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The science and art of innovation

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Scientists, communications and marketing professionals and commercial bankers: this is just a glimpse at the diverse backgrounds of the working professionals who are choosing to invest their time and focus on gaining a Master of Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship (MCE). We checked in with four of our year 1 students from the 2018 cohort on how the MCE is enhancing the work they do.

As a Commercial Partner at BNZ, Timothy Wixon is motivated to meet the needs of his clients and help build their success. Moving his sights beyond a pure banking lens means he is able to deliver innovative solutions for his clients.

“The MCE has been really interesting in terms of augmenting my knowledge around what I do every day. This includes how to start up and grow more high potential New Zealand companies and to better understand the context of where a bank can fit into the picture, particularly from the perspective of founders and business owners. I am now able to better understand all the things they need to think about in the earlier stages of their ideas and businesses,” he says.

Christian Miller is a Research Scientist at Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre. Coming from a technical background, he says the MCE has opened his eyes beyond the research.

“As a scientist you become highly specialised in a specific and technical area – which has its benefits – but the MCE programme has taught me the scope by which my skills and ideas can be utilised in a wider commercial context. Gaining a deep insight into how a technology is valued and how we go about commercialising that technology has given me a complete framework and invaluable tools.”

Joan Zhang is a social media specialist working with Air NZ and says the MCE has opened her eyes to wider areas of marketing and innovation than traditional marketing courses can offer.

“Working in a creative field, ideas are not the scarcity but how to manage and nurture them is. Studying innovation management as part of the MCE has enabled me to build up a framework, tools and a commercial lens to do so.”

Heidi Darcy says the professional development and immediate application to her work as Intellectual Property and Science Communication Manager at Comvita has been a real highlight.

“The MCE has exposed me to a whole new set of tools and strategies for commercialising technology. Even after only one semester, I can say with certainty that this masters has benefited my professional development more than anything else I have undertaken in the previous five years.”

This diversity of the cohort studying the MCE has assisted everyone’s learning and put them in contact with people outside of their usual realms of connection. Seeing how other people think and approach tasks differently has been a learning experience in itself.

“I have learnt such a lot from my fellow students who come from very diverse workplaces and professions. They are a really fun group too, so I look forward to coming to class each fortnight. I’ve really enjoyed working with such a cross-functional group in the team assignments and appreciated their experiences and perspectives,” says Heidi.

Joan has appreciated this aspect of the programme as well. “I’ve met and collaborated with people from all different backgrounds which is just fascinating, not to mention the guest speakers who represent the forefront of New Zealand innovation.”

All agree that the networks they get access to through the MCE is a huge source of inspiration and motivation. This includes not only the invaluable opportunities to talk with entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of New Zealand’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem and opportunities to learn from guest speakers, but also the wider perspective and understanding these networks open up.

“I have become aware of a whole new level of developing technologies and trends, which inspires me to look beyond traditional approaches to innovation, Heidi says.

So far, the year 1 cohort have learnt about why organisations engage in commercialisation, particularly within research innovation, and worked on IP-based projects. They are exploring skills, approaches, methods and tools for carrying out business analysis for research commercialisation from the disciplines of Accounting and Finance, Marketing, IP and Commercial Law.

Group projects will be starting soon, where they look at a real piece of IP/technology to compile a business strategy on survival and growth. This gives a practical reality to how they can take their learnt skills and knowledge from the classroom to the marketplace.

“Entrepreneurship and disruptive innovation are the buzzwords of today, and for a reason!” Christian says. “What I am learning in the MCE emphasises the importance of both and has given me the confidence to pursue benched ideas, which I hope in the future will benefit us all. It’s exciting to be a part of this new innovative movement.”


What to know more about the Master of Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship?

Attend an information session, view our programme information or contact us for personal advice. www.mce.auckland.ac.nz

 

The science and art of innovation
The science and art of innovation

social media

Scientists, communications and marketing professionals and commercial bankers: this is just a glimpse at the diverse backgrounds of the working professionals who are choosing to invest their time and focus on gaining a Master of Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship (MCE). We checked in with four of our year 1 students from the 2018 cohort on how the MCE is enhancing the work they do.

As a Commercial Partner at BNZ, Timothy Wixon is motivated to meet the needs of his clients and help build their success. Moving his sights beyond a pure banking lens means he is able to deliver innovative solutions for his clients.

“The MCE has been really interesting in terms of augmenting my knowledge around what I do every day. This includes how to start up and grow more high potential New Zealand companies and to better understand the context of where a bank can fit into the picture, particularly from the perspective of founders and business owners. I am now able to better understand all the things they need to think about in the earlier stages of their ideas and businesses,” he says.

Christian Miller is a Research Scientist at Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre. Coming from a technical background, he says the MCE has opened his eyes beyond the research.

“As a scientist you become highly specialised in a specific and technical area – which has its benefits – but the MCE programme has taught me the scope by which my skills and ideas can be utilised in a wider commercial context. Gaining a deep insight into how a technology is valued and how we go about commercialising that technology has given me a complete framework and invaluable tools.”

Joan Zhang is a social media specialist working with Air NZ and says the MCE has opened her eyes to wider areas of marketing and innovation than traditional marketing courses can offer.

“Working in a creative field, ideas are not the scarcity but how to manage and nurture them is. Studying innovation management as part of the MCE has enabled me to build up a framework, tools and a commercial lens to do so.”

Heidi Darcy says the professional development and immediate application to her work as Intellectual Property and Science Communication Manager at Comvita has been a real highlight.

“The MCE has exposed me to a whole new set of tools and strategies for commercialising technology. Even after only one semester, I can say with certainty that this masters has benefited my professional development more than anything else I have undertaken in the previous five years.”

This diversity of the cohort studying the MCE has assisted everyone’s learning and put them in contact with people outside of their usual realms of connection. Seeing how other people think and approach tasks differently has been a learning experience in itself.

“I have learnt such a lot from my fellow students who come from very diverse workplaces and professions. They are a really fun group too, so I look forward to coming to class each fortnight. I’ve really enjoyed working with such a cross-functional group in the team assignments and appreciated their experiences and perspectives,” says Heidi.

Joan has appreciated this aspect of the programme as well. “I’ve met and collaborated with people from all different backgrounds which is just fascinating, not to mention the guest speakers who represent the forefront of New Zealand innovation.”

All agree that the networks they get access to through the MCE is a huge source of inspiration and motivation. This includes not only the invaluable opportunities to talk with entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of New Zealand’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem and opportunities to learn from guest speakers, but also the wider perspective and understanding these networks open up.

“I have become aware of a whole new level of developing technologies and trends, which inspires me to look beyond traditional approaches to innovation, Heidi says.

So far, the year 1 cohort have learnt about why organisations engage in commercialisation, particularly within research innovation, and worked on IP-based projects. They are exploring skills, approaches, methods and tools for carrying out business analysis for research commercialisation from the disciplines of Accounting and Finance, Marketing, IP and Commercial Law.

Group projects will be starting soon, where they look at a real piece of IP/technology to compile a business strategy on survival and growth. This gives a practical reality to how they can take their learnt skills and knowledge from the classroom to the marketplace.

“Entrepreneurship and disruptive innovation are the buzzwords of today, and for a reason!” Christian says. “What I am learning in the MCE emphasises the importance of both and has given me the confidence to pursue benched ideas, which I hope in the future will benefit us all. It’s exciting to be a part of this new innovative movement.”


What to know more about the Master of Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship?

Attend an information session, view our programme information or contact us for personal advice. www.mce.auckland.ac.nz

 


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