Effectual thinking: A systematic approach for teaching entrepreneurship as part of design and manufacture lab

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


A methodology to achieve the course outcome 'Students demonstrate an appreciation for entrepreneurial opportunities relevant to design and manufacturing' as part of the Design and Manufacture Lab course was needed. Drucker defines entrepreneur as a person who shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield. Looking at the literature suggests different approaches for teaching entrepreneurship. From these an approach that supplements engineering education from the perspective of the student who concentrates on science and engineering and whose primary interest is in technological innovation, was chosen. Effectual thinking focuses the thought process on the several technologies and knowledge components (means) lying around, to identify goals that can be achieved with these means. This thought process 'the means are here what are the causes or requirements' termed 'Effectual Thinking' was taught to students and they were engaged to explore applications of NC machine tools to identify entrepreneurial opportunities. The students took part with enthusiasm and studied the characteristics of a horizontal and a vertical machining centre before entering into effectual thinking. They employed the development of an engineering memorabilia item as the candidate product for exploration. They identified that the power and ease of programming and the availability of low cost tools of small diameters with long life pave the way for 3D nesting a new application to NC machine tools, which adds value to NC machine tools. Though it would take a long way to establish and prove the effectiveness of 3D nesting, effectual thinking was useful as a systematic method for identifying entrepreneurial opportunities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event121st ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: 360 Degrees of Engineering Education - Indianapolis, IN, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2014Jun 18 2014


  • Effectual thinking
  • Teaching entrepreneurship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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