Innovations, Technology, and Business

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Innovation and Technology - ECE 195 - Syllabus


Dr. Gregory Tangonan

1st and 2nd Semesters SY2009-2010

Course Description

Though technology plays a very important role in our lives, we seldom reflect on how technical breakthroughs happen, how technology driven companies actually change our lives, and Ateneo Innovators fit into this picture.. This course focuses on technology driven innovations and how these new ideas, new devices, business models, and new services radically disrupt the competitive landscape. Modern engineers and scientists need to understand the process of technical innovation - how great ideas become great companies.

The First Semester of the course focuses on what innovation is, what are the attributes of the world’s best innovators, what differentiates technical innovation from business process innovation, and how do we Filipinos fit in this highly competitive landscape. To this end we will survey many of the latest innovations that are being brought to market today. Several excellent survey materials will help guide the class discussion - The Economist Technology Quarterly issues for the last year and Business Week Survey of the Top New Products Designs. We address what makes technical innovations like the iPod, the Google Search Engine and 23andMe genetic testing into huge market successes and how do these innovations spawn more innovations in turn. Here we will read the story of Innovators like Google and Apple and learn how these companies maintain their leadership in innovation and are fierce competitors in the marketplace. In this segment the students will do in-depth presentation on the Top Innovators of 2009.

Students will present individually their analysis of the market potential of a wide variety of new products, designs, services, and businesses. They will learn to present new product plans to prepare them for a role as on the job Innovator.

The Second Semester focuses on the transition from great idea, to lab prototype, to working model, to creating a company or patenting our ideas. Here we focus on the path taken by start-ups in the US by reading Founders at Work, an excellent book that relates the experiences of high tech start-up founders in their own words. The class will survey the path to success (or failure) of different startups from around the world. It will become very clear that great companies come from great ideas, not incremental tweaking of business strategies and business plans. We will study the strategic role that intellectual property – patenting, licensing, and trade secrets – plays in securing for entrepreneurs their intellectual equity. In this segment the students will do in-depth presentation on the Top Start-ups of 2009 from Business Week and analyze why these particular companies are highly rated as innovators and what is the basis for the high valuations by the investment communities. Students will do patent searches to determine the state of the patent portfolios of individual companies studied on class.

We will bring these lessons learned to our research labs in Ateneo and ask: what are we doing in the our research projects that can be transitioned successfully to the marketplace? What can we patent ? We will demonstrate how well-focused thesis projects in Ateneo can form the basis for new ventures, by building on the success of other successful companies and applying the present state of the technology to new applications.

The course is intended as a capstone course that develops a strategic overview of technology and applying this knowledge to the Philippine scene. This course complements their students’ skills in science and engineering disciplines. Being aimed for young technologists at the start of their careers it is supposed to be a fun course rich with student presentations, discussion and interesting reading. The instructor or guest speaker will oftentimes just catalyze student discussion. This class could make learning and investigating new ideas, summarizing new ideas, and judging the potential impact, an integral part of their lifelong learning.

Course Objectives

The course will develop skills in strategic thinking about technology and society about how technology driven innovations vastly affect the marketplace.

The course will hone student’s presentation skills, especially in making concise and insightful presentations on technical topics.

This course will develop information gathering, information analysis, and critical thinking skills that will prove useful in your future careers, especially where a strong technical background can be coupled with a good understanding of the societal effects of innovation.

Course Topics

Hot Technologies and their Potential Impact- What makes them Hot, How were they developed, Who are the leading proponents.

This year’s focus is how new companies that address Sustainable Solutions for Energy, Environment and Health will be creating new industries and services worldwide.

The New Global Competitiveness Environment – Why the Philippines is poised to jump ahead in Innovation.

The Viewpoint of Company Founders - What were their great ideas, How and when did they become successful as a business, how did they learn from failure, how did the get their initial funding, how did they protect their ideas?


This course is open to upper division engineering and science students participating in thesis projects. Since the student presentations will require some understanding the details of technological breakthroughs, a strong technical background is required.

Readings, Information sources, and Seminars:

The reading materials for the class are available through the Ateneo Innovation Center Library. Students can read the original books, subscription based reading materials from magazines like The Economist, the Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, Technology Review Magazine, IEEE Spectrum. A bibliography is given below for the class. Readings in Technology and Society will also be provided, in most cases as soft copy. Extensive use is made of available reading materials on the Internet, so timely topics can be discussed. Students are encouraged to listen to several Innovation Podcasts on the Web. Students who integrate their thesis readings with this course material will derive maximum benefit from the course.

Course Requirements

Meeting deadline for presentation is of great importance in evaluating student. Students are required to make four major presentations to the class and to participate in meaningful class discussions of presentations. In most cases, the presentations and proposals are Power Point slides (5 charts max – 5 minutes max). Not meeting deadlines will result in a significant lowering of the high grade that students start with. Position or reaction papers to Invited speakers will also be required. Where required the students will submit a paper on innovation that includes the presentation material. The grading scheme is based on class presentations, class participation and reaction papers and on time submission of the class assignments.

Innovation and Technology Bibliography -

All reading materials are available for all students to read in the Innovation Center Library in the original.


21st Century Economy - A Beginner’s Guide by Randy Epping (2009 Vintage)

CATS- The Nine Lives of Innovation by Stephen Lundin (2009 McGraw? Hill)

The Clean Tech Revolution: Discover the Top Trends, Technologies, and Companies to Watch by Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder (2008 First Collins)

Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman (2008 Farrar, Strauss,Giroux)

Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff (2008 Harvard Business Press)

Wikinomics- How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams (2008 Portfolio)

The Post American World by Fareed Zakariah (2008 Norton)

Founders at Work:Stories of Startups' Early Days by Jessica Livingston

(2007 Apress)

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Taleb (2007 Possibly Maybe)

The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman (2006 Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Updated Edition)

The Economics of Information Technology by H. Varian, j. Farrell, and C. Shapiro (2004 Cambridge Press)

Inventor's Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen (2002 Harper Collins)

The Inventor's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth by Clayton M. Christensen and Michael E. Raynor (2003 Harvard Business School Publishing)

How Breakthroughs Happen: the Surprising Truth about How Companies Innovate by Andrew Hargadon (2003 Harvard Business School Publishing)

Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore

(2002 Harper Collins)

Newspapers and Magazines

Technology Quarterly from the Economist Magazine (2008 to 2009)

New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, Business Week, The Economist, Atlantic Monthly

Technical Journals

IEEE Spectrum, Scientific American,

American Scientist, MIT Technology Review,

Physics Today, EE Times


First Assignments Presentation for Engineering Management and Innovation and Innovation and Technology

Find below the First Assignment description for both the Innovation and Technology Class and the Engineering Management Class.

Both classes were presented the First Assignment, which is Business Week's Top Designs of 2008. The Innovation and Technology Class is assigned a second assignment (due after the first) based on the Economist Quarterly for the last year.

Students are required to pick one of the Top Designs from Business Week and explain the essence of the Innovation and to write a project proposal for the new product design that builds on the Business Week design.

Open the pdf here for the First Assignment Presentation.

Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
pdfpdf First_Assignment_-_why_and_what_do_we_want.pdf manage 3619.5 K 24 Jun 2009 - 15:27 GregTangonan First Assignment Presentation
docdoc Innovation_and_Technology_Readings_for_First_Assignment_.doc manage 30.0 K 17 Jun 2008 - 01:11 UnknownUser First Assignment for SY 2008-2009 st semester
docdoc syllabus_CE_195_first_sem_2008-9.doc manage 162.5 K 17 Jun 2008 - 01:11 UnknownUser syllabus CE 195 first sem 2008-2009
Topic revision: r9 - 24 Jun 2009 - 16:08:05 - GregTangonan
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