Lotfi Belkhir

Lotfi Belkhir

Associate Professor, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology

Lotfi Belkhir knows what it takes to lead, build and grow a successful start up. The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Associate Professor at the W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology inspires budding innovators every day by bringing his 17 years of industrial experience into the classroom.

In 2003, Belkhir launched the world’s first and fastest robotic book scanner. He developed and commercialized his innovation through Kirtas Technologies, based in Silicon Valley. In that same year, his company earned the prestigious Best of What’s New award from Popular Science and 4 years later, it earned a spot on the Inc. 500 Magazine’s exclusive ranking list as one of the fastest growing private companies in America, with customers such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon. Prior to launching his startup, Belkhir worked in technical and managerial roles at the Xerox Venture Lab in Palo Alta, California.

“Our faculty at W Booth must possess and display, at a very high level, both the theoretical credentials as well as the practical and hands-on experience if we are to successfully pass that on to our students,” explains Belkhir. “My industrial experience that spans both the technical and the managerial fields and my own passion for innovation and leadership, serve as a solid source of insight and credibility.”

To help students become leaders in innovation, Belkhir and his colleagues at W Booth follow a defined mentorship model. “Our mentorship model is that of an advisor, a coach and even a friend. Mentorship is what allows us to teach leadership to our students by allowing and urging them to lead, and make their own choices and decisions. Mentors provide insight, raise questions, and offer options but the final decision always rests with the students. That’s how you build leaders, and that is why it’s central to our mission.”

One of Belkhir’s greatest rewards as a professor is witnessing the transformative impact the W Booth School experience can have on his students. “When one of our students started the Innovation Studio course, he said he was driven by his own ambitions and what he wanted to accomplish for himself. But after completing the course he was driven by the needs of society and his community. His feedback shows that leadership and innovation rely not only on training the brain, but also on moving the heart.”

“Mentors provide insight, raise questions, and offer options but the final decision always rests with the students. That’s how you build leaders, and that is why it’s central to our mission.”

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