Exploring “Technical Innovation and Product Prototyping” in Silicon Valley

FYELIC Teaching Professor Bala Maheswaran of the Col­lege of Engi­neering led a five-week-long Dia­logue of Civilizations program, titled, “Technical Innovation and Product Prototyping” in Silicon Valley, San Jose. The program explored the customer-driven market, technology innovation, and rapid product prototyping via experiential and interactive team-based, skill- and knowledge-integrated approaches using real-world situations.

Silicon Valley is the ground zero for technology evaluation. Silicon Valley's big corporations and startup companies provide an ideal setup for students to shape engineering applications through experiential learning. Silicon Valley is continuously producing new technologies and contributing positively to the world. Its ever-evolving technology transfer and startup companies create the finest system for the Dialogue of Civilizations to Northeastern University students. The “NU Silicon Valley Campus” provided the perfect facilities for classes and activities. In addition, the group spent the end of the program in San Francisco and used the Northeastern University San Francisco campus at, “WeWork”, for activities.

The dia­logue offered two courses on customer-driven technical innovation and product prototyping, which included activities, such as, visits to several established and start-up companies, visits to Tech Innovation and Company Museums, listening numerous guest seminars by Silicon Valley companies, customer interviews, and social events. Stu­dents were required to present a case study on Silicon Valley companies, their failure and success stories, proposals for projects to the company guests, designing, building and presenting prototypes, and write project reports. Learning about Silicon Valley start-up and large corporation culture provides valuable opportunities for education, research and professional careers for Northeastern University students.

Related Faculty: Bala Maheswaran