Reshaping the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Curriculum

In his September 2012 inaugural address, incoming MIT President L. Rafael Reif noted the Institute was already a global leader in innovation. He also recognized the need to push the science of innovation forward. “With the right facilities, alliances, and programs,” he stated, “we can build on that lead and continue to serve as one of the most powerful engines of innovation in the world.”

The MIT Innovation Initiative (MITii) works with all five MIT schools to strengthen the educational pathways and networks for students, alumni, and partners to move ideas from conception to impact. In MIT’s tradition of “mens et manus,” it does so by combining hands-on, global opportunities for building expertise in the innovation process with insights developed from the evidence-based science of innovation. MITii serves as a connector across the many innovation and entrepreneurship programs on campus, supports the expansion of existing programs to serve more students, and is creating new education, research, and infrastructure efforts to fill key gaps in the landscape of opportunities.

MIT is refashioning its entrepreneurship curriculum with courses that integrate existing discipline-based training with expertise in innovation. The curriculum is designed for undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral education, and focused on moving from idea and invention to action and the marketplace. MIT faculty and experienced entrepreneurs will bring clinical expertise and real-world experience into the classroom. Many of the new courses will involve team learning where students from various disciplines form groups that focus on innovation challenges.

As an initial step, in response to undergraduate student requests for an innovation-focused education that aligns—rather than competes—with their course of study, MIT will offer a new Entrepreneurship & Innovation Minor in Fall 2016. Jointly offered by the School of Engineering and the Sloan School of Management and engaging departments and centers from across campus, the E&I Minor will educate students to serve as leaders in the innovation economy, with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to develop, scale, and deliver breakthrough solutions to real-world problems.