Over the past semester, the Jenkins MBA practicum Product Innovation Lab course, MBA 555, was open to NC State’s business, design, engineering, and textile colleges. The students have spent the past four months innovating, designing and building viable business concepts and working prototypes.
The faculty team for 2019 that guided the students in their semester-long projects included Troy Nagle, Ola Harrysson, John Muth, Percy Hooper, Tom Snyder, and John Bohlman. Bohlman, professor of marketing and innovation at Poole College, sees the collaboration between colleges as necessary for students to learn critical tasks like voice of customer, technical analysis, concept design, and prototyping.
“You need technical know-how to make an innovative solution work, and you need design for everything from defining the ‘right’ problem to solve all the way to making sure your solution really does deliver for the user and the customer,” said Bohlman. “It’s invaluable for MBA students to see how this all comes together with their marketing and MBA skills to craft an innovative solution that has impact.”
“It’s invaluable for MBA students to see how this all comes together with their marketing and MBA skills to craft an innovative solution that has an impact.”
The showcase, in collaboration with RIoT, a community leader on the Internet of Thing (IoT) opportunities, was held in downtown Raleigh where the students networked and discussed their business concepts with guests who served as judges by investing “money” into the groups. While the guests contributed to the popular vote, a handful of undercover judges evaluated each proposal and chose the group who they believed had the business concept with the most potential in today’s market.
This year, the groups’ concepts ranged from video health care monitoring, limb prosthetics for children, wearable pet GPS, and an accurate posture monitoring system.
Eva Welsh, a recent graduate of the Jenkins MBA program, served as project manager for team ResMed 3DPT, a company producing personalized 3D printed sleep masks. Welsh saw the impact the practicum course had on her group as students and as professionals.
“There are a plethora of opportunities for students to bolster academic study with practical application within the Product Innovation Lab,” Welsh said. “As a professional, the Product Innovation Lab is an incubator innovation deep dive that forces process methodology and design tools such as Pugh chart data analytical analysis to validate the decision path bolstered with a strong business and financial risk model.”
At the end of the showcase, it was revealed that StormDASH, a real-time flood monitoring system, had won the popular vote with the most investments from the guests. The undercover judges then chose tobii Drill, a tool that improves E-sport gaming performance, based on the current trend of online gaming.
“I’m hoping that we can not only expand the course but also leverage it into programs and activities that benefit other universities and local organizations,” said Bohlmann as the Product Innovation Lab looks to the future in its innovation.
About the Projects
Group Members: James Hunt, Jenkins MBA; Dana Lanner, Jenkins MBA; Manas Madhukar Salunke, Industrial & Systems Engineering; Abhinay Lahare, Industrial & Systems Engineering; Emil Prisquilas Peter, Electrical & Computer Engineering; and Yimiao Xu, ID
Group Members: Ayyappa Konakalla, Jenkins MBA; Erin Finefield, Jenkins MBA; Ankit Shah, Industrial Engineering; Ryan O’Hara, Biomedical Engineering; Haley Gallagher, Biomedical Engineering; Juan Chiossone Rojas, Biomedical Engineering; and Darshan Veershetty, ID.
Group Members: Eva Welsh, Jenkins MBA; Chantel Hinton, Jenkins MBA; MD Milon Hossain, Fiber & Polymer Science; Ming Yao, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering; Samir Kothari, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering; Eric Roberts, Biomedical Engineering; and Yetong Xie, ID