Building a Culture of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
In January 2015, I attended a visiting lecturer event at Mines, where writer and biographer Walter Isaacson presented a review and discussion of his recently published book, The Innovators. He discussed the history of people involved in development of computer technology and the evolution of tools and companies we have today, such as the internet, Microsoft, Apple and Google. In many cases, the founder of an idea or inventor of a new technology was not the person with the vision to apply the idea and benefit an institution or society overall. That process is entrepreneurship.
After listening to this presentation, I thought, “How can Mines be one of those cultural environments that encourages not only invention and innovation through research, but also entrepreneurship?” In fall 2016, Mines’ President, Paul C. Johnson, challenged the Alumni Association Board of Directors to develop an interest group centered around entrepreneurship and innovation. This challenge piqued my interest, and I volunteered to be chair of a committee to lead the effort.
While the university is working on ways to facilitate entrepreneurship and innovation on campus, the E&I Interest Group Committee has developed roles for the alumni association to connect the campus with alumni to continue to develop and encourage an entrepreneurial and innovative culture across the entire Mines community. Today’s graduates may not only have multiple employers during a career, but they probably will have multiple careers. The E&I interest group will create a “hub” within the alumni association that connects those seeking assistance in career change, expansion and business formation with graduates and outside available talent (patent attorneys, angel investors, business incubators and accelerators, business brokers, corporate strategy specialists, etc.) to spur the success of Mines alumni. We hope to create a culture that encourages a spirit of entrepreneurship and provides a pathway with experienced guidance that can increase the odds of success, regardless of their career path.
The E&I culture at Mines is alive, well and rapidly expanding in vitality. If you want to be a part of this exciting effort, either for your own career growth or to offer your specific expertise and experience in the E&I community, I invite you to jump aboard by contacting the alumni association and getting involved.
Stuart E. Bennett ’66
Mines Alumni Association Director
E&I Interest Group Chair