The Potential of Design to Foster Academic Entrepreneurship: An Ethnographic Study of metaLAB at Harvard

DS 81: Proceedings of NordDesign 2014, Espoo, Finland 27-29th August 2014

Year: 2014
Editor: Miko Laakso, Kalevi Ekman
Author: Simeone, Luca
Series: NordDESIGN
Institution: Malmo University, Sweden
Section: Education and teaching of design, product development, and innovation
Page(s): 075-084
ISBN: 978-1-904670-58-2


This paper builds upon the notion of academic entrepreneurship as a way to engage with external communities to create value (Kingma 2011) and more specifically analyses how design is used to foster this idea of entrepreneurship in a lab at Harvard in Cambridge, MA. The study is the result of an ethnographic investigation I conducted across 2013 and 2014. In the lab analysed, design plays an important role to connect academia with external stakeholders and to sustain interactions through processes of translations, iterative prototyping, co-design. These activities contribute to develop some components of academic entrepreneurship, but also open up questions on how to evaluate this entrepreneurial dimension. The study contributes to the ongoing discussions on how academia can adopt entrepreneurial approaches and reflects upon open issues potentially related to some of these approaches.

Keywords: Academic entrepreneurship, translation, co-design, design management


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