The Framework

Educating the Engineers We Need

As engineering faculty, we strive to ensure that our graduates have a mastery of engineering skills. We design our courses to equip students for their careers, building on knowledge they have gained previously.

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Yet mastery of technical skills is only half the equation. Engineers find success and personal fulfillment when they couple their skills with a mindset to create extraordinary value for others. 

When we frame educational outcomes with an entrepreneurial mindset (EM) founded on character and expressed through collaboration and communication, we help ensure that engineering students can fully contribute to a flourishing society. 

The entrepreneurial mindset should be an integral part of the key skills of every engineer.

The KEEN Framework: Instilling an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Engineering Unleashed provides the resources and tools to supplement your engineering curriculum in the KEEN Framework. 

KEEN, a Network of engineering colleges across the U.S., developed this Framework to supplement the engineering skills you already teach with outcomes that support the development of EM. 


Building a mindset takes planning and focus. The KEEN Framework provides a plan that helps you by providing resources and a path to success. We help you identify skills that, through repetition, can lead to changes in student mindset. 

What's missing from design?

As engineering faculty, you know the design process well. It has been billed as the ultimate act within engineering. From developing requirements to analyzing solutions, to creating models or prototypes, design is commonplace in engineering education. The KEEN Framework lists design skills featured in nearly every engineering design cycle.

While design is important, it is not the complete set of tools your students will need to be successful. Design without initial exploration and an eye for impact does not create the best value for your students and society. The framework addresses this, adding engineering skills before and after the design process to create a full toolbox for the student.

Framework Design

Opportunity + Design

Developing opportunity recognition is a powerful skill when coupled with the engineering design skills you already teach. Doing this will encourage your students to not only identify opportunities that influence design, but investigate markets, create business models, and learn skills to assess policy and regulatory issues. 

By adding opportunity to design, students are able to refine concepts, think more broadly about the world around them, and better understand their customers' needs. The KEEN Framework outlines specific educational outcomes for opportunity skills, streamlining the process for engineering faculty to include specific outcomes in courseware that reinforce the development of an entrepreneurial mindset.

Framework Opportunity Design

Opportunity + Design + Impact

Impact is significance multiplied by scale. Coupling impact skills to opportunity recognition and design implementation will equip your students to have an eye for value creation. The KEEN Framework provides specific educational outcomes to develop your students’ impact skills. This includes communicating an engineering solution in economic terms, validating market interest, identifying supply chains distribution methods, and communicating an engineering solution in terms of societal benefits. 

By adding opportunity and impact to their design skills, students will be able to apply creative thinking to ambiguous problems, convey engineering solutions in economic terms, evaluate technical feasibility, and understand the motivations and perspectives of team members and stakeholders.

Framework Opportunity Design Impact

Opportunity + Design + Impact = Mindset Outcomes

Framework Engineering Skillset

When these skillset and mindset outcomes are combined, engineering faculty can equip students to create value for their organizations and communities in successful and rewarding engineering careers.

The Framework includes:

  • A starter set of educational outcomes based on the 3C’s of entrepreneurial mindset. Add these to your courses to create and assess EM in students.
  • Example behaviors for each of the 3C’s of entrepreneurial mindset. These will help you introduce mindset outcomes in your courses. 


How do you instill a characteristic you aren't sure how to assess? Or provide more intentional scaffolding of EM throughout the curriculum? Can the 3 pillars (Opportunity, Design, and Impact) improve student elevator pitches?

These resources will help:

Framework Viability