Led by Scarlett Miller, associate professor of engineering design and industrial engineering and director of the engineering design program, the research team hosted multiple engineering design workshops in both the U.S. and Morocco. Aoran Peng, a current industrial engineering doctoral student, said the team members selected Morocco as a workshop location because of its position as a rising economic power and its people’s passion and enthusiasm for entrepreneurship. Peng received her master of science in engineering design in 2020 and completed her thesis by investigating the impact of risk-taking by Moroccan students tasked with generating and selecting novel design solutions.
Additional team members include Zoubeida Ounaies, director of the Convergence Center for Living Multifunctional Material Systems and professor of mechanical engineering; Jessica Menold, Hartz Family Career Development Assistant Professor of Engineering Design and Mechanical Engineering; and Katie Heininger, Schreyer Honors College and industrial engineering alumna. The team partnered with Hamid Kaddami, professor at Cadi Ayyad University in Morocco.
“Risk-taking is interesting, as it is an essential factor to consider in almost every field if you want to be innovative,” Peng said. “Risk is associated with novel ideas — because no one has done it before, it is impossible to know whether it will be successful in the market or if you will be successful in meeting your expectations. Those are all risks that individuals need to consider.”
The team built upon Miller’s previous design, entrepreneurial and innovation research by analyzing the differences between the design concepts that were generated and selected versus the and risk-tolerance of Moroccan and Penn State students in the engineering design workshops. The Moroccan relationships were fostered through previous work with Ounaies and the United States Tunisia Morocco Partnership on Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Engineering Education.