I just had a flash of enlightenment, having listened to the TechNation podcast edition of the Grand Challenges summit panel (Rick Miller, at 19:07--20:38). The three pillars, if you wish, of any Thing to succeed -- a Thing being an idea, a movement or an actual physical item -- are these:
Can we do it? This is an engineering question. Is it technically possible to create this Thing, even in a lab. Engineering education traditionally focuses focuses on more or less solely this pillar, ignoring the following one:
Should we do it? Is this Thing really Worth Doing at this space and time? For this Market? This is a question for the Entrepreneur.
Will anybody want your Thing? Will they care? Will they be excited about it? Really be moved and shaken to the "I. Want. That." level?
These three attributes need to happen simultaneously for the Thing to Happen. I believe the iPhone and the Grameen Bank serve as pretty good examples. But i also believe our schools do not focus enough on throwing light on each of these three pillars, and i do know i haven't always been very observant of them.
Here are my two cents (approx US$0.03). If you focus on any one of the three pillars, you are a geek. If you consider only two of them, you are a dreamer. But if you can take all three into account, you will be successful.