Course Descriptions - SETChange - Carnegie Mellon University

Course Descriptions

The courses that constitute the core of the "I Double E" minor include:

  • Technology and Economic Growth (88-391/90-756): Broad themes concerning the determinants and consequences of technological change will be covered.  The main topics include the modern theory of economic growth, the role of technological change in the historical growth of major economies, why some countries are rich and others poor, the nature of technological change and its economic implications, the diffusion and adoption of new technology, and industrial competition and technological change.
  • Technology Entrepreneurship: Principles for Practice and Policy (88-390):  The way new firm creation promotes the development and commercialization of emerging technologies is explored. Topics include how start-ups earn economic profits, how regions prosper from local start-ups, the role of universities and researchers in entrepreneurship, and the financing of entrepreneurial ventures. Students will participate in a practicum in which the prospects for technologies developed within the university are evaluated.
  • The Strategy and Management of Technological Innovation (19-682/90-880): The application of conceptual models for the interaction between market forces, technological change, and internal firm capabilities in high-tech industries will be explored.  Topics include the relationship between market structure and innovation, the organization of industrial research, patenting and intellectual property strategies, standards and network externalities, and competition and pricing strategies.  Theories will be applied to business cases drawn from a variety of industries and countries.
  • The Rise of Industrial R&D (79-440/88-345):  The origins, organization, and achievements of industrial R&D will be considered.  Topics covered include the factors that led to the establishment of modern R&D laboratories, the effect of industrial R&D laboratories on the character of science, technology, and business, how government, science, and technology shapes industrial R&D, the role of universities in industrial R&D, the globalization of industrial R&D, and the future of industrial R&D in the 21st century.
  • Industries and Technological Innovation (19-163):  A comparative analysis of how different industries develop, manage, and disseminate new technologies will be conducted.  Topics include what is product and process innovation, competition and intellectual property, coping with radical versus incremental technological change, and the management of knowledge.  Sectors emphasized include biotechnology, information technology, and manufacturing.
  • Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (19-605/88-714): The relationship between science, technology, innovation, and policy will be considered.  Topics include balancing market failure and government failure, managing tradeoffs under uncertainty, assessing and using scientific information, and  promoting economic development through science, technology, and innovation policy.  Cases examining intellectual property rights, strategic trade, R&D promotion, and standards across a range of industries and countries will be analyzed.
  • The Global Economy: A User's Guide (88-410/90-749):  The ongoing process of international economic integration - popularly referred to as globalization - has fundamentally transformed the way firms and governments pursue their interests.  This course will analyze the fundamental aspects of the global business environment that influence business decisions and behavior.  Topics include the influence of structural economic factors on the decision to locate particular economic activities in particular countries, the way government policies both promote and restrain the integration of national economies with the global economy, and the impact of volatility in the global macroeconomic environment on international business strategy.  These issues will be studied using the analytical tools and concepts of international economics, and case studies will be used to relate these concepts to actual business and policy problems.
  • The Rise of the Asian Economies (88-411/90-752): From the dawn of the industrial revolution in Britain in the late 18th Century through 1980, the locus of global industrial development remained concentrated in Western Europe and North America.  Over the last 25 years, the global economy has undergone a historic shift, with East Asia now accounting for an increasingly important fraction of global manufacturing, international trade, and technological progress.  How did this happen?  What lessons can be derived from this experience for the rest of the world?  What opportunities and challenges does the emergence of the East Asian economies create for firms outside the region?  What lies ahead?  Analytical tools drawn from several fields of economics and finance, business cases, and guest lectures by expert practitioners will be used to analyze the strengths that sustained economic growth in East Asia for decades, the weaknesses that undermined that growth in the late 1990s, and future prospects for continued growth.  Considerable attention will be paid to recent developments in the Chinese economy and the prospects for continued growth in China over the next decade.
  • Entrepreneurship, Technological Change, and Regulation in Theory and Practice (88-371):  Many opportunities for innovative activities take place in the context of extant public policy institutions (e.g., entry restrictions in telecommunications, environmental performance standards, intellectual property protections). Entrepreneurial activity plays a key role in identifying and exploiting these opportunities. The role that entrepreneurs play in the interrelationships between regulation and technological change is analyzed.  Students evaluate historical cases in which new or changing regulation presents opportunities for entrepreneurial entry in business, as well as cases in which entrepreneurial activity (in the form of innovation) presents new needs or opportunities for regulation

Other courses in the "I Double E" minor include:

  • Global Competitiveness: Firms, Nations, and Technological Change (19-611): The past twenty years have seen dramatic changes in innovation ecosystems in the US and internationally. Alone within the US, there has been a sharp decline in corporate R&D labs, matched by the global fragmentation of firm activities. At the same time growing linkages have been observed across institutional - firms, government labs, and universities - and national borders. These changes raise critical questions about the new rules of the game driving technological change in the 21st century. This course sheds insight into these questions through the lenses of competing economic, sociological, and political science theories on the structures supporting technological change. Students should leave the class able to reflect competently on what the existing literature tells us about the factors influencing global technology competitiveness, and on how modern changes in the structures supporting innovation as well as technology itself may be changing the rules of the game for firms and for nations.
  • The Social Web: Content, Communities, and Context (05-320): With the growth of online environments like MySpace, Second Life, World of Warcraft, Wikipedia, blogs, online support groups, and open source development communities, the web is no longer just about information. This course examines how the social web operates, teaches students how to use high-level tools to design and build online communities, and helps them understand the social impact of spending at least part of their lives online. Course work includes class presentations and a group project.
  • Technology Innovation, Adoption and Diffusion (17-645): The determinants of technological innovation, the nature of markets for technology, and the adoption of new technologies are analyzed in the context of software-related products and services. Students undertake projects that can be customized to suit their interests.
  • Technology and Global Development (15-502): Meaningful ways to use advanced technologies to support the development of communities where the world's poorest people live are studied. The history and politics of development over the last century, the economic and social contexts in which development work takes place, and current applications of advanced technology for sustainable development are reviewed. Particular attention is paid to the complementary roles that governments, entrepreneurs, and non-governmental organizations can play in the development process. Students participate in discussions and debates, evaluate existing development projects, participate in a simulation field study, and engage in a small group class project.
  • Art as Business/Business as Art (60-387): Delegation, agency, team production, monitoring, group entrepreneurship—all these terms inform the division of labor in contemporary artistic production. Topics explored include: the influence of collectors, dealers, curators, critics, or connoisseurs on the buying and selling of art; factory aesthetics in art, i.e. issues of reproducibility, mass production of art works as in the work of Andy Warhol, Takashi Murakami, Jeff Koons, Andrea Zittel; innovations in terms of marketing, exhibition, and distribution of contemporary art; and alternative, critical art-business models. Semester projects include the drafting of an art-oriented business proposal as well as critical essays that analyze the history and theory of factory aesthetics within art.
  • Service Innovation (08-463): Students are introduced to the concept of services and their increasing role in the global economy and global employment.  Service innovation is defined, and contrasts are drawn between service and product innovation. Service innovation mechanisms and barriers to innovation are explored. Organizational outcomes, the measurement of service innovation, globalization of service innovation, and innovation in public services are also considered.
  • Decision Tools for Engineering Design and Entrepreneurship (19-484/24-484): Students are provided with a multidisciplinary mathematical foundation for integrated modeling of engineering design and enterprise planning decisions in an uncertain, competitive market. Topics include economics of product design, manufacturing and operations modeling and accounting, consumer choice modeling, survey design, conjoint analysis, decision-tree analysis, optimization, game theory, model integration, and professional communication skills. Students apply theory and methods to a team project for a new product or emerging technology of their choice, developing a business plan to defend technical and economic competitiveness.
  • Social Innovation, Social Enterprise, Social Change (90-811—this is a mini course and counts as one-half of a course): This course provides a theoretical and practical introduction to organizations that bring the market, in addition to traditional philanthropy and government funding, to bear on realizing a social mission. Focus areas include profiles of successful social enterprises, critical success factors, culture change in nonprofits, basic entrepreneurial strategic planning and business planning, positioning and marketing, characteristics of social investors, and growth strategies and challenges.
  • Microfinance and Development (90-858—this is a mini course and counts as one-half of a course): Microfinance is the provision of financial services such as credit, savings, and insurance to the entrepreneurial poor. This course explores leading microfinance programs and models as well as historical, developmental, operational, and methodological perspectives in the field. Financial ratio analysis, funding sources, and future international and domestic directions for the field are also considered.
  • Social Enterprise Incubator (90-845—this has been a mini course and if it remains so it will count as one-half of a course): Students in this course begin developing social enterprises, i.e. organizations in any sector that bring the market to bear on realizing a social mission, either through a purely earned-income model or a revenue stream that also includes philanthropy and public funding. Students conduct feasibility studies and/or develop business plans depending on the degree they have investigated and tested their concepts. The entire class serves as an advisory group for each participant.
  • African Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurs in Africa: Past, Present, and Future (79-301): It is well documented that for centuries Africa has been a thriving place of business despite the obstacles of war, political and economic instability, disease, and famine.  Focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, challenges that African economies faced in the past, present, and future, such as regional integration, access to credit, and debt burdens, are examined.  Strategies that local and foreign entrepreneurs in Africa have developed to circumnavigate these challenges are analyzed and Africa's current and future roles in the global economy are assessed. 
  • Institutions, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation: Institutional environment and public policy greatly affect incentives determining the direction of entrepreneurial activity and innovation that are the engines of economic growth. In societies with poor institutions, entrepreneurial talent is mostly directed towards seeking rents rather than generating productive innovations. But even in modern capitalist economies entrepreneurial activity and innovation are strongly influenced by public policies, for example, those related to intellectual property rights. This course seeks to provide students with analytical frameworks that will enable them to understand how various formal and informal institutional arrangements and public policy decisions influence entrepreneurial activity and innovation and how this, in its turn, affects economic efficiency and growth potential of nations.
  • Industry Structure and Dynamics- Prerequisites: (73100 or 88220) and (36201 or equivalent):  Our modern economy comprises a wide diversity of industries. These industries exhibit a variety of patterns in 1) the distribution of production, employment, and profits among participating firms; 2) business practices and modes of competition; 3) innovation and technology diffusion; and 4) geography. Not only do industries differ, but also specific industries evolve as they mature. Nevertheless, certain features and issues appear in many industries. This course uses an augmented case study approach to examine both selected industries and some of the patterns and behaviors that occur across industries. Each unit begins with a profile of a specific industry. Students learn how to collect statistical data and descriptive information to construct their own industry profiles. Examples of industries that might be covered include steel, pharmaceuticals, restaurants, telecommunications, airlines, and software. A unit continues by examining selected prominent characteristics from the case study that reappear in other industries. The course draws upon the fields of industrial organization, spatial economics, and regional economic development to study the economic logic and prevalence of this prominent feature or behaviour. Potential examples include entry and exit; firm growth; pricing policies; franchising and principal-agent problems; advertising; product differentiation and design; patents and intellectual property; technology adoption; economies of agglomeration; and network externalities.
  • The Economics of Global Warming:  The scientific community has concluded that human industrial activities are causing global temperatures to increase.  Coping with the environmental, economic, and political consequences of this change is considered by many to be the preeminent public policy challenge of the 21st century. In this course, we will investigate the basic science of climate change, the prospective economic impact of global warming, the uncertainty involved in long-run climate forecasting, and the technological alternatives available to us as we seek to mitigate the impact of human industrial activity on global warming.  The heart of this course will be an in-depth analysis of the policy options available to the United States and the global community. We will investigate the economic costs of these options and the way political realities are likely to shape and constrain policy at the national and international levels.