ECE 69500 - Ideas to Innovation - Ideation Catalyst


Additional details on this course will be provided prior to the Spring 2024 term.

Course Details

Lecture Hours: 2 Credits: 2

Areas of Specialization:

Counts as:

Normally Offered:

Each Spring


On-campus only


ECE 69500, Ideas to Innovation I and ECE 69500, Ideas to Innovation II (concurrently)

Catalog Description:

In this course, we will teach students to unlock their creative potential and master the art of generating innovative ideas addressing important societal problems by leveraging emerging technologies. Students will explore a diverse toolbox of ideation techniques, from brainstorming to SCAMPER, and discover how to apply them effectively in real-world scenarios. We will dive into the psychology of creativity, learn to think laterally, and harness imaginative thinking to tackle complex problems. Whether an aspiring entrepreneur or more inclined to innovate within an established company (intrapreneur), this course will empower students to transform ideas into tangible solutions. The course is a combination of lectures, recitations, discussions, and activities during which students will receive critical feedback from the instructor and peers on their idea assignments. Students start with idea harvest, i.e., the generation of multiple ideas in a short problem/solution format around an important societal problem such as climate change, environment, health/wellness, aging, automation, and AI. After critical evaluation, the most promising idea will be turned into a one pager, a format targeted for a manager or CTO. The one pager is focused on answering important questions about the problem, its scale, customer needs, proposed solution, and market potential. After a second round of critical evaluation, the one pager will be turned into a longer proposal/document (six-pager) targeted to a senior VP or potential investors. Other topics discussed in this course include opportunity recognition and customer discovery, competitive analysis, customer story and press release, user interface and user experience (UI and UX), critical evaluation of ideas and red teaming.

Required Text(s):


Recommended Text(s):

  1. How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom Paperback , Matt Ridley
  2. The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America's Leading Design Firm , Thomas Kelley, Jonathan Littman
  3. The Eureka Factor: Aha Moments, Creative Insight, and the Brain , John Kounios, Mark Beeman
  4. The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future , Kevin Kelly, George Newbern
  5. The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail , Clayton M. Christensen
  6. The Ten Faces of Innovation: Strategies for Heightening Creativity , Tom Kelley
  7. Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know , Adam Grant
  8. Think Bigger: How to Innovate , Sheena Iyengar
  9. Think Like a Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life , Ozan Varol
  10. Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation , Steven Johnson
  11. Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon , Colin Bryar, Bill Carr

Assessment Method:

Homeworks, presentations (10/2023)