characteristics; firstly, that comfort with uncertainty in professional decisions does not have to be the same as comfort with uncertainty in personal situations, and secondly, that a person's comfort with uncertainty can change in both directions over the course of his or her life and career. In fact, entrepreneurs tend to increase their comfort with uncertainty over their career, which is not true of non-entrepreneurs. Our findings have implications on how entrepreneurship is taught, on how to test for entrepreneurial and innovation potential, and even what types of individual-level behaviors are most critical to increase the innovation culture of an organization. Our study supports a position that not only can students and employees be screened for these fundamental characteristics, but also that this ability can be developed, grown, and reinforced. This study further reinforces a hypothesis that seminal entrepreneurship and innovation skills can actually be learned. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2015. Source

Zhu J.,Hangzhou Normal University | Wang L.,Microsoft | Yang R.,University of Kentucky | Davis J.E.,United States Center for Entrepreneurship | Pan Z.,Hangzhou Normal University
IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence | Year: 2011

Time-of-flight range sensors have error characteristics, which are complementary to passive stereo. They provide real-time depth estimates in conditions where passive stereo does not work well, such as on white walls. In contrast, these sensors are noisy and often perform poorly on the textured scenes where stereo excels. We explore their complementary characteristics and introduce a method for combining the results from both methods that achieve better accuracy than either alone. In our fusion framework, the depth probability distribution functions from each of these sensor modalities are formulated and optimized. Robust and adaptive fusion is built on a pixel-wise reliability weighting function calculated for each method. In addition, since time-of-flight devices have primarily been used as individual sensors, they are typically poorly calibrated. We introduce a method that substantially improves upon the manufacturer's calibration. We demonstrate that our proposed techniques lead to improved accuracy and robustness on an extensive set of experimental results. © 2011 IEEE. Source

Kolko J.,United States Center for Entrepreneurship
Interactions | Year: 2014

Austin Center for Design teaches students how to become self-sufficient and build their own business through the $1,000 Project borrowed by the center from one of AC4D's advisors, Gary Chou. Gary. Under the project, students must earn a $1,000 profit doing something legal. The primary learning outcome of this project is to help the student learn what value actually is, how it can be created, and to understand that both their ideas and skills can be valuable in the right circumstances. The quickest way to understand this is to engage the market: to talk to and observe people, introduce new ideas for products and services, and see how people react to those ideas. This project is so vague that students have to reframe it in their own terms in order to be successful. This project is presented in a curriculum focused on social entrepreneurship, and students initially question the largely capitalist undertone to the project. Source

O'Connor G.C.,United States Center for Entrepreneurship | O'Connor G.C.,Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute | Rice M.P.,Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Journal of Product Innovation Management | Year: 2013

While the technological development associated with breakthrough innovation (BI) is truly challenging, creating markets to stimulate their use may be an even more daunting barrier to successful commercialization. Co-development partners, distribution channel agents, and ultimate users are all required to adopt new processes and to change behaviors in many cases, and the outcomes are unknown. In this paper, the processes and challenges associated with creating new markets for BIs are explored in a qualitative prospective cross-case comparison of 12 breakthrough projects under development in 10 large established companies. A number of activities that take place in implicit fashion that create both enabling and constraining mechanisms for BIs are observed. The data suggest, for example, that the earliest application choices that scientists make in the project's development ultimately affect the revenue model, that scientists are unaware of the impact of these decisions, that business model development is a very exploratory process, that criteria used to choose initial market entry points conflict with the expectations of operating units, and that the concept of a killer application can be rather dangerous to the health and well-being of a BI in its commercial infancy. It is argued that new market creation is the result of managing a specific set of events and activities, which are identified in a grounded theoretic fashion. The companies studied, however, were neither fully aware of nor systematically attentive to these activities. A framework is presented of enabling and constraining mechanisms that teams and organizations impose through the processes and decisions they take in the course of the project's development, and a series of propositions regarding the dynamics of successful new market creation for BIs is offered. The implications of these results are far-reaching. These results show that market creation for BIs may require as much time and investment as their technical development. We do not find evidence of large established organizations' awareness of or willingness to make these investments as readily as they invest in technical development. The result is research and development labs at large established firms with stockpiles of potentially game-changing technologies. To evolve a mature BI commercialization competency, a firm must recognize and address the implications for managerial processes, for personnel recruitment, for setting leaders' expectations, and for developing appropriate performance metrics for those responsible for market creation that go beyond technical discovery and engineering development. Implications for each are discussed. © 2012 Product Development & Management Association. Source

O'Connor G.C.,Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute | O'Connor G.C.,United States Center for Entrepreneurship | Rice M.P.,Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Journal of Product Innovation Management | Year: 2013

Large established firms typically focus on enhancing their ability to manage their core businesses, with an emphasis on cost reduction, quality improvements, and incremental innovation in existing products and processes. To sustain competitive advantage over the long term, mature firms must in parallel develop radical innovations (RI) as a basis for building and dominating fundamentally new markets. Management practices that are effective in established businesses are often ineffective and even destructive when applied to RI projects because of higher levels of uncertainty inherent in the latter. Understanding the characteristics of RI projects and the nature of the uncertainty that pervades them is critical to developing appropriate managerial practices. This paper reports the results of a longitudinal study of 12 RI projects in 10 large established U.S.-based firms. A qualitative, prospective design was used to collect and analyze data. Project team leaders, members, and sponsors for each project were interviewed repeatedly over five years. The analysis centers on the dimensions and characteristics of uncertainty that project teams experienced. The analysis of the challenges they confronted is used to construct a multidimensional model of RI uncertainties. The model identifies four categories of uncertainty as key drivers of project management: technical, market, organizational, and resource uncertainty. Each of these four categories is elaborated in the context of radical innovation and further distinguished via two additional dimensions: criticality and latency. These are substantiated through case based data. Implications for management skills, processes, and appropriate tools associated with radical innovation projects are discussed. © 2013 Product Development & Management Association. Source

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