Cross-disciplinary Duke Partnerships: Helping Duke Nursing Bring a Product to Market


Nicholas School Gorguze-Peters Professor of the Practice Jesko von Windheim directs the school’s Environmental Innovation & Entrepreneurship (EIE) Program, which teaches Duke students to develop, evaluate, refine and launch new sustainable products and services. Von Windheim is widely known in business and academic circles as an entrepreneurship guru, so when faculty and students throughout Duke University need advice on how to bring a new idea to market, he is often their first call.

For instance, the Duke School of Nursing’s IT experts had developed an innovative system to streamline the traditionally arduous task of scheduling faculty teaching assignments. They thought the automated management system might have commercial value with other academic units, but they didn’t know where to begin.

Von Windheim provided guidance and engaged a team of Nicholas EIE and Fuqua graduate students to compile a comprehensive assessment, including market and organizational analyses and financial modeling. This data and expertise has enabled the nursing school to begin piloting the system and introducing it to Duke colleagues as they move toward a national market.

“We didn’t have the resources, the time or the expertise to effectively and efficiently evaluate the business opportunity or the viability of this product. Working with the Nicholas School gave us an opportunity to think through things we had never thought about before. It was a disciplined process, and it really helped us focus in on the issues.”

-Michael Evans
Assistant Dean for Communications, Marketing and Business Development
Duke University School of Nursing

Learn more about the EIE program here.