Mondragon University (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 5867-5876
ISBN: 978-84-617-8491-2
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.1373
Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain
This paper objective is to demonstrate the development and results achieved in the programme tangible business needs testing program (TBNTP); a pilot experience developed by the Engineering Faculty of Mondragon University which promotes the entrepreneurial education specifically at PhD level. This new training methodology involves industry-academy collaboration within the entire TBNTP process; from industry proposals of R&D lines according to strategy and needs, the identification of the viable technical topics, business market testing at industry events with the ongoing support of industry-academic mentors as technical advisors. 12 PhD students from different universities were selected to develop their business ideas in relation to their technical doctoral thesis. TBNTP provides a platform and mechanism for PhD students to train and develop innovation within industry.

Doctoral students follow the ideation for industry-society training itinerary in order to identify an initial business idea. Lean start up concepts and tools, together with value proposition and business model approach support this iterative process. The results of this, along with the undertaken during the programme and the three workshops, promote learning and testing results with Industry and taking into account market needs. Subsequently, each student shapes their business idea into a Business Model Canvas (Canvas); a tool for describing, analysing, and designing Business Models (Osterwalder, 2010).

TBNTP proposes a general framework based on practical methodologies in order to identify current business needs and develop solutions catering for the relevant business as an entire entity. This framework encomphasses the global learning itinerary with the driving criterion being ideation for industry and society, transforming knowledge into innovations. During the program, doctoral students use this methodology to enhance their capacity to identify industry opportunities, to develop theoretical ideas into viable solutions, to create prototypes (products or services) and to transfer these results to the market with ongoing experimentation in a real industry context. A further requirement is that participants have to design a business model during this process. Participants interact with Industry whose role is to be customers of the proposed solutions

The TBNTP project had consecutive milestones: firstly, the identification of the business ideas and the exploration of market attractiveness. Consequently, each student presented their achievements to the programme participants and industry-academy mentors. Subsequently the first prototypes of Business Models were built and tested on the market. Accordingly, once feedback was obtained, updated specifications were defined.

To sum up, the goal of TBNTP is to give entrepreneurial education to PhD students in the faculty of Engineering with the creation of a new Business Model and fostering new holistic innovation champions through ongoing training. This required a development of knowledge in applied sciences, practice, and market innovations. The results are clearly appreciable thanks to the interaction with the real market experience by the contestants.
Entrepreneurial Education, Business Model Canvas, Tangible Business Needs Testing Program, University-Industry Collaboration, SMEs.