- Technical collaborations, particularly across disciplines, can be significant catalysts for discovery, innovation, and technology transfer. However, the sheer size of the technical community generally inhibits efficient collaboration and identification of potential collaborators, especially across disciplines. Smaller academic institutions with emerging research and technology development missions, in particular, while producing significant discoveries and innovations, rarely develop a broad enough reputation in any given area to produce considerable recognition. This functional invisibility is a significant barrier to technology commercialization as well as to research collaborations from which technology emerges. Furthermore, the resources necessary to overcome this obstacle are often beyond the reach of these institutions.
- Innovation Emporium Inc. has worked with multiple universities and produced an exportable prototype of a paradigm—MichiganLink—that provides an efficient means for these institutions to effectively promote their technologies, research capabilities and niches of expertise, as well as for potential collaborators and customers to find those niches. This significantly enhances the capability of these institutions to actively and fully participate in the innovation process.
- This conceptual scheme forms the base for an initiative under discussion with a number of nonprofit, private sector and public sector partners. This virtual world is a place for exploring innovation, entrepreneurism, science and technology. The village is a mentored community in which social exploration as well as academic inquiry are encouraged. Career path exploration with links to informal science and mathematics education become adventures for the curious inhabitants.
- Innovation Emporium Inc. is designing this world to capture the motivating features of electronic social impact games without losing the rigor of formal education—quest, surprise, wonder and imagination.
- Innovation Emporium Inc. seeks to create a flexible multi-reality, inviting the participation of formal educators, professionals, and NPO’s as well as corporate and foundation supporters.
- "We have observed a troubling decline in the number of U.S. citizens who are training to become scientists and engineers, whereas the number of jobs requiring science and engineering (S&E) training continues to grow. These trends threaten the economic welfare and security of our country (National Science Board, January 2004)."
- Michigan Technological University in partnership with Innovation Emporium Inc. created and fully implemented a premier event for recruiting middle- and high-school students into science, mathematics, engineering and technology career fields. Five thousand students participated in the inaugural event, YES! Expo 2004. From 2005 through 2008, the YES! Expo attracted 13,000 to 15,000 students annually. This event brings together more than 60 corporations, universities, nonprofit and government organizations to provide teens with hands-on experiences and contact with more than 1,500 scientists and engineers. Held at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, the YES! Expo includes a welcome by prominent political leaders, encouraging students to enter the innovation economy. Each YES! Expo also includes a world-class multi-media show, offered twice during the event, which is focused on the excitement of pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) career paths.