Latin American Collaboration Drives Eco-friendly Innovation

Technology Management minor students team up with Costa Rican engineers

Global tech innovation emerges from fundamental building blocks: demand, collaboration, creativity, and practical scientific application. These elements made our international virtual collaboration with students at Tecnológico de Costa Rica (TEC) a great experience.

One of the top public universities in Costa Rica, TEC is best known for its engineering and science prowess. Lecturer John Goldberg, who teaches the Technology Management minor course, tapped his professional and personal ties in Costa Rica to organize our team project between engineering students at TEC and undergraduates at UC Davis. 

Our five teams at Davis worked together virtually with students from TEC to create business proposals for innovative new products, which we pitched to our professor.

Eco-Friendly Business Ideas

Costa Rica pioneered the concept of ecotourism in Latin America, earning its green reputation. Nearly 30% of the country has been designated as national park or reserve, and roughly 90-95% of the nation’s energy needs come from local renewable resources. The government has pledged to become a carbon neutral country by 2021.

Costa Rica also is among the top 30 leading exporters of high-tech products. This, and the world-class STEM research and conservation ethnos at TEC and UC Davis, led us to focus on developing eco-friendly technological concepts.

TEC engineering students created this prototype of an environmentally-friendly chair.

In Costa Rica, as part of the project, TEC engineering students worked on a prototype of an environmentally-friendly chair. The chair had to be made with sustainable materials to help meet the needs of environmentally conscious companies. Meanwhile at UC Davis, our student teams developed a business pitch for companies touting the benefits of the eco-chair.

As part of the collaborative assignment, the two groups crafted detailed product information to assemble a marketing plan for the eco-chair.

Despite some communication challenges, our group used social messaging apps such as WhatsApp to introduce ourselves to the TEC students and relay key information about the product and project timeline. We kept in constant contact during the five-week project and produced a slide deck to pitch the eco-chair.

At the end of the busy academic quarter, our team took a moment to reflect. We had the opportunity to work with creative and innovative students from a renowned university 4,000 miles to the south, and assist by developing a business plan to pitch their innovative product.  We realized the value of cross-continent collaboration.

Tech Career Prep

The project prepped us well for our future careers. We’ll be more comfortable working with fellow innovators, no matter the distance. We now understand how to research international markets, how to develop effective business plans, and collaborate on innovative solutions.

We’d like to thank John Goldberg for helping us with this project and introducing us to our counterparts from TEC.

“I am planning to schedule future collaborations with both the Technology Management and Project Management courses that could possibly extend to other international universities.”

– Lecturer John Goldberg

We’d also like to thank our UC Davis peers who helped with this project, and the TEC students we teamed up with for their contributions and hard work.

We encourage future Technology Management students to participate in experiences like these as UC Davis continues to foster relationships with global institutions.