Winter 2015 Seminars

For Winter 2015, the theme is Innovation. How does one take research from an academic arena and bring it to the real world? How does one innovate? We attempt to answer these questions through these seminars:




Jan 9 Innovation Overview and Introduction of various speakers. What is expected of students? Dr. Luca Foschini and Prof. Ambuj Singh
Jan 16 Book discussion: Blank's Four Steps Group discussion
Jan 23 Technology Management Program Overview and the New Ventures Competition. Dave Ardonetto, Entrepreneurship Program Director
UCSB's Technology Management Program
Jan 30 Global Awareness in Research Cynthia Stohl, Professor of Sociology, UCSB
Feb 6 AppFolio: An example of Blank's Four Steps Klaus Schauser, AppFolio
Feb 13 Aptitude: An example of using PhD research to create a company Scott Ferguson, CEO, Aptitude
Feb 20 Salty Girl Seafood: Another example of developing a business from academic research Norah Eddy, Co-Founder, Salty Girl Seafood
Mar 6
Mar 13
Final Project Presentations.  See below. Students


Reference Material

  • Blank, Four Steps to Epiphany, 2006
  • P. F. Drucker. Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Collins, 1993.
  • J. Livingston. Founders at Work: Stories of Startups Early Days. Apress, 2007.
  • E. M. Rogers. Diffusion of Innovations. Free Press, 2003.
  • M. Porter, Competitive Strategy
  • E. Ries, The Lean Startup
  • Jeff Dyer, The Innovator's DNA
  • W. Chan Kim, Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant
  • Hacker News:
  • TechCrunch:


Final Project

You don't need to write a paper, however it would be good if you could be as specific in your presentation as if you were to write a 4-5 page paper.

Option 1 (Recommended)

  • Pick a business, organization, movement that you admire.
  • Learn everything about it, from news, interviews to founders, on site experience.
  • Understand its mission and strengths, and how it came to be.
  • Address weaknesses and potential for improvements.
  • Propose a specific improvement or new feature that could be implemented. This could be anything from a new market to be addressed, or an additional service to deploy to a niche of customers, or an additional feature if the focus is on a product. This section requires you to be specific in the improvement propose and should demonstrate you've thoroughly thought about it.

Option 2

This is similar to Option 1 except that you need not to start from an existing business/organization/movement, but you can create your own. This option is not preferred, unless you have a clear goal in mind, for two reasons:

  • a similar exercise is already going to be proposed in the context of the NVC (New Venture Competition)
  • in order to make a compelling case of the feasibility of the idea, which is the ideal outcome, some business planning and other financial assessment that go beyond the scope of this course would be required. Once again, those aspects of business creation will be covered in the TMP program and the New Venture Competition.