From conception to commercialism

by Rachel Sproston

News every month from the world of academia

Photo: Courtesy of PolyU

To illuminate the process linking innovation to corporate profit the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), has launched a Master of Science in Technology Management programme to meet the increasing need for sophisticated technology management.

Its structure and flexible study mode attracts executives, managers and engineers from all professional backgrounds, including the manufacturing, finance, public utilities and service sectors.

"Unlike typical programmes in information technology management, this programme does not focus exclusively on a particular technological aspect," says Hamid Noori, visiting chair professor, the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, PolyU. "Instead, we seek to address an array of core technology-related challenges, including technology identification, selection, acquisition, exploitation and protection."

Among other things, the programme aims to equip students with the acumen to achieve commercial success through a comprehensive grasp of innovation cycles, as opposed to the art of innovation alone. It also facilitates understanding of the financial and strategic frameworks for the development, acquisition and adoption of technology in an organisational context.

"The combination of innovation and technology in business is gaining global momentum. Decision makers should pay particular attention to technology development and its application in the future in order to improve corporate competitiveness," explains Professor Noori. As students learn how to converge technology with corporate strategies, the companies they represent benefit accordingly.

Comprising three compulsory plus 10 core subjects, MSc students are introduced to a range of subjects including management of innovation and technology, technology transfer and commercialisation, technology audit and assessment, systematic innovation for product development, managing six sigma, as well as customer relationship management technology.

"We aim to teach our students how global corporations currently apply technology in the corporate environment where geographic boundaries are disintegrating. In order to help them fathom these concepts, we review a range of international case studies to ensure learners adopt a truly practical approach to technology management," reveals Professor Noori.

Regarding time management for busy executives, both the compulsory subjects and certain core subjects are offered on Saturdays and Sundays to minimise any clashes with professional duties, while some subjects are offered on weekday evenings.

The practical pedagogic approach at PolyU is clearly distinguishable in the delivery mode of the programme. Guest lectures compliment conventional lectures and seminars offered by visiting academics encourage learners to share best industry practice. Field trips are organised to ensure students benefit from both theoretical and practical activities.

Anyone looking to increase their level of responsibility in acquiring, auditing, managing, transferring or financing technology would find the programme an effective way to upgrade existing skills and refresh industry knowledge.

Taken from Career Times 13 June 2008, p. C10
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