Design-as-translation as enabling factor in academic entrepreneurship : an analysis of MIT SENSEable City Lab

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Design-as-translation as enabling factor in academic entrepreneurship : an analysis of MIT SENSEable City Lab

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Publication Conference Paper, other
Title Design-as-translation as enabling factor in academic entrepreneurship : an analysis of MIT SENSEable City Lab
Author(s) Simeone, Luca ; Secundo, Giustina ; Schiuma, Giovanni
Date 2015
Editor(s) Spender, J C; Schiuma, Giovanni; Albino, Vito
English abstract
Purpose – There is an increasing attention on the entrepreneurial dimensions that enable academia to pursue innovation development and commercialization, for example in the form of intellectual asset management, university spin-offs and technology transfer and brokering (Shane 2004a; Wright et al. 2009). The economic revenues generated by these forms of academic entrepreneurship are becoming more and more attractive for higher education institutions in order to develop new revenue value streams and sustain financial viability (Shane 2004b; Wright et al. 2007; Wong 2011). In addition, it is pointed out that academic entrepreneurship plays an important role toward the creation of societal value (Botes 2005). This paper aims to prospect academic entrepreneurship as a way to connect academia with external stakeholders in order to jointly create value (Kingma 2011). The stakeholders’ value network centred on academic entrepreneurship can respond to different wants and needs, not necessarily aligned, and focusing on various forms of value to be created. The holistic integration of such value network is a key issue. This paper draws insights from the investigation of how SENSEable City Lab – an academic lab nested within the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA) - uses design as a translational mechanism to connect and align different stakeholders in the process of value creation in academic entrepreneurship. Design materials such as sketches, data visualization and interactive prototypes are used at various stages to coordinate the stakeholders: through the design process, ideas and concepts undergo semiotic translations and are materialized into visual, audio, tangible formats. Design can even be employed to facilitate participatory design session where all the stakeholders directly contribute to the design process, jointly creating visual representations and prototypes (Simonsen and Robertson 2013). Design/methodology/approach – The study is the result of an investigation - also based on ethnographic methods – conducted over a period of 4 years (2011-2014) at SENSEable City Lab of MIT (USA). This research methodology to investigate a real case study has proven to be an appropriate method to investigate particularly complex phenomena that require a direct involvement of researchers in the field (Czarniawska 2012). Originality/value – This paper analyses the role of design-as-translation and enabling factor in academic entrepreneurship. This is a perspective currently under-investigated in design research. Practical implications – Design can play a relevant role in supporting entrepreneurial activities in academia. These entrepreneurial activities are nowadays particularly important, especially at a time when in most countries public funding for academic institutions is decreasing.
Publisher Institute of Knowledge Asset Management
Host/Issue Culture, Innovation and Entrepreneurship : connecting the knowledge dots;
ISSN 2280-787X
ISBN 978-88-96687-07-9
Pages 13
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Translation
Academic entrepreneurship
Humanities/Social Sciences
Note 10th International forum on knowledge asset dynamics, IFKAD, Bari Italy, 10-12 June 2015
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