Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Concepts that come to mind when we think about innovation and entrepreneurship include leadership, initiative, converting an idea into an innovation, taking action, and doing. This cluster:

  1. takes risks (like encouraging learning as we are doing)
  2. takes time to understand failures (failures are part of innovating) and learns from them
  3. sees the opportunity in problems
  4. acts

Great ideas are wonderful but putting them into action is where the magic happens.

Mission: Our cluster exists to serve students, the university, and the community by collaborating across complementary fields of study. By promoting the enterprising habit of mind, we design solutions to the widest range of social, educational, commercial, and environmental problems. We encourage our students to take risks, learn from failures, see opportunity in problems and act.

Real-World Cluster Project

Engaging Community and Business Leaders in Lancaster, New Hampshire

The Problem

A historic community needs to stimulate new entrepreneurial ventures, attract and retain young professionals, and re-envision a landmark building.

Awareness of the Issue

Students familiarized themselves with the community’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats through multiple meetings with business owners, civic leaders, and town officials.

Collaborative Team Projects

Students in the Innovation & Entrepreneurship and the Tourism, Environment, & Sustainable Development clusters worked closely with Lancaster leaders.

Proposal Presentations

Site visit and on-campus research were combined to create full business proposals, which were made directly to the Lancaster community.

Improved Outcomes

Viable strategies to advance Lancaster’s economic and social prospects included branding, marketing, and social media plans, and strategies for drawing millennials to town.

Undergraduate Degree ProgramsGraduate Degree ProgramsMinorsCluster Projects
Start a Movement

Project Submitter

Denise Normandin

Project Description: Flexing your creative brain is sexy. Students will assess, refine and evaluate an on-line/mobile physical activity platform. By applying marketing concepts and knowledge they will describe their user experience of the on-line platform.  The students will develop marketing recommendations for a “new” National On the Move University Challenge. Students will perform market analysis by enlisting campus members to participate in interviews, surveys and/or focus groups to share the On the Move University concept. Students will gain perspectives from potential participants to determine needs/infrastructure to create more movement and social connectedness throughout the campus. Students will share marketing recommendations through various delivery mediums for the National On the Move University campaign to ultimately compete to be the most active university in the country! More importantly, this is an opportunity to engage current students in a collaborative project while potentially attracting and retaining students and employees to a campus environment that inspires community-based approaches to healthy living and well-being!

North Country Power Sports

Project Submitter
Brad Allen

Project Description: The north country of New Hampshire (above the notch) is a region of the state that has experiences severe economic deterioration over the past 20 years due to the closing of many mills and other major employment sources. As such, a dependency upon hunting, fishing, tourism, and snowmobiling have become a primary economic driver however climate change has further eroded these seasons reducing out of state visitors to these small towns. Over the past five years the 12 regional all-terrain vehicle clubs (ATV) have partnered with regional government to combine their summer trail systems creating the Ride the Wilds network of ATV trails that combined represent over 1,000 miles of maintained riding environments for ATVs. The Ride the Wilds trail system is one of the best in the country and represents a unique partnership between the ATV clubs, local businesses, and private land owners. Local governments have relaxed restrictions to allow ATV’s to travel on designated streets and roads so that trail systems can connect and riders can access local restaurants, gas stations, hotels, and shopping with no modifications of the machines or special state registrations.

The scope of this project is to develop an economic impact study baseline to show how much this industry impacts the regional economy. It is also the objective of this project to take the foundational benefits that have been created and develop new economic impact opportunities to promote responsible recreational vehicle usage.

North Country Community Development Pilot/Lancaster, NH

Project Submitter
Roy Stever, Pamela Anneser, Eric Spieth

Project Description:  Provide a range of supporting, PSU cluster-based, services to a team of highly motivated community leaders in an effort to strengthen local economic and social conditions in Lancaster, NH.  The effort will focus on recent acquisition of a key building in downtown as an anchor to build entrepreneurial ventures, as well as an incubator, and to attract a younger demographic as a seed to the town’s future economic success.


Project Submitter
Tom Guarino

Project Description: ANROI is the acronym for AllwellNorth Resource Optimization Innovation which is the foundation for a mechanism establishing new and innovative uses of the university’s resources. ANROI becomes the umbrella organization where teams of students, under the guidance of an advisory board, brainstorm, create, design and develop ideas for using existing university facilities, such as AllwellNorth and Merrill Place for activities involving external audiences. These student teams will meet in an open lab where they will be assigned to teams of students from different clusters/majors for teambuilding exercises leading to the brainstorming, collaboration and consensus needed to jointly develop a product/service plan, including supporting documentation and rational, for presentation to the advisory board for approval/rejection.

Rural Educational Leaders Network (RELN)
Project Description: The Rural Educational Leaders Network (RELN) provides a professional network for rural educational leaders in the state. The project is endowed through a generous gift by Ms. Ann Haggart. It was Ms. Haggart’s request that we use the funds to develop the leadership practices of existing and aspiring school principals and superintendents. An annual two day summit is hosted at PSU and three one day network meetings are held annually in the communities represented by participants. RELN is led by an advisory committee that includes rural educational leaders, University faculty, graduate students in educational leadership, and business/community leaders. During year one, the project developed membership from the North Country. During year two membership is developed in Lakes Region and year three will focus on development from the southern regions.

PSU Summit Day

Project Submitter

Denise Normandin

Project Description: The pilot project engages participants in group physical activity, hiking outdoors with a purposeful intention. This plan provides an opportunity for individuals to strive towards the summit of any given mountain while experiencing physical activity in the natural environment. This plan will introduce the participants to trail hiking techniques, safety and equipment needs, physical activity assessments, questionnaires, focus groups, journal reflection, purposeful thought and an on-line website interaction that will prepare them for a one-day hike in a group setting. The participants will be observed directly in both indoors and outdoors environments. Additionally the participants may be video recorded and/or photographed throughout the training and hike.