Let’s get the important stuff out of the way first, we’re throwing a party Friday night after the conference, and we’ve got room for 100 USASBE Conference attendees to join us.
3 Talks + 1 Award
We’ll also be leading a handful of sessions during the conference:
Teaching Without A Textbook (Thur. @ 1 pm) – A half-day workshop on Thursday demonstrating four real-world experiential exercises you can use to teach problem validation and the entrepreneurial mindset.
Demoing Interviews & MVPs (Fri. @ 9:15 am) – Learn how to demo a live customer interview to your students, and use that interview to build an MVP before your students’ eyes.
3 Steps to Better Idea Generation (Sat. @ 1:15 pm)- Three exercises that will help your students generate better business ideas by helping them focus less on products, and more on problems.
…is a finalist for the “USASBE Excellence in Pedagogical Innovation Award!“
We’ll be talking about how ExEC’s, “Show. Don’t Tell.” approach to experiential learning has been having a positive impact across 20 universities during it’s pilot phase…and we’re just getting started!
Come cheer us on at 1:45 pm on Friday in Salon 5 at the Excellence in Pedagogical Innovation Award!
We’ve documented all of the instructions your students need to follow in the lesson plan below.
You want to do this exercise in your class. Your students need you to do this exercise in your class.
Complete details to bring this exercise to life in your class, including all the instructions for you, and videos for your students are in the lesson plan below.
Get the “60 Minute MVP” Lesson Plan
We’ve created a detailed lesson plan for the “60 Minute MVP” exercise walk you, and your students through the process, step-by-step.
It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers. Please feel free to share it.
Reminder: Learn From Professors Who Teach Without a Textbook
If you want to replace all your lectures with activities like the 60 Minute MVP, join us on Nov. 13th, to learn from four professors who have done just that, and to learn if the same will work in your class. They will tackle the most common problems, like:
How do you grade/assess my students without a textbook?
How do you engage students who aren’t into entrepreneurship?
How do you set student expectations when they’re used to traditional classes?
The benefits from making the switch have been eye-opening:
“I LOVE [Who Are Early Adopters?] exercise!!! So many times, I have had conversations with my students who are going to interview their dad, friend, someone who works in the industry and this exercise really takes the time to dispel this myth that these are important.” – Jennifer Daniels
“One student described [60 Minute MVP] as a Navy Seal mental training exercise. Not sure it was that intense, but they were amazed and proud that they got it done.” – Thomas Nelson
“Given the previous exercises students were able to quickly identify the interview channels that their early adopters might use. Students felt very confident about getting out and learning about the problem.” – Emma Fleck
At the same time, building a textbook-free course takes some consideration. If you’re interested in going experiential, these professors want to share details about their transition at:
Many of you know me (Doan) from USASBE or my blog, or my research, but you may not know Justin Wilcox, the passionate entrepreneur driving TeachingEntrepreneurship.org. With this post, we pull back the curtain and introduce our wizard!
2014: Talks turned into workshops with accelerator programs (e.g. Google for Entrepreneurs, Techstars, Startup Weekend, etc.), and Fortune 500s
2015: Workshops turned into the FOCUS Framework and the “How to Find Product-Market Fit” workbook series
2017: The FOCUS Framework inspired our ExEC curriculum
Let’s Dive Deeper . . .
Justin and I did a one-on-one interview so you could hear his perspective in depth.
Or if you prefer, here’s a summary of our conversation:
How did Justin come to build curriculum for university professors?
As mentioned above, Justin started a healthcare software company, but realized that he built a product nobody wanted to use. He studied what went wrong in his entrepreneurial journey, eventually finding Steve Blank’s Customer Development model, one of the precursors to The Lean Startup.
It was then that Justin realized,
He hadn’t learned how to empathize.
While he learned how to write code in school, and build innovative products at Microsoft, innovation was meaningless if it didn’t lead to impact. To create impact, he had to learn how to see the world from his customer’s perspective – to feel what they felt. To become a better innovator, he had to become a better empathizer.
At the time Justin discovered Customer Development and Lean Startup, they were largely theoretical concepts with little practical guidance on how to apply them. So Justin started developing, documenting, and teaching, ways to practice integrating empathy into the entrepreneurial process.
After helping thousands of individual entrepreneurs do just that, university professors began reaching out asking Justin for help teaching these methodologies in the classroom. That’s when it became clear:
Professors faced the same challenges turning Lean Startup theory into action that he had.
Having discovered effective ways to teach the techniques, Justin reached out to me and we began collaborating on ways to teach them to entrepreneurship professors – which is when TeachingEntrepreneurship.org was born. 🙂
Why work with academics instead of entrepreneurs?
The big draw for working with academics is the impact multiplier we enable. By collaborating with professors, Justin learned he could have a larger impact because we as professors work with hundreds of thousands of students every year.
By helping us teach our students how to understand other people’s perspectives (empathy) and how to sustainably solve their problems (via business model validation), our combined impact can be much larger than if Justin worked solely with entrepreneurs.
Our whole is greater than the sum of our parts.
Where would he like to see entrepreneurship education go?
Justin practices what he preaches, and he’s heartened by professors who act the same way.
He wants to support teachers who apply the lean principles they teach, so they can optimize their impact. To that end, Justin is most excited by professors who treat their class like a startup:
Creating hypotheses about their course,
Running experiments to optimize the course,
Measuring their impact with metrics.
Justin wants to see more professors treat students like their customers and engage with them to build better courses.
These principles work. The more we apply them, the better we can teach them.
We’ve implemented a system for students to give us emotionally-driven feedback on every exercise.
Students tell us, and their professors, how they feel about each exercise.
The insight from this is super exciting for both of us. The aggregated feedback helps us know how students feel about their course, so together we can iterate and improve them.
Student feedback from ExEC’s Business Model Canvas intro exercise
Looking forward, what is most exciting is our ability to turn that data into engagement analytics so professors know in real time exactly how their students are feeling, and how exactly they are engaging with the material.
What’s the next step with ExEC?
Justin is busy updating much of the underlying technology for a streamlined experience for professors and students.
We are keeping our Spring cohort fairly small;there are only about five spots still available.
If you’re eager to use an experiential approach, can provide us feedback on a regular basis, and can ask your students to provide us feedback on a regular basis…
Then you’re a perfect candidate to be an ExEC Pilot, and you can shape the way entrepreneurship is taught.
If you’ve read this far – thank you – you deserve a little extra. What’s one thing that very few people know about Justin?
Want to work with Justin and I to change Entrepreneurship?
If you’re a progressive entrepreneurship professor interested in getting your hands dirty in the name of improving entrepreneurship education join us and you can play a significant role in reshaping how entrepreneurship is taught at colleges around the world.
For more updates on ExEC, and our continuing series of free classroom resources delivered to your inbox, subscribe below.
We love creating and sharing resources to make classrooms more engaging. We are not alone in that passion. This week, it is our pleasure to collaborate with a kindred spirit, both in terms of teaching experientially, and in sharing resources to help others do the same.
In her post, copied below, Dr. Robb shares her journey of turning her syllabus into an infographic so students would read and remember it.
I know, we’ve all been there. It’s the end of the semester and students suddenly realize your late work policy, your attendance policy or your quality work policy. I’ve actually talked to students about this and they cite reasons such as:
It’s just like every other syllabus they’ve read
It’s too long
It doesn’t apply to me
I never really look at it until I have a bad grade
Like it or not, our students these days are just as distracted as we are. They simply do not take the time to read the syllabus. So, this term, I thought about why that might be.
It turns out, I am just as guilty as they are. I don’t thoroughly review the credit terms on my credit cards or the terms of agreement when I buy a song from Apple. Why should I? They all read the same. It’s blah, blah, blah.
Well, this term, I decided to up my game and get my syllabus up with the times. I created an Infographic version of my syllabus. I actually decided to upload that image directly to Blackboard so it is the first thing students see.
I made a list of all the things students seemed to forget about my class (attendance policy, plagiarism policy, late work policy). I then took all of these frustrations and put them in beautiful, colorful visuals so they would actually look at them.
Piktochart is a free site that allows you to create professional looking infographics for any purpose. I made an infographic for my Introduction to Entrepreneurship course so the students understand where the course will lead them. It has been the most successful by far. You can see the full infographic here.
Whether this visual tool is used for a class project or an overall class syllabus, the students’ response has been tremendous. For the first time, I’ve had students send me emails that they are aware of the class policies!
Create your Syllabus with your Students
What appealed to us so much was not just the creativity of Dr. Robb’s approach, but that it very quickly and easily allowed students to understand the structure of her entire course. We love that she saw her syllabus as an opportunity to try something different to better engage her students.
As we’ve talked about in a previous post, your syllabus presents a unique opportunity to listen to your students’ problems and to turn those into a plan of attack together. Co-creating your syllabus with your students is an effective way to begin your semester because many students don’t think entrepreneurship will be relevant to them in their career.
Through this co-creation process, you can understand the problems that are most salient to your students, and then weave those into the syllabus, so they understand which weeks you’ll be solving problems most relevant to them.
Your syllabus is not just a contract between you and your students. It is not just a bunch of words. As Dr. Robb suggests, it can come alive and be a model of how you want your students to think and to act. We so enjoyed learning about Dr. Robb’s approach that we dove into combining her approach of creating an infographic with our approach of co-creating a syllabus.
Here’s a quick video extrapolating how these two approaches combine to create an even more powerful approach to engaging your students from day one.
Co-Create your Syllabus Lesson Plan
We’ve created an experiential, 45-minute lesson plan to help you co-create your entrepreneurship syllabus with your students. It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers. Please feel free to share it. All we ask is that you leave us some feedback on it so we can improve it!
And don’t forget to check out Dr. Robb’s blog for more resources and guidance on making your classroom experience more engaging!
What are you Working On?
If you’re working on an innovative way to impact students in your class and want to share with the 1,500 members of TeachingEntrepreneurship.org, let us know. This is an experimental collaboration, and if it works out, we may do more like it!
In an upcoming post, we will interview co-founder Justin Wilcox! Please subscribe here to get that post in your inbox.
ExEC is an experiment to see if we can revolutionize how entrepreneurship is taught in college classrooms.
Halfway through our first pilot semester, we wanted to share the results so far – warts and all – so the entrepreneurship education community at large can learn along with us.
We’re grateful to have 10 schools across the United States and Canada piloting with us this Fall:
East Carolina University
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT)
University of South Alabama
Gulf Coast State College
John Carroll University
Georgia State University
Across these institutions, we have nearly 500 undergraduate students using the curriculum.
Just as ExEC challenges those 500 students to do, we’re testing the curriculum’s assumptions and iterating its design. Here’s what we’ve found so far.
Our pilot professors and students have told us ExEC stands out with respect to other curricula in a couple areas:
Developing the Entrepreneurial Mindset
We want students engaging with their customers, discovering problems that can be solved instead of just thinking of new ideas to create.
One professor told us:
“More than anything, I’ve enjoyed that we have spent 4-5 weeks exploring the issue of problem solving. In previous classes, students have been convinced they had the right solution to a problem by week 2 and no matter what research they found, they wouldn’t pivot appropriately given the new evidence.”
Students are also sharing their excitement at better understanding how entrepreneurs think. One student said:
“This activity made me look at the creation of a product in a different aspect than I have before. It allowed me to think of solving a problem and not just creating a product to create one. It needs to be something that people will actually use. It made it easier for me to be creative and think more like an entrepreneur.”
Another student told us:
“The exercise was a very clear, somewhat concise explanation of the mindset needed for successful entrepreneurship. It shows the clear relationship between successful startups and outlines the key consistencies for success.”
And perhaps our favorite student feedback:
“[The Business Plans vs. Business Experiments exercise] made me think like a kindergartener again and that made me excited.”
Replacing Lectures with Experiences
ExEC provides professors with comprehensive lesson plans, and constant support, so you can create experiences like this that will excite students about experiencing entrepreneurship.
One of the exercises uses marshmallows to teach students about the danger of hidden assumptions, and why business plans lead to failure more often than not:
Pilot students have been sharing their excitement with the exercises as well. They are seeing how they can apply what they are experiencing in class:
“This really showed me what it takes to develop an idea. Also helped me get more in touch with who I’m trying to target with my idea and how it can help [him/her].”
“I can use the [exercise] for all business ideas that come to mind and when analyzing other companies.”
Students have shared how the exercises have shifted their thinking:
“I feel I will perform better in the future when completing a project because now I know the value of prototyping, also, now I understand the importance of identifying the hidden assumptions which cause many times good ideas to fail.”
“Knowing how feelings play a part in buying and decision making is interesting and will help with my business model. I did not really think or relate the two before this class.”
“This provides a clear understanding of what it takes to solve a problem and come up with ideas to solve those problems. It showed me some key resources that I did not know before to help start a company through problem solving.”
Getting Students Interviewing Customers
We want students having real conversations with real customers about the customer’s problems. This is the essence of entrepreneurship, and a skill we heard most professors struggle teaching.
One professor told us:
“Given the previous exercises on identifying the early adopters and clarifying the problem statement, [The How To Ask for Interviews exercise] was a very positive exercise. Students were able to quickly identify the interview channels that their early adopters might use (social media, blogs, interviews) and plan how to initiate that conversation using the strategy outlined in this exercise. By the end of today, the students felt very confident about getting out and learning about the problem.”
Our interviewing exercises push students to think about learning from actual customers, instead of industry or product “experts”, as shared by one professor:
“I LOVE [Who Are Early Adopters?] exercise!!!So many times, I have had conversations with my students who are going to interview their dad, friend, someone who works in the industry and this exercise really takes the time to dispel this myth that these are important.”
The students are also realizing how powerful interviews are, especially in comparison to surveys, thanks to an ExEC exercise that makes them survey and interview customers, and compare the results:
“The [Student Challenges Survey exercise] is showing how surveys do not capture the full picture from a consumer whereas an interview lets the customer give more feedback.”
After half a semester, we are confident the pilot students are engaged in their class experience. Through that engagement, we see them developing an entrepreneurial mindset, and honing their customer interviewing skills.
We preach iteration because there’s no way to get everything right the first time around – and that’s the case with ExEC. Here are a couple areas we need to focus on going forward.
Less is More
We created too much content. We originally wanted to arm our professors with more experiences and exercises than they could ever use, so they could build a customized syllabus specifically for their class.
That strategy has started to backfire as some professors have, understandably, began feeling pressured to cover a lot of material in a limited amount of time. One told us:
“I was extremely nervous . . . to teach a class that had so many new components that I was learning day by day.”
“I think there are too many lessons on interviewing, although I see its utility.”
ExEC has 30+ experiential exercises, which is simply too many for one semester, especially when life readjusts the class schedule, as it did with Hurricane Irma for a couple professors.
Based on the exercises students find most impactful, we’re streamlining ExEC’s content to focus on a subset of activities.
We were so excited to share ExEC with as many schools as possible, we initially weren’t as rigorous as we should have been in restricting access.
ExEC has a lot of moving parts, several of them untested before this semester. We should have started with a slightly smaller, more targeted, pilot cohort so we could iron out ExEC’s wrinkles (details below) more efficiently.
Having been through trial by fire this semester, we think we have a handle on the major issues. That said, we’ll be limiting access to our upcoming Spring Pilot, just to err on the side of caution.
There is one area we really missed the mark this semester. Because of it, we’ve already started the redesign process.
Poor Design Choices
We made some incorrect assumptions about the technical comfort of some of our students and professors – which really means we made poor design choices on our end.
Our pilot professors and their students are less familiar with technology than we anticipated. We expected more feedback like this from one professor:
“I have taken one class at a time, one new element at a time and really enjoyed exploring the new materials.”
But one professor told us:
“I like to think I’m not stupid, but working through this to get it ready for my students makes me question that.”
And one student told us:
“I’m absolutely thrilled that [I] bought a program coded by a team of incompetents.”
While our professors certainly aren’t stupid, and we (hope we) aren’t incompetent, any experience that makes even a subset of customers feel that way needs to fixed immediately.
We’ve already begun making to several exercises, but there’s more work to do.
We’ve started redesigning both the professor and student experiences from the ground-up; while the content will largely remain the same going forward, the way professors and students interact with it will be completely revamped.
So far, this has been a perfect pilot!
Not perfect in that we got everything right – we certainly haven’t – perfect in the sense that this is what pilots are for. With the help of our amazing pilot professors, we’ve been living the Build, Measure, Learn loop.
We’re really excited about ExEC’s and while we haven’t gotten everything right so far, we’ve made some great progress on some of the hardest parts:
Developing the entrepreneurial mindset
Replacing lectures with experiences
Getting students interviewing customers
Next up, we’ll polish our rough design edges so everyone feels confident engaging with the content!
Want to Shape Entrepreneurship?
As mentioned above, we’ll be limiting access to the Spring Pilot, but if you’re a progressive entrepreneurship professor willing to get your hands dirty in the name of improving entrepreneurship education…
We’ll accept a handful of programs into the Spring Pilot, which will not only get you early access, as you can see, you’ll also play a significant role in reshaping how entrepreneurship is taught at colleges around the world.
For more updates on ExEC, and our continuing series of free classroom resources delivered to your inbox, subscribe below.
What if you kicked off your next semester with a flurry of activity that showed your students how to avoid the biggest mistake in entrepreneurship – by letting them experience it?
This exercise will turn your students’ love for competition into an active learning opportunity about entrepreneurship that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.
The Marshmallow Challenge is an 18-minute chaotic construction competition that teaches entrepreneurship students why
Invalidated assumptions hinder all new initiatives.
and are ultimately the downfall of most new companies. They learn a bias towards action, and the power of resilience in the face of a challenge.
Many professors use the Marshmallow Challenge as an ice-breaker, or as a team-building exercise, with great results. But very few use it to teach its most valuable lesson . . .
Several of your students will fail this challenge – and it will be glorious!
The objective of the Marshmallow Challenge is for student teams to build the tallest free-standing structure they can out of uncooked spaghetti, string, tape and a single large marshmallow.
Inevitably, your students will assume the marshmallow they need to place on top of their structure is lighter than it is, and they’ll assume uncooked spaghetti is strong than it is, leading to a pile of broken, edible, dreams.
In this way, your students will get to learn first-hand:
Just like in entrepreneurship, invalidated assumptions lead to failure.
In traditional classes, business students get trained to write comprehensive business plans – not realizing hidden assumptions will ultimately hinder their success.
On the other hand, kindergartners excel at the Marshmallow Challenge because they don’t make plans based on hidden assumptions. The first thing they do is run an experiment, putting a marshmallow on a piece of spaghetti to see what happens. From there they iterate, building the tallest structure possible.
This experimental mindset is what you want your students to embody throughout the rest of your course.
With this exercise, they’ll experience the dangers of hidden assumptions first hand so they’ll be primed to validate their business model assumptions in future lessons:
Do customers have the problem your students want to solve?
Will customers pay to solve it?
Can your students actually solve the problem?
Students Love It
400+ pilot students have done the the ExEC version of the Marshmallow Challenge. So far, they’re loving it:
“This activity was not what i was expecting and i took away a lot from it. It taught me to look at a project with no previous assumptions and it make me think like a kindergartener again which made me excited.”- Hannah
“The Marshmallow experiment gave me a real life example of why experimenting is much more beneficial than planning things out.“– Morgan
“Now I know the value of prototyping, also, now I understand the importance of identifying the hidden assumptions which cause many times good ideas to fail.” – Andreina
“After the activity, I understood the importance of adapting to problems and the dangers of assumptions.”– Eric
The fast pace, excitement, and ultimate failure many teams experience during this exercise replicate the typical entrepreneurial experience, and demonstrate many of the pitfalls of traditional business plans:
Insufficient identification of hidden assumptions (e.g. the marshmallow is much heavier than they realize, the spaghetti is less rigid than they expect, etc.)
Developing plans based on those hidden/incorrect assumptions
Investing all their resources (e.g. time, tape, etc.) in a single, large, “launch” attempt vs. iterating on many simpler versions
After the exercise, your students can write up a reflection, incorporating essential principles of entrepreneurship:
Assumption identification, and assumption validation, are critical to creating successful companies
Iterations and experimentations are the key to validating their business assumptions
Try it Next Semester
You can easily incorporate the Marshmallow Challenge into your class, just:
Through faculty and student testimonials, we’ll share with you what’s going well and what we need to improve for next semester, as we practice what we preach, iterating our way to a more engaging and impactful entrepreneurship curriculum.
Subscribe here to get our next classroom resource in your inbox.
Click play above for the customer interviewing tutorial outlined in this post.
You want your students to “get out of the building” and talk to customers, but that idea can be anxiety producing, for both you, and your students.
They’re anxious because they have to talk to strangers in a way they’ve never had to before, and you’re anxious because you know customer interviewing is the point in the course when students are most likely to check out.
How do you keep your students engaged?
You’re hearing every excuse imaginable from your students about why they haven’t interviewed customers:
They don’t want to ask the wrong questions.
They aren’t sure who the “right” people are to interview.
They just broke up with their girlfriend. Or they have the swine flu. Or both.
Bottom line is your students are terrified about this critical step in the entrepreneurship process. They are afraid of the unknown. When the time comes for them to step outside the classroom and validate their assumptions with actual customers, they are likely to check out.
Below, and in our lesson plan, we lead you through the 5 simple steps to conduct a real customer interview call during your class.
Live Customer Interviewing
mTurk is short for Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, which is a marketplace for work that requires human intelligence. What you need for live customer interviewing is a human being who has a problem. The mTurk marketplace is the perfect place to find a stranger who experiences a particular problem.
Note: Do not stage this interview by having a colleague or friend or business partner call in. It is imperative you create the situation your students are so nervous about – interviewing a stranger about a real problem they experience.
You need to feel a little nervous about this process, and share those feelings with your students so they know it is normal to feel that way. You are the role model;
A HIT is short for a human intelligence task. Create a new HIT here. In this example, we want to talk to parents who have children in day care.
Step 1: Describe the HIT
Here you want to provide enough details so the people looking for tasks on mTurk can decide if they fit the criteria.
Keywords are an important way for people to find your HIT.
You must turn off “Master Turkers.” Master Turkers are a pre-screened, and very small, subset of the MTurk population. You want any folks on MTurk to be able to contact you, as long as they meet your qualifications. Here’s how to do that:
Step 2: Pick a Price
We recommend you offer between $.50 and $2.00 so it is attractive (but not too attractive!) to workers.
Step 3: Write up the HIT
Provide quick, clear criteria and instructions for the workers looking for tasks to connect with you for an interview. Include the date and time when you would like them to call you during your next class session.
Feel free to copy and paste (and customize) this HTML for writing up the HIT:
<p><span style=”font-family: Arial;”>If you are a parent who picks your kids at day care at least once/week, please call us for a 5-10 minute phone survey.</span></p>
<p><span style=”font-family: Arial;”>Please dial the following number:</span></p>
<li><span style=”font-family: Arial;”>*67 [your google voice number]</span></li>
<p><span style=”font-family: Arial;”>Note: dialing *67 before the actual phone number will protect the privacy of your phone number. </span><span style=”font-family: Arial;”>If you reach voicemail again, please wait 10 minutes.</span></p>
<p><span style=”font-family: Arial;”> <b>Required after Calling</b> - after we finish the survey, we will give you a password to confirm you successfully completed it. Please enter it below:</span></p>
<p><span style=”font-family: Arial;”><b>Password:</b> <textarea rows=”1″ cols=”80″ name=”answer”></textarea></span></p>
<p><span style=”font-family: Arial;”>Thank you very much! We really appreciate your help! </span></p>
Note: the “password” is a word you tell your interviewee to type in once the interview is complete. You’ll see what they type in before you approve the HIT (i.e. pay them) so you can ensure only the people who successfully completed the interview get paid.
Step 4: Create a New Batch
Step 5: Publish the HITs
Class 2: The Call
Remind your students of the context of your call so they understand what problem you’re trying to solve, and who the customer is you’ll be talking to. After your call, debrief the call by asking your students to critique it.
What went right? What went wrong? Why did it go wrong?
How could you have kept the person on track?
What were some stronger questions to ask? What questions should you not have asked?
Customer Interviewing Homework
Give your students homework of critiquing another real customer interview. The more real interviews they see and hear, the more comfortable they are conducting them, the more engaged they are in your class. Here is a sample interview you can use for a homework assignment.
Get the Lesson Plan
We’ve created an experiential, 45-minute, Modeling Customer Interviewing Lesson Plan to help you excite your students about customer interviewing! It encapsulates everything we’ve talked about above.
It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers. Please feel free to share it.
All we ask is that you leave us some feedback on it the comments below so we can improve it!
In a future article, we will provide a checklist for you to plan an experiential entrepreneurship class! Please subscribe here to get that post in your inbox.
A 16 week semester is far too short to teach everything we want in our entrepreneurship classes. This article will help you prioritize what to teach, because there’s one topic that matters more than any other:
Problem validation is critically important; everything else in entrepreneurship flows from it. You can’t overlook it when prioritizing your schedule.
Why Problem Validation?
There are 3 reasons you must teach problem validation in your introduction to entrepreneurship, capstone, and your graduate entrepreneurship courses:
It’s the most important aspect of entrepreneurship.
Customers don’t buy products, they buy solutions to problems. Your students can’t figure out what customers will buy unless they validate problems.
Once your students understand how to validate problems, they’ll quickly see how the rest of a business model falls into place.
Every aspect of business models flow from problem validation, so it’s imperative we teach our students how to do it well.
Problem validation cannot be read. It must be practiced.
If they have to, students can learn other topics like valuation, IP law, legal formation, and marketing outside the classroom. There are endless blogs and videos that cover the basics of every topic in entrepreneurship…except problem validation.
Students cannot learn how to talk to customers by reading about it. Your students have to experience asking the right customers, the right questions.
No one else in your students’ academic career will touch the subject of problem validation.
Your accounting and finance colleagues can help them with revenue modeling. Engineering professors can help them with product development. Your business law colleagues can help them with legal formation and IP issues.
But problem validation, this thing that is so important to entrepreneurship, will only be covered by you.
If you have to cut something from your schedule, cut anything but problem validation. Make sure you’re teaching this because nobody else is, and because it is the most important aspect of entrepreneurship!
We will teach you these three phases, and we’ll show you engaging exercises you can run in your class to teach them.
Join us if you want to learn how to teach this subject that every entrepreneurship teacher needs to teach, and teach well!
We will send a video recording of the workshop to anyone who registers, but you don’t want the video. You want to show up live, because it will be an interactive workshop. To see and experience the exercises, you’ll want to be present.