57: AnthroNews: EmpFresnoState Blog

14 04 2009

[The following is from the blog of the Anthropology, Engineering, and Entrepreneurship]

by Dalitso Ruwe
Have to admit, I felt it was going to be a daunting task when I was asked to coordinate a design workshop for our potential target audience for our product. Sure the folks at IDEO made it look easy when we watched their video in class but things often are different in reality than what we see on the screen. Nevertheless, I welcomed the challenge as an aspiring Social Scientist/Entrepreneur.
Using ethnography techniques I have been exposed to in class, Dr. Delcore and I were able to come up with three ideal prompts for our pilot workshop. For the first workshop we solicited eight local musicians who are pretty well established in town and have been acquainted with each other either through a mutual friend or played at the same venue. As the attendees began to come in and converse about various projects they are all working on, I began to realize that whichever marketing guru ever said “Your customers don’t know what they want” must have been in a closed room working as a “lone genius” trying to come up with the next best marketing idea. Listening to the conversation going on in the room it was apparent that no one knows more about your product than your customers who interact with the product on a daily basis and often cover up their frustration with the products by finding innovative ways to supplement what the original product lacks or go buy a different product.


50: AnthroNews: Interdiciplineary Team Wins Big

20 05 2008

On Saturday, May 3, an interdisciplinary team of engineering, entrepreneurship, and anthropology students from Fresno State traveled to San Jose State University to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Region 6 Central Area Meeting. There, competing against teams from UC-Berkeley, UC-Davis, and University of Hawaii and elsewhere, the Fresno State team won the Design competition and a prize of $500 for their re-design of a voice activated TV remote control. The team, composed of Hitender Sidhu, Nino Viray and William Hyatt of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Brent Estrada of the Craig School Entrepreneurship Program, and Jennifer Jones of the Department of Anthropology, has been working on the project this academic year in a new interdisciplinary course offered jointly by Electrical and Computer Engineering, Anthropology, and Entrepreneurship. They will continue on to the national IEEE design competition this August.

A second interdisciplinary team from the same course competed on May 2 in the Interprofessional Projects (IPRO) competition at Illinois Institute of Technology. The team, with Julio Alvarez and Cynthia Lee of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Aaron Metzler of the Craig School Entrepreneurship Program, and Jason Scroggins of the Department of Anthropology, placed second in the business plan portion of the competition, against teams from IIT, Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, and elsewhere. IRPO competition is one of the toughest in the country with many teams spending two years on completing their projects.

Funding for the program comes from a grant by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. Professor Hank Delcore is the Project Director of the two year NCIIA grant. Funding for travel was provided by both the NCIIA grant and the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Timothy M. Stearns
Coleman Foundation Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies
Executive Director, Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
California State University, Fresno