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Faculty & Research

Elaine Chen

  • Senior Lecturer, Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management

Elaine is a startup veteran and product strategy and innovation consultant who has brought numerous hardware and software products to market.  As founder and managing director of ConceptSpring, Elaine works with innovative teams to help them define and build new products and services with the speed and agility of a startup. Clients span diverse industries, including healthcare IT, industrial automation, robotics, consumer electronics, retail innovation, fintech and more. She is the author of the book, Bringing a Hardware Product to Market: Navigating the Wild Ride from Concept to Mass Production.

As the VP of engineering and product management at several startups, including Rethink Robotics, Zeo, Zeemote, and SensAble Technologies, Elaine has built, grown, and nurtured several technical organizations from the ground up. She is a coinventor on 22 patents to date, and has managed IP portfolio strategies for numerous organizations. Elaine’s experience spans multiple industries, including consumer electronics, robotics, industrial automation, IoT, CAD/CAM, retail and supply chain software, and healthcare IT.

Elaine has been working with students at MIT since early 2011. She has served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Professional Advisor and Senior Lecturer at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and the MIT Sloan School of Management. She designs, develops, and teaches courses and programs in entrepreneurship and primary market research, coaches students on a one-on-one basis, and develops systems and processes to scale up the support to entrepreneurial students. She built the Trust Center’s First Time Founder Knowledge Base from the ground up. In June 2016, Elaine received the Monosson Prize for Entrepreneurship Mentoring from the MIT Sloan School of Management in recognition of her contributions to foster entrepreneurship education at MIT.

Elaine is a thought leader and speaker who has been featured in XconomyTechCrunchHuffington PostForbes and Fortune. She covers topics in entrepreneurship, corporate entrepreneurship, leadership, hardware product development, technology trends and more. She serves on the Board of the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge, a non-profit organization serving all entrepreneurs in the greater Boston area. Her most recent speaking engagements include the inaugural International Symposium for Academic Makerspaces (ISAM), the MIT-China Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum, the MIT Global Entrepreneurial Bootcamp in Seoul, and MakerCon Bay Area.

Elaine holds a BS and an MS in mechanical engineering from MIT.