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Milwaukee School of Engineering is excited to share with you the strategies we have created for establishing I&E on campus and in our community. We currently have a presence on campus,but feel that it is too disperse and needs to be connected, strengthened, and highlighted as a priority in order to educate and excite people about the power of I&E.

On this page you will find five strategies to create a presence of I&E on our MSOE campus that will help students, faculty, staff, the community, and all other people where our outreach extends to learn and get excited about brainstorming, entrepreneurship, innovative thinking, forming creative solutions, thinking future-forward, prototyping, design thinking, and implementation.

Strategies for Expansion of Innovation and Entrepreneurship on Campus

Strategy One: Lack of Strong Entrepreneurial Foundation

Our solution was to create a dedicated space on campus that would allow students to come together, hold events, meetings, run workshops, and be entrepreneurs. This space would enable thinkers and tinkerers to ponder their ideas. It wouldhaveaconference roomsformeetings to take place - especially those involving proprietary information. Thespacewouldbe outlined as follows:

What does it have (~1200 sq ft space)?

Tables (several) - small, separable, combinable, mobile, simple
Chairs (hella several) - simple, comfortable, mobile
Stationery Whiteboards (3) - one on each wall without a window, rather wide, has a holster for markers and a cloth, spans the height of the wall, good quality - easy to clean
Mobile Whiteboards (10) - mobile, lightweight, can be stood up, has a small holder for a marker and cloth, good quality - easy to clean
Supplies - a wall of supplies, organized in a way that is a balance between obvious and easy to maintain, office supplies such as: pens, markers, post-it’s, loose paper, stapler, hole punch, etc., creativity supplies like different material scraps, tape, glue, whatever makes its way into the space to enable quick (within a minute) prototyping and explaining
Projector & Screen in front of open area or tables - with sufficient cables/adapters, so short presentations can be given

What does it offer?

Space for entrepreneurs and innovators (intentionally vague) to gather, run through their ideas with themselves or others, and iterate through ideas they’re working on. Thespaceismeant to eliminate anything that might be barrier to a person or group’s process. Thespaceeasesand aids the process of individual and team work. Thespacewillalso serve as a place for events, workshops, and learning sessions to be held. It can be rented out by a company, even sponsored if they so please. It will adapt to needs while still maintaining an identity that is innovation, creativity, productivity, and entrepreneurship. It will provide the tools to enable students and faculty alike to succeed in their aspirations as well as just tinker and complete work on a day to day basis.  

Strategy Two: Improve Overbearing IP/Patent Policy

The IP policy for MSOE outlines a process in which MSOE is involved every step of the way and should know of any ideas emerging from use of campus resources immediately. The policy is written in vague terms when it comes to what qualifies an idea as belongingtothembut is very explicit when it comes to qualifying the only circumstances under which an idea or project is solely that the of the student who created it. Many students are not aware of this, and many faculty have not thoroughly read through the policy if at all. The problem truly stems from the university’s reaction to students creating ideas and jumping on their intuition.
Rewriting the policy is a good start to driving the mindset and reaction of staff and faculty members here towards truly embracing student’s creativity and innovative leaps. The policy should also define a lesser imposition on faculty members to report any and all of their breakthroughs and ideas as those of the university. It should fall under the same or similar rules to students. MSOE claims to have the desire to drive forward ideas that benefit the greater good of anyone and 
everyonebut have yet to act on such claims significantly.
Suggestions of revisions are below (in unofficial terminology):

  • WHOLE IP POLICY: If the idea was of the student and the student has demonstrated control of the project and has been the driving force for the idea/business/project, it is theirs. If the student used MSOE resources including and limited to class time, seed funding, regular use of space, and a faculty champion, they are to attribute 5% of earnings back to MSOE.
  • WHOLE IP POLICY: If the student can demonstrate and convince the current president that they were able to do this without MSOE resources or intervention, the idea is wholly the students. If not, MSOE is entitled to 10% equity or royalties.

Feedback: having things simpler might not work - easier to flex things one particular way or another if it’s too simple. In this case, things will need to be more explicit. Current policy is also not explicit with some things, leaving room for MSOE to be overbearing

Strategy Three: Inspire and Create a Startup Community

MSOE I&E Lecture Series is the first step to building a strong, connected and vibrant I&E community on campus. Every week the Lecture Series will host a new speaker who will present on the theme of innovation and entrepreneurship. Each lecture session will provide free food for audience members and Q&A sessions after the presentation.

Topics are not strictly focused on business and engineering! Anyone who deals with innovation can be a presenter. Artists, musicians, dancers, actors, designers - many different careers use I&E and are topics for discussion. The goal of the lecture series is to inspire, teach and motivate viewers to explore I&E. By generating conversations and excitement around I&E, it will provide market research and support to further develop I&E activities, facilities and venues across campus.

MSOE Lecture Series: Due to relatively low operational cost and availability of lecture facilities, MSOE Lecture Series programming could start next fall of the academic year (18-19). Featured speakers, community I&E experts, and local artists will have a chance to speak and present engaging experiences to students and faculty.

MSOE Lecture Series - Night of Innovation: With an established brand, and working with surrounding universities, twice a year, MSOE hosts “Night of Innovation”. High profile performers in music, the arts, business, engineering and/or science are booked for one evening show.This event will help fuel and generate interest in the MSOE Lecture Series program and raise awareness to I&E

Student Feedback:
In general, people were receptive to the idea but wanted something fun rather than strictly academic. For future iterations of this plan, a weekly event or activity should be implemented. Demonstrations and entertainment focused presentations should have a larger priority over strictly academic lectures. Activities should provide value to the audience and have them leaving satisfied in the time they have invested.

Strategy Four: Series of Innovative and Entrepreneurial Events

Once the first step of creating the makerspace oncampusis complete, there a number of events, ideas, and activities that thespace willbe used for. One way thespace willserve I&E is through different events on campus that are listed below. These include (but are not limited to) Speakers and TED Talks, Pop-Up Classes, an annual Make-a-thon, I&E Workshops, and a number of other events that are sure to pop up as thespace becomesutilized and available to other groups on and off of campus. These events can be brought to thespace bystudent organizations, facultyandstaff, interested students, the community, professors for class applications, theunviersity, and a number of other avenues. Findexample ofactivities below.

Speakers and TED Talks

Bringing speakers to our campus and our makerspace totalk about I&E would be an amazing way to motivate students to get involved and get thinking about I&E. We would like speakers to cover topics such as startups, design thinking, entrepreneurial financing, and many other topics. We would really like to see the TED-X Speakers come to our campus and present to our students, faculty and staff, the community and any other interested party. TED talks would be a great way to expand knowledge and interest in the I&E field. We would also like to see our own faculty speak about the research that they are a part of outside of classes and office hours so that we can get to know what it is that they are truly passionate about.

Pop-Up Classes

These classes are an opportunity for those with experience in I&E to share that experience and for those who want to learn more/ expand their knowledge to continue to grow in I&E. Classes would cover topics such as brainstorming, prototyping, design thinking, and creating innovative solutions. === Make-a-thon

An annual Make-a-thon wouldprovide students an opportunity to collaborate between disciplines and to work together to think in terms of I&E and come up with new, future-forward ideas. This is an event for students to come together, brainstorm, prototype, andpossible implementand ideathat they are passionate about. === I&E Workshops

Workshops would be a more hands-on version of the pop-up classes that would allow students the opportunity to drop in a session and learn a few things about I&E by physically prototyping, brainstorming, and creating ideas. 

Strategy Five: Lack of Involvement from Staff/Faculty to Ensure we Move Forward

The key to success through change on campus stems from transparent communication between staff/faculty and students.  Tomaintanconstant transparent communication, the campus community would benefit from a monthly fish bowl exercise between staff/faculty and students.  The fish bowl exercise would consist of a safe space for students to communicate with higher level staff/faculty who are stakeholders at MSOE and have the power to implement change. The exercisewould havetworounds: 1) Staff/faculty in the middle and students on the outside 2) Students in the middle and staff/faculty on the outside.  Students would submit any question they wanted to discuss via an anonymous survey and a facilitator would run the discussion between staff/faculty and students.  Staff/faculty would ensure thatthe space is welcoming for students to feel comfortable sharing how they feel about campus.  The fishbowl exercisescould be broken down into categories per month such as academics, student life, athletics, internships, etc.  Thefish bowl exercise would also be live streamed and recorded for students and staff/faculty that could not attend that month's meeting.


Stay tuned! There is more to come on the Makerspace as we get information and develop the space furthur. This will be an exciting space for the internal operations, external operations, community, and students, facultyand staffat MSOE. It will be a space for events, activities, studying, collaboration, speakers, outside events, community involvement, and many MANY other applications.

Key Features: Movable furniture,  Prototyping supplies,  Technology,  Other 

Related Links

Milwaukee School of Engineering Website

Milwaukee School of Engineering Campus Overview


Michaela Thiry

Nicholas Hennigan

Tara Rahmani

Sabrina Stangler