honors beasley

Honors Class Encourages Students to Change the World through Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Thousands of companies live in your smart phone. TCU students are learning how innovative businesses use technology to turn our global economy into connected communities with a shared purpose. 

July 21,  2015

By Elaine Cole

[Excerpt from Neeley Magazine Spring/Summer 2015] - People around the world are bound together with smartphones, devices, networks and clouds. This technology and the information it carries is the foundation of business, not because it can connect anyone in the world to any product or service, but because of the very word “connect.”

“Why do we spend our lives seeking togetherness?” Adam Beasley, entrepreneurial management major asked in his honors thesis.“Because these moments make us feel bigger than ourselves. This need for influence and connection fuels our decision-making processes.”

Adam and his classmates took part in a new honors course that immersed students from a variety of majors in a learning environment that epitomizes connectivity and innovation. Dr. Beata Jones, professor of professional practice in business information systems, and Dr. Chip Stewart, associate professor of journalism, developed the course around the popular South by Southwest Interactive conference, a showcase of emerging technology.

“By connecting South by Southwest Interactive with student research, networking, social media, student presentations and reflections in an ePortfolio, our goal was to help students learn how to better tackle complex issues that life and business often present,” Jones said.

The students studied a variety of technologies and businesses prior to attending the conference. After the conference, they wrote and presented their theses. Adam titled his “Connect or Die.”

“Fitbit allows us to be fitter together, Xbox allows us to be lazier together, GPS allows us to physically get together, and social media allows us to share moments of each other’s lives together,” Adam said. “Everything is happening together. The business world is clearly changing.”

At the South by Southwest Interactive Conference, students heard discussions, ideas and presentations from leaders from some of the most successful companies in the world. Ziti Cassizi, chief digital officer for Toms shoes, told attendees that the secret to success in the 21st century is inspiring and collaborating with customers to co-create brand stories with them.

Toms and other innovative, highly successful businesses are moving away from a pure profit margin and toward using technology to connect people and change the world. Millennials like Adam are taking note.

“Businesses can connect with and unite consumer markets in ways that were inconceivable in the past,” Adam stated. “By doing this, businesses are able to thrive as they ignite a generation of visionaries.”

Read the full story in the current issue of the Neeley magazine. Click on the magazine cover at www.neeley.tcu.edu to download your copy today.