U-M First to Integrate Reverse Innovation in Entrepreneurial Coursework

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The Zell Lurie Institute at the University of Michigan is the first in the nation to offer a new course about reverse innovation, the process of applying ideas from entrepreneurs and small businesses in developing countries and emerging economies to large companies in the United States.

To gather data for the course, students traveled around the world to conduct interviews and take videos about socio-economic differences and the nature of mobility innovation. The findings and analysis will form the basis for the fall-term course project, where students will work on the development of mobility technology prototypes and entrepreneurial business models.

The course “is designed to get students involved in thinking outside of what’s out there today, bringing a new level of innovation to the concept of transportation as we know it,” says Peter Adriaens, professor of entrepreneurship at the Ross School of Business.

Adriaens says realizing the growing movement away from traditional transportation trends, the course is largely motivated by companies who are exploring how innovations that occur in developing countries, in the absence of a legacy infrastructure, can help spur ideas for products in the U.S.

“Our industry is about to go through a major transformation, driven by a confluence of market factors including new technologies and changing demographics,” says Erica Klampfl, future mobility manager of research and innovation at Ford Motor Co. “We’re exploring how advancements in mobility occur in developing countries and researching whether such solutions could be leveraged here. We’re really looking forward to seeing what these talented students come up with.”

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