Open Innovation Leveraging IBM Watson

Working with Professor Solomon Darwin has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my college career. After taking his UGBA190T Business Models & Open Innovation course in Fall 2013, I was invited to serve as Prof. Darwin’s Undergraduate Student Instructor for the UGBA193i Emerging Market version of the same course this semester. Prof. Darwin’s classes have always been structured in this way: Consultation project/challenge assignments; Lectures on relevant concepts applicable to the projects; Mid-term exam geared towards gaining groundwork for projects; Ongoing teleconferences and in-person projects advisory from corporate executives abroad and in the U.S.; and a Final Presentation to challenge sponsors, among other corporate judges.

Prof. Darwin has been teaching on the subject for over five years now, and has guest lectured worldwide, such as Peter Drucker School of Management in Claremont; Stanford University Graduate School of Management; EM Lyon School of Management and Euro-med School of Management in France; Wuhan University, East China Normal University, International University of Business & Economics in Beijing, and Jiao Tong University in China; Lancaster Unviersity in the UK, Korean University in South Korea, University of Zurich in Switzerland, University of Turku in Finland, and BI Norwegian Business School in Norway.

In an e-mail from IBM’s Jim Spohrer, Director of Global University Programs, and Pamela Induni, Manager of Watson Academic Engagement, they expressed their admiration over Berkeley-Haas students’ presentations on unique sponsored challenge solutions. They state that they “have been impressed with the quality of your student projects pertaining to Open Business Models taught by Professor Solomon Darwin during the past two years.” Prof. Darwin has actively engaged with IBM over the past few semesters, inviting corporate executives to judge student presentations, and even tackling IBM’s consolation project on Education for his Open Innovation in Emerging Markets course this Spring. Consequently, IBM has selected UC Berkeley, among less than a dozen universities, to participate in IBM Watson’s cognitive computing course to be offered in Fall 2014.

According to Spohrer, Watson can be built for any discipline, whether it is for business discovery, financial advice, retail, or medicine. The class is an opportunity for innovative students to utilize their creativity and go beyond oneself to help people through the Watson computer. Spohrer hopes this kind of cognitive computing will allow more flexibility in communication to be incorporated in one’s daily life, versus the current form of programming which necessitates expertise in special or unique languages.

Prof. Solomon Darwin, who spearheaded the Haas Emerging Markets Open Innovation course this Spring and co-instructor to “Open Innovation Leveraging IBM Watson”, cites that Watson could be especially beneficial to emerging economies. Watson can be accessed by anyone with access to Internet, the technology thus is powerful in its unprecedented ability to increase the reach of cognitive computing.

This course is limited to 26 students (Seniors and Juniors from the following schools will be accepted: 10 Business, 10 Engineering and 6 Information). Students need to apply to be selected at our course site provided below. Instructors, Don Wroblewski and Solomon Darwin, of the course are looking for a special pool of talent to form four groups that have the potential to gain national visibility. The students will compete against six other top schools to win $100,000 to seed their venture. Most importantly, the group gets to own the IP they created.

APPLY on the course website: UGBA198 Course Web Page LINK. The course will not be listed on the Tele-bears system and will be independent from the regular enrollment system.

Application Deadline: June 10.

You will be notified by June 17th through and email that you provide and not through the Tele-bears system.

Denice Sy
Class of 2014

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