Lean Collaboration on Campus? A Social Network and Bricolage Approach

Academic Article


  • Benefits of interdisciplinary student participation in a university's entrepreneurial activities are well-known. Still, institutional barriers (structural, temporal, spatial, economic, attitudinal) conspire to block participation. Aided by the NSF'’s Pathways to Innovation Program, the authors conducted a field experiment to increase engineering student participation in a high-profile business proposal competition (BPC). The experiment employed two interventions: informal social networks and bricolage – the innovative and parsimonious use of existing resources. Utilizing these interventions, the authors collaborated to innovatively exploit the Business College's BPC and Engineering College's capstone engineering projects course (CEP). The goal was to facilitate and track CEP students' BPC participation. Participation was voluntary, and not graded. Post-intervention participation in the two-staged BPC increased from 10 CEP semifinalists to 27 and 1 CEP finalists to 4 in the year since the intervention. Findings demonstrate that social network and bricolage-inspired intervention appear useful in increasing CEP student and interdisciplinary team BPC participation.
  • Authors

  • Earle, Andrew
  • Merenda, Michael
  • Short, Kevin
  • Thein, May-Win
  • Sedam, Marc
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • May 2020
  • Published In


  • Spring 2020