Education of T-shaped Technical Innovation (MBA) Managers

Year: 2009
Editor: Clarke, A, Ion, W, McMahon, C and Hogarth, P
Author: Gerson, Philips M.; Ramond, Bruno
Page(s): 116-121


The Open-Dynamic Design research and experiments within an international network learned that the key for successful Technical Innovation are T-shaped engineers, with a solid technical foundation stem- first, only later-on extended with business science, industrial design and creative skills, and other related competences-branches. The metaphor of the growing tree and the importance of master apprentice learning are key elements in the education philosophy for technical innovation. After a successful implementation of this breakthrough innovation into the engineering education now it is time for other curricula, like MBA, to be adapted for this risky but urgent business. Seemingly against the "tree"-philosophy a module is developed to teach business master students "afterwards" enough technical depth and relevant skills to deal effectively with technical innovation. From the experience since 1991 of introducing technology essentials to young students in the MSc Technology Management degree course some key success factors were found: - linked theory and project of realistic industrial setting. - carefully selected technical scope - just within direct comprehension and logic of students. - involved participating guidance of knowledgeable T-shaped supervisor - personal feedback after exams These elements are included in the MBA- module "Entrepreneurship and Innovation" together with some specific Technical Innovation issues. The experience with the course 08/09 confirmed the difficulty for non-technically trained people to deal with technical issues - even at elementary level. It did show a schism between people with a character suitable for vaguely defined open-ended problems, and those looking for knowledge and scientific data and methods: - similarly to the experience within engineering, as reported in the ODD-research. All participants fully experienced and understood the importance of technical and commercial details and the many context issues, that determine the success or failure of an innovation project. The module is also meant for introduction of technical innovation to other "non-technical" students.

Keywords: Technical innovation, t-shaped, professional MBA, master-apprentice

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