Generation Flux:  Science and Knowledge in the Market
and for the Common Good

Dr. Tommy Darwin
Intellectual Entrepreneurship Consortium
Taught via Dean's Scholars Honors Program (UT College of Natural Sciences, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)

As part of the ongoing effort of the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Consortium (IE) to collaborate with UT's colleges and academic units to integrate the IE pedagogy and philosophy of education into subject matter disciplines, IE Pre Grad Internship director Dr. Tommy Darwin teaches a Dean's Scholars Seminar in the College of Natural Sciences (CNS): "Generation Flux" - Science and Knowledge in the Market and for the Common Good


As a college student, you are now living in a time of unprecedented challenges and opportunity, hence the term "Generation Flux".  This seminar is designed to help you to become an intellectual entrepreneur—to understand these challenges and opportunities, why this makes your education in the natural sciences even more valuable, and show you how to build a workable plan for doing what you care about, making a difference, and making a living so you can keep doing it. 

The course draws from design, business, and community change to give you a set of concepts and practical tools to help you:

  • Identify or articulate something you care about and are motivated to pursue – a vision and mission
  • Give that vision, a particular form as an idea or a "product"
  • Create an action plan that finds a "market" for your idea, a way to sustain pursuing it, and sequence of doable steps you can follow ("business" model + project plan). 
  • Actively engage people they don't know about your idea and your plan, so you can build support and resources for what you want to accomplish.

The seminar is run as a series of workshops, so that in addition to learning concepts and tools, you will also be able to work on your plan in the seminar, with the help of your classmates.  The primary work for the seminar, in addition to building a plan, is talking about your ideas and your plan to as many different people as you can and then using their feedback to continually modify your plan through the semester.  The course also emphasizes how building a plan and actively exploring the many ways you can be valuable in the world makes you a better student, scientist, and practitioner.


Action Plan:

  • Description of your "offer" -- could be anything – research project, a business, a non-profit, an educational website, a resume for a job, etc., -- it just has to be something you care enough about to make happen.
  • Who it's for – who will find it valuable
  • How you will actually make it happen
  • Who you need to help you
  • What resources you need
  • How it integrates with your academic pursuits and your personal commitments


  • Succinct and compelling description of what you want to do
  • How it's beneficial
  • A visual that communicates what it is and why it's valuable
  • An "ask" – what you would like someone to do in response


  • What do you really want to do (at least right now)?
  • What is the Economy? What is a Market? Why you should care.
  • "Creative Fitting" (connecting what you know and know how to do to problems that people need solved)
  • What makes you (and what you want to do) valuable?
  • "Wicked Problems" and Inquiry (why your training as a scientist makes you very valuable)
  • How to anticipate what's coming next
  • Prototype, Prototype, Prototype (how to know if your idea is any good and how to shift quickly if it's not)
  • Building a Plan you'll actually use (you really only need one page, and maybe the back of one napkin)
  • Spreading your idea and engaging others (how to get partners and the resources you need)
  • How to tell a good story (data by itself moves no one – data with a really good story changes the world)
  • Having a positive impact on your community and on the world