Duke’s I&E coursework has a four class structure. First, you take a gateway course which introduces you to principals behind innovation and entrepreneurship. Second, every student takes the keystone course which provides the backbone for launching a sustainable venture. Third, is an elective in which students can branch out to explore their own interests. Fourth, is the capstone in which students begin with students bring one of their own ideas into the real world.
I enrolled in my gateway course, “Engineering 121: Engineering Innovation” my first semester of freshman year and the course provided an excellent introduction to both the certificate program and engineering as a whole. The course centered on design challenges in which groups of three students were presented with some obstacle. As a team, groups would analyze the target problem and develop a physical solution as well as a formal write-up of the solution. The format of these design challenges created the perfect opportunity for me to learn and refine skills as an innovative engineer.
Every student completing the I&E certificate is required to take the keystone course, which lays the foundation for launching and sustaining a venture. After completing the course, students will have a solid understanding of the four major corners of a business: the customer value proposition, the go-to-market plan, the technology and operations management, and the profit formula.
I believe that failure is an integral part of learning to be an innovator and is something that is not normally encouraged as a student. I have recently finished reading Henry Petroski’s book “To Engineer is Human,” which is all about the role of failure in successful design. The book helped me realize the importance of failure, and this course seems like the perfect way to address an area in which I would like to devote more time. In this vein, I decided to take this course.
This is a project based course in which students try to tackle a real world problem over the course of a semester. My team focused on finding a more efficient and equitable way to connect students to reserach positions.