Robert Edgell, SUNY Polytechnic Institute – Visioneers and Venturers

Managers can take ideas from the humanities.

Robert Edgell, associate professor of technology management at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, explores how these disciplines rely on the same core principles.

Dr. Edgell is currently an Associate Professor of Technology Management, Co-Director of the Joint Center for Creativity, Design, and Venturing, and had volunteered for one year to be the Interim Dean of the College of Business Management at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. He has been a Visiting Professor at the Swiss Business School in Zurich and has delivered research papers and lectures at Stanford University’s Law School, the University of California San Francisco’s School of Dentistry, the California College of the Arts, and the University of St. Gallen. Previously, he was an Assistant Professor at American University’s Kogod School of Business where he was named Outstanding Faculty. Also, he has taught at San Francisco State University’s College of Business.

Dr. Edgell’s scholarship agenda expands upon his deep commitment to creativity, design, innovation, governance, and diversity. He is currently researching institutional change micro-processes, design culture, collective ideation, and entrepreneurial capacity development. He has collaborated with scholars from Temple University, Stanford University, and other institutions. He has published several scholarly research articles and presented multiple conference papers. Seven research projects have been featured on National Public Radio’s Academic Minute. Recently he was a co-PI recipient of a prestigious $100,000 National Endowment for the Humanities, Humanities Connections grant for Reimagining Entrepreneurship: An Integrated Pathway for Creative and Ethical Venturing. In addition, NYSTEC recently donated $25,000 for supporting his entrepreneurial Initiatives and related research at the College of Business Management. Shortly after arriving at SUNY Poly, he launched a community-based experiential learning, research, and service program that brings InnovationChallenge New York (ICNY) events to the Upstate New York region. Since then, he has organized a total of five ICNY iterations with varied topics, students, and locations. In October of 2017, he presented his co-authored empirical quantitative research paper, Reimagining entrepreneurship: Design culture exposure as a positive mediator for entrepreneurial capacity, at the International Atlantic Economics Society’s Montreal Conference (paper currently under peer review for publication). He was awarded “Campus Connector” designation by Upstate Venture Ecosystems Awards in 2016.

Dr. Edgell received his PhD in international multicultural management (magna cum laude) from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. He holds an MBA from Columbia University Business School in the City of New York and a five-year Bachelor of Architecture from Kent State University, College of Architecture and Environmental Design. Through Columbia’s Chazen Institute of International Business, he studied at Erasmus University, Rotterdam School of Management in The Netherlands. He is a registered Architect and has studied at Harvard University, Graduate School of Design.

Visioneers and Venturers


Is there interdisciplinary connectivity between the Humanities and Management? Although each offers differing views on the human condition, our research reveals that both are joined by three core unifying ideas.

The first, creativity, has traditionally been a subject of the humanities through its focus on the diversity of create expression across cultures and histories and engagement of students in developing their own create thinking capacities. More recently, behavioral and management research has studied the cognitive and social processes of creativity. The second, venturing, has traditionally been the domain of management studies and refers to entrepreneurial activity essential to launching startup organizations.

Our approach situates venturing as a way of making change and create not only economic value, but also social, cultural, and personal value. The third idea, ethics, reflects the humanities’ role in helping to re-imagine entrepreneurship and economic life with a shift towards an “economy of contribution”. This calculates reflection on personal and social values and critical awareness of how values are embedded in human actions and creations.

Together, the humanities encourages envisioning the future and cultivates ethical judgement while Management advances effective leadership and fosters the application of “know how” for successful venturing. Collectively, we refer to them as, Visioneers and Venturers.