Real-time Venture Engineering

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Venture Design Engineering Laboratory (VDEL) aims to design and study ecosystems for innovation in less industrialized economies. Innovation ecosystems are environments where people from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds are enabled to work together to create new technology and business ventures that address societal needs.

We follow an approach of creating test-bed fellowship programs in different field-sites around the world. The fellowship programs nurture high performance teams to discover deep societal needs, create technological solutions and launch innovative business ventures to address these needs. Venture founding teams are empowered with design methodologies that cut across disciplinary boundaries of anthropology, engineering, product design, entrepreneurship and finance. With an emphasis on en-skilling teams in collaboration, innovative behaviors, and scalable venture formation, teams are nucleating agents for the innovation ecosystem.

VDEL researchers observe, analyze and implement interventions in collaboration with local partners to study the process of team-based technology venture formation and development of innovation ecosystems. Current and prior research includes topics such as concept creation, improvisation, emotions, and coaching methodologies in the context of venture formation teams.

Field Sites:

Institute for Venture Design, Abeokuta, Nigeria

The Institute for Venture Design (IVD) has been established at Abeokuta in Nigeria in collaboration with Fate Foundation. IVD's goal is to set-up a series of activities within a purposefully designed space to develop people with a sustained mindset of collaboratively exploring new ideas, and realizing those ideas in terms of commercial success and positive social impact. IVD aims to simultaneously effect three changes
1. Transforming individual mindsets
2. Creating sustainable business venture teams
3. Creating an extended community of investors, entrepreneurs and engineers to nurture, buy and sell innovative businesses


VentureStudio, Ahmedabad, India
VentureStudio has been established at Ahmedabad in India in collaboration with Ahmedabad University. VentureStudio offers a product and business creation oppurtunity through a full-time fellowship program for entrepreneurs, engineers, innovators and designers to learn and practice designing their own companies. Focus is on creating scalable, innovative ventures within a six-month period.



Larry Leifer, Faculty and Principal Investigator -

Ade Mabogunje, Senior Researcher -

Neeraj Sonalkar, Research Associate -

Malte Jung, Postdoctoral Scholar -

David Cannon, PhD Candidate -


Sonalkar, N. (2012). A Visual Representation to Characterize Moment-to-moment Concept Generation Through Interpersonal Interactions in Engineering Design Teams. PhD Dissertation, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

Sonalkar, N., Mabogunje, A., Parmar, V., Cannon, D. & Leifer, L. (2012) A Testbed for Studying Venture Design Teams in Emerging Markets. Proceeding of the 12th International Design Conference, Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Jung, M. F. (2011). Engineering Team Performance and Emotion: Affective Interaction Dynamics as Indicators of Design Team Performance. PhD Dissertation, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

Jung, M, Sonalkar, N., Mabogunje, A., Banerjee, B., Lande, M., Han, C., Leifer, L. (2010) Embedded Theory: A blueprint for designing theories that bridge design research and practice. Paper submitted to the Eighth Design Thinking Research Symposium (DTRS8). Sydney

Lande, M., Sonalkar, N., Jung, M. and Han, C. (2010) Mapping Design Thinking: Studying Professional Software Design with Design Thinking Culture Metrics. Paper presented at Studying Professional Software Design Symposium. University of California at Irvine, February 2010.

Sonalkar, N., Jung, M., & Mabogunje, A. (2010). Emotion in Engineering Design Teams. In S. Fukuda (Ed.), Emotional Engineering (pp. 311): Springer.

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