Terri Park | MIT Innovation Initiative
August 30, 2016

Whether at a startup, large corporation, or nonprofit, the chief technology officer (CTO) serves a crucial role in an organization as the person responsible for translating technological capabilities into strategic business decisions.

This fall, a new course, 15.359/6.901 (Innovation Engineering: Moving Ideas to Impact), will take MIT undergraduates through that journey. Students will gain the perspective of a CTO and develop an understanding of the innovation process, from an idea’s inception through impact in the economy, regardless of organizational setting.

Led by instructors—Vladimir Bulović, associate dean of innovation, co-director of the MIT Innovation Initiative, Fariborz Maseeh Professor of Emerging Technology, and Fiona Murray, associate dean of innovation, co-director of the MIT Innovation Initiative, William Porter Professor of Entrepreneurship—Innovation Engineering will explore how solutions are developed to become ready for broader market deployment.

Students will gain an understanding about the testing and development process towards ‘technical readiness’ of an application; examine the human aspects of innovation, specifically team building; and will consider the broader system for innovation, including the role of key stakeholders in shaping its success. Students will also learn about intellectual property, the effect of regulations and social and cultural differences across varied global markets, and the personal skill set necessary to align and manage these issues. The course will be augmented by talks from visiting lecturers, structured case studies, highly interactive exercises, and field trips to local startups.

“Our goal is to educate students to serve as leaders in the innovation economy. Whether the student aspires to found a company or join a startup or large organization as an entrepreneurial member at some point in their career, we want to equip them with the knowledge, the skills, and the confidence to develop, scale, and deliver breakthrough solutions after they leave MIT,” says Professor Bulović.

Launched by the MIT Innovation Initiative and jointly offered through the School of Engineering and the Sloan School of Management, Innovation Engineering is one of two core subjects for the new Entrepreneurship & Innovation minor. Open for enrollment this fall, the minor is designed as an interdisciplinary program with a coherent combination of conceptual and practical elements that draws on a wealth of educational activities in this domain.

“Our students have asked for a more innovation-focused education that aligns with their course of study which complements, rather than competes with, time spent on their discipline-based education,” says Professor Murray. “MIT students embody the entrepreneurial spirit and the MIT Innovation Initiative is thrilled to be able to offer this enhancement to their education.”

Requirements for the minor are structured around five courses. Students will complete a core curriculum consisting of two entrepreneurship and innovation foundational subjects as well as an elective subject in each of three domains—E&I in Context, Leadership of Teams & Organizations and E&I Experiential.

15.359/6.901 (Innovation Engineering: Moving Ideas to Impact) [12 Units] will be offered this fall on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9–10:30 am.

To learn more about the Entrepreneurship & Innovation minor, visit