Innovation at U-Maine 

Innovation Engineering is a class based on creativity.”We teach students how to create, communicate, and commercialize meaningful, unique ideas.” Say Professor Doug Hall.Hall is an idea man — he’s a master marketer who’s worked with major companies — now he’s helping students at UMaine think outside the box.”A key part of the course is that we do real problems for real companies.” Hall adds.”We’re part of a global economy and they’re getting us involved with a bunch of different businesses.”says a student.Today the problem on tap is how to market organic products. Nell Newman – President of Newman’s Own Organics – joined the class via video conference.”She mainly stated how she began her company as a division of her father’s company. She started it about 15 years ago.” a student explains.Newman presented a Challenge to the students.”She wants us to create ideas to help her expand her organics line. Make it more popular through marketing.””When we send them the idea they look at them and they tell us their top 10 favorite ideas.” Says Hall.To help jump start the students’ creativity — and as part of National Coffee Day — they got a taste of Newman’s Own Coffee, which was provided by McDonald’s. “I think they gave us a really good example today of how it can be done, by just showing up with so much coffee and free stuff. And it kind of inspired a little thought in my mind.” a student says.”It will be interesting to see with some of the background about how we did things, what ideas they might have for marketing.” Newman comments.Hall says the lesson reached the students – on many levels.”On one level they really enjoyed it. There was some learning going on, we talked, and discussed. But obviously ya know, free coffee, when you’re on a college campus … free food is free food, no matter how you do it!”