5639 E&I Zone 5: The Entrepreneurial CTO: Technical Leadership to Translate Science-based Innovation to New Businesses
Prof. Mark Johnson, Ph.D.
Contact details
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
02/19/19 to 02/21/19
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Day Date Time Room
Monday 03/18/19 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM TC.3.07
Wednesday 03/20/19 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM TC.3.12
Monday 03/25/19 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM TC.3.07
Wednesday 03/27/19 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM TC.3.07
Monday 04/01/19 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM TC.3.07
Wednesday 04/03/19 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM TC.3.12
Monday 04/08/19 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM TC.3.07
Wednesday 04/10/19 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM TC.3.08
Monday 05/06/19 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM TC.3.08
Wednesday 05/08/19 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM TC.3.12
Monday 05/13/19 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM TC.3.08
Wednesday 05/15/19 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM TC.3.07
Monday 05/20/19 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM TC.3.08
Wednesday 05/22/19 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM TC.3.12
Monday 05/27/19 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM TC.3.08
Wednesday 05/29/19 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM TC.3.12

This course will be held by our currently appointed Fulbright Professor Mark Johnson.

Technology based entrepreneurs are faced with significant challenges that if successfully addressed represent strong competitive advantages. In addition to operational risk and market risks, the defining risk of a technology start-up is the underlying question: does the tech work? For most software based start-ups, these risks are mitigated through human talent as coders. However, for the physical science based start-up, the initial stages of entrepreneurship often involves additional R&D as the underlying discovery or invention requires additional or ancillary technology advancement before it can be viably integrated in a marketable product. In this course, the unique challenges and risks of technology R&D within an entrepreneurial firm are examined and strategies for minimizing technical risk while maximizing economic opportunity are explored. After taking this course, a student should be able to systematically evaluate the risks related a new technology discovery and establish strategies and actions to most effectively harness technology as a competitive advantage in the marketplace. This course should be particularly relevant to students with a background or prior degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) discipline, although specific or specialized STEM-based knowledge would not be required. The new knowledge gained in this course should prepare students for technical leadership roles in science-based entrepreneurial firms and technology innovation organizations.


Week 1: New Technology in Context: the Technology-Product-Market Value Paradigm
Week 2: Ideation of a Market Opportunity: the Problem Statement and the Value Proposition
Week 3: Testing Against the Future: Voice of the Customer before Product Development
Week 4: Asking Better Questions: Voice of the Customer, Again.
Week 5: Techno-Economic Analysis 1: Costs in Context of a Product
Week 6: Techno-Economic Analysis 2: Sensitivity Analysis and Technology Gaps
Week 7: The First Prototype: When is the Tech Good Enough and Learning by Doing
Week 8: Mid-Term Examination and Assessment
Week 9: Intellectual Property: Patents and Trademarks – Securing and Litigating
Week 10: Innovating Faster and More Efficiently: Heilmeyer Questions for R&D Management
Week 11: Selecting a Final Project: Identifying Opportunity
Week 12: Innovators Dilemma Revisited: Technology Based Product-Market Disruption
Week 13: Business Model Strategy and Technology Innovation: Buy, Build, Sell or Fold
Week 14: Identifying Technical Talent: Recruit the Best to Your Team
Week 15: Partnerships: Technology Eco-Systems to Lower Cost and Time of Innovating
Week 16: Final Project Presentation and Discussion

Learning outcomes

The goal of the course is to deepen and enhance the knowledge of students about entreprneurship and innovation in an technological context.

After successfully completing the course, students will be able to:

  • understand different approaches to new product development
  • design and implement the launch of a new product/service
  • use customer feedback to refine innovative ideas

Moreover, this course will improve the students’ ability to

  • efficiently work and communicate in an international team
  • work on solutions for customer problems
  • communicate and present efficiently and effectively
Attendance requirements

Attendance: In order to successfully pass this course, your absence is limited to 20% of our appointments.

Teaching/learning method(s)

Two seminar-style class meetings per week, with a preparatory reading expected before each class session as well as participation in in-class discussion and debate - 50% lecture and 50% small group discussion/project.

The course fits into the overall plan of the E&I portfolio using the pedagogical techniques of “problem-based learning” in which students gain knowledge, experience and confidence by working in teams on complex and real-time cases.


The grading is as follow:

  • Mid-term exam (30%)
  • Final project (40%)
  • Class contribution (30%)


Prerequisites for participation and waiting lists

SBWL Entrepreneurship und Innovation and Incoming Students

Availability of lecturer(s)

Fulbright Professor Mark Johnson:

Last edited: 2019-01-16