Frido Smulders is full Professor Entrepreneurial Engineering by Design and works at the Delft Centre for Entrepreneurship (DCE) and the school of Industrial Design Engineering (IDE), Delft University of Technology.
He has collaborated with DCE since 2007. Teaching courses within DCE-minor programs and building entrepreneurship courses within IDE. Recently he initiated a program among the four technical universities in The Netherlands (4TU) to develop educational modules that aim to bring the fundaments of entrepreneurial engineering to all Dutch engineering students. Spreading these ideas to engineering curricula across Europe is also on the verge of becoming a program.
With his research group, he tries to build practice-relevant theoretical frameworks that cover the entire length of an innovative and/or entrepreneurial endeavour that extends from fledgling ideas to a realized organizational practice encompassing these ideas. The focus is on social-interactive behaviour (human dimension), in other words, on the behaviour of innovative and enterprising people who try to realize the new idea within a given context in close collaboration with each other.
In his view, these behaviours are fundamental for developing any new activity, so just as much for a new product/service as it is for starting a new company. There is always an existing context into which the new must be incorporated, be it an existing company or an existing market.
What he seeks to understand and theorize is all around us every day. Therefore, practice is his living-lab and all his PhD-students conduct their research from a position in the ‘trenches’ of innovating or entrepreneuring. Not surprising, that he is strong advocate of a research approach in the spirit of pragmatism as developed by, among others, John Dewey, and its derivatives like action research and grounded theory.
Frido holds a PhD in Innovation Sciences from Delft as well as BSc & MSc aerospace Engineering, also from Delft. As an aerospace engineer, his research in material sciences resulted in Glare, the material now applied in the fuselage of Airbus A380. His career in business prior to rejoining academia spans from concept engineer in the offshore industry (SBM Offshore) to a materials specialist in aerospace industry (Alcoa) and innovation & technology management consultant across the full width of industry.