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Christine L. Williams, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Spring 2008

SOC 321K • Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
46485 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
UTC 1.144

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to understand the relationship between entrepreneurship, technology transfer and wealth creation. Entrepreneurship is the major source of wealth and job creation. Technology, and the transfer of that technology to the world of commerce, is the major source of "creative destruction" and the invention of future opportunities. Technology transfer requires a partnership between laboratories (public labs, university labs, and private labs) and the business community. Thus we will focus also on inter-organizational transfer and adoption of knowledge across business, academia, and government. We will also give a consideration to technology transfer within the firms and theories of best practices of innovation and knowledge management. The Office of Technology Commercialization at The University of Texas at Austin has agreed that students in this class can view and use, as working case studies for learning, technologies at the University of Texas at Austin. This university does over 400 million basic research a year, and thus has a stable of technologies that are seeking to be commercialized. All rules related to that transfer (if students would like to carry the transfer to a real enterprise) will be regulated by the rules of the technology transfer office. Also, we will look at technologies from public laboratories such as NASA and DoD. The class will also benefit from lessons from IC2 at The University of Texas at Austin and its laboratory, The Austin Technology Incubator. The class will be divided into teams so that we can explore the overall structure of technology transfer.

This course is above the creation of wealth from technologies; it is not about the management of entrepreneurial ventures. When I teach a traditional entrepreneurship course, it is really about entrepreneurial strategy. That is, you start with cases that reflect the financial quality of the firm, the marketing tradition of the firm, etc. This course is about 'creative destruction," or how new technologies enter the market and change the nature of business enterprise. Because of the nature of the content of the course, there is not a history of traditional case studies. Thus you will be introduced to the literature on how to create wealth. This includes the importance of research laboratories, creating strategies for dealing with inventors, an understanding of the importance of intellectual properties, and of course the commercialization (either scaling or harvesting) of technology.

Wealth Creation through technology transfer and entrepreneurship requires different kinds of "cases." The entrepreneur must understand the mechanisms and tools that will allow the creation of economic dreams. This means understanding, within communities, the structure law firms, financial firms, accounting firms, business angels, venture capitalist and others who understand the process. Austin Texas, like Silicon Valley and Route 128 in Boston, represent regions which have produced a great deal of wealth through technology transfer.

Grading Policy

(25% of Grade)Three short papers that review the "to date" readings that will form the basis of class discussions. Papers should be in the form of a review. I am interested in your reactions to the readings.
(25% of Grade) Class discussions based on the readings. Although the readings are not in the tradition of case studies, we will take the case study approach during class. We are dealing with ideas, how those ideas were generated, and how they are commercialized.
(50% of Grade) An assessment of technology transfer plan which allows an understanding how a technology could enter the market; market also includes improving product that is already on the market. This paper will be grounded in the knowledge of the course and you will work with a team to assess the technology. The plan is due when the team presents in class.


The major text will allow us to wrap the traditional entrepreneurial process around technology transfer.

Richard C. Dorf and Thomas H. Byers, Technology Ventures: From Idea to Enterprise, (Boston: McGraw Hill, 2005)
Phyllis L. Speser, The Art & Science of Technology Transfer (Not required)
Course Packet (posted on Blackboard)
There will also be videos and guest speakers.


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