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ENGINEERING TRIPOS PART IB – 2012/2013
PAPER 8–SELECTED TOPICS - Manufacturing & Management
Dr. T. Minshall, Dr. a. Parlikad
Weeks 1-4 Easter term,
12 lectures + 2 Industrial cases, 2 examples classes, 4 lectures/week
The aim of this course is to introduce the excitement of business development related to technology innovations. Although we can’t promise to make you millionaires, we will cover the key choices facing anybody seeking to exploit the commercial potential of a technology based innovation – whether as an entrepreneur or acting within an existing business.
By the end of the course, given a technical innovation, students should be able to:
Specific objectives are given for each lecture, and both the examples sheet questions and exam questions will be designed to test students learning against these objectives.
SYLLABUSThe lectures follow a series of key questions which represent the decisions that must be taken in finding an exploitation route for a technical innovation.
1. Where do inventions come from?
Inventions may arise from a spontaneous inventive step, a market demand, or a development of an existing idea. The purpose of this course is to explore the path from invention to business, but we start by examining the source of inventions and the conditions in which they are likely to occur. By the end of the lecture, given a perceived market need, students should be able to:
2. Is there a market?
Two major sources of invention are ‘push’ – the inventor thinks of something new and must establish a market; and ‘pull’ – there is a clearly defined market demand. In both cases, successful exploitation depends on understanding of the nature of the market and identifying precisely what the need of the users and customers are. By the end of the lecture, given a proposed new technology or concept, students should be able to:
3. What do the users want?
It is important that any design meets the requirements of potential users, customers, and any other stakeholder who might be influenced by the design, from maintenance to distribution. There are a number of different ways in which these requirements might be captured and considered. By the end of the lecture, students should be able to:
4. From specification to concept
Usually the inventive step is not a whole product but some feature of a broader ‘package’ offered to customers. In the early stages of the design process, it is important to clarify the exact product proposal, and to create viable concepts that might satisfy user requirements. By the end of the lecture, given a target market and a clear understanding of user needs, students should be able to:
5. How will the product be made?
Having considered the idea, the relationships between the invention and the market, the protection of the idea and the ‘business model’ the product must now be made. This involves decisions about whether components are made ‘in house’ or ‘out-sourced’, how jobs should be designed for manual workers, and how to manage relationships with partner companies. By the end of the lecture, given a description of a product and a delivery system, students should be able to:
6. How can your ideas be protected? - an introduction to intellectual property
Before any public disclosure of an innovation, an inventor must decide how to prevent competitors copying the new features. By the end of the lecture, students should be able to:
7. How can your ideas be protected? - more on patents and other aspects of IP
One method for protecting intellectual property is through a patent - but these are not as simple or as protective as is generally thought. By the end of the lecture, given a patent for an artefact or process, students should be able to:
8. How does the innovation make money?
This lecture focuses attention onto two related issues. Firstly, we examine and compare the different 'business models', i.e. the various ways in which your business can generate revenue. This is trying to address the question of 'What are you actually going to sell?' Secondly, we turn attention back to looking at who the customer really is for your idea (a theme highlighted in lecture 2) and link this to the business model. By the end of the lecture, you should be able to:
9. How to get investment?
Businesses need resources (people, equipment, consumables, etc.) to create value. Many new firms need external financial investment in order to acquire these resources. External financial investment comes in different forms from a variety of sources. The aim of this lecture is to provide an overview of these different types and sources of investment, and explain what entrepreneurs need to do to in order to acquire investment. By the end of the lecture, students should be able to:
10. How to work with other companies
Very few companies are able to create value by operating alone. Working in partnership with other businesses is a very common feature of innovation-based businesses. Partnerships can encompass joint development agreements, licensing deals, co-branding, market channel access, and many more. However, there are many management challenges that need to be overcome if partnerships are to deliver value to all partners. By the end of the lecture students should be able to:
11. Keeping ahead through innovation
Implementing one good idea is not sufficient to ensure the long-term survival of a company. Companies need to innovate if they are to continue to grow. In this lecture, we will review the different types of innovation – such as product, process, service and business model – and the challenges of managing a portfolio of innovation projects in a growing business. By the end of the lecture, students should be able to:
As companies grow, new management challenges need to be addressed. For example, when a company has only a few employees who all know each other very well, decisions can be made quickly. As a company grows and has hundreds or thousands of employees, things get more complicated. In this lecture, we will examine the differences between the management of a start-up and a larger, long-established company. By the end of the lecture, students should be able to:
13 and 14.Case studies
As a conclusion to the course, two external speakers – one high-tech start-up founder, one senior manager from a large multinational firm – will discuss their own experience of successful innovation, giving students the chance to test knowledge gained in the sessions against real experience.
Please see the Booklist for Part IB Courses for references for this module.
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