Has a guest speaker ever said something to your class you had already taught, but your students seemed to believe it more from them?
It’s not because students don’t listen. It’s because when an outsider reinforces something we say, it feels more important.
This is one of the reasons guest speakers are great, but they can be hard to schedule for every lesson. So for any lesson you really want to drive home, you can try using a video as a validating external voice.
Here are some videos of Steve Jobs that you can use in conjunction with lessons on growth mindset, marketing, and pricing:
“If you’re afraid of failing, you won’t get very far.”
This is a fantastic video to reinforce the Failure Resume lesson. This exercise is a favorite among students and helps them develop growth mindset skills, especially when they’re endorsed by someone like Steve Jobs.
This video, where Steve talks about why the best ads barely talk about the product at all, is a great compliment to the Lottery Ticket Dilemma. This lesson helps students understand the persuasive power of emotions and was the winner of USASBE’s 3E competition.
This video is an amazing example of Steve’s reality distortion field. Your students can see him convince a crowd that the iPad (a larger but less capable iPhone) was a steal at 250% the price of an iPhone because…it’s more like a laptop than a phone?!
You can use this video in conjunction with the Financial Modeling Showdown to demonstrate that the optimal price of a product isn’t determined by its cost of goods sold, it’s determined by what customers are willing to pay for it.
If students can get their audience to feel something, their chance of “success” rises dramatically.
We’ve all been there. Two students stand on one side of the screen, two students stand on the other. One student talks to the screen while the others fidget nervously until it’s their turn to stumble through what they couldn’t quite memorize.
Student presentations are painful. For them. For us. For judges.
Use the videos below to teach your students to deliver presentations that make their audience feel something.
Option 1: Make The Audience Feel Something About Themselves
Students often jump right into describing or selling the product/service.
This is the classic pitch mistake.
Students need to know their audience – their goals, their values, their struggles. The more they know about their audience, the easier it will be for them to bring the audience’s point of view to theirs. In the video below, Dallas Mavericks owner, and Shark Tank billionaire Mark Cuban shares how he sold Mavericks tickets when they were the worst team in the NBA.
Mark is not selling the basketball game. He is selling the feeling parents have when they create family memories at the basketball game.
Mark understand that his customers (parents) want to create memories with their children. And more importantly, the kind of memories the parents have with their parents. He convinces customers that a Mavericks game experience creates those lasting memories. Mark makes an emotional appeal to his audience’s nostalgia so they will feel something about themselves and buy his product.
Option 2: Make The Audience Feel Something About You
If your students want people involved, they can open up about themselves and weave their personal story into their presentation. If they are vulnerable, their audience begins to feel something.
This approach is about students finding something that is true about them that may also be true about their audience.
In the Shark Tank pitch below, a founder (Phil Lapuz) gets sharks tearing up tearing up – including Kevin O’Leary, who is the definition of a robotic investor!
Phil is vulnerable and authentic. He uses his own story to remind the sharks about the risks of starting a new company, something that each shark undoubtedly remembers and feels very intensely.
Help your students appeal to their audience’s emotions by:
Being vulnerable, and authentic
Identifying their audience’s values – what matters to them
Specifically link their product/service to those values
The audience is immediately compelled to act because they remember, they feel, and they believe. They empathize with the person pitching and with the product/service. Phil makes the sharks feel something about him so they will invest in his startup.
Option 3: Make The Audience Feel With You
Amy Cuddy’s video below is about imposter’s syndrome, which she felt and which many in the audience undoubtedly felt at one time or another. They feel Amy’s fear and angst. Because they remember, and feel, their fear and angst.
People clap during Amy’s talk, because they are celebrating her and what she is offering another young woman experiencing imposter syndrome. But they are also clapping because they recognize something in themselves.
Amy doesn’t just make her audience feel something about themselves.
She doesn’t just make her audience feel something about her.
She makes her audience feel with her. And in that moment, they will go wherever she wants to take them!
If students default to their normal Powerpoint presentation technique, the audience defaults to processing language. All their effort is spent decoding words into meaning, instead of feeling. Share these videos with your students to help them understand that great presentations make audiences feel something.
In upcoming posts, we will share lesson plans, quick slides, and a variety of other resources to keep your students engaged!
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So how did Dennis and his colleagues – Michael Harris, Director of the Miller School of Entrepreneurship, David Mayo, and Corey Pulido – grow their entrepreneurship program so quickly? And more generally…
How do Top 50 entrepreneurship schools get on, and stay on, that list?
To find out, we interviewed the leaders of several Top 50 programs so we could share their techniques with you.
Who We Interviewed
Below you’ll find a summary of what we learned during our interviews, as well as…
5 concrete steps you can take to grow your entrepreneurship program.
Step #1: Define Your Niche
Most of the successful entrepreneurship programs we interviewed did two things early on to spark their growth:
They intentionally started small and
They specialized in an area of entrepreneurship that leveraged their local community and institutional culture
For instance, Iowa State University leaned into agricultural entrepreneurship, and East Carolina University specialized in the needs of eastern North Carolina. Studying your local ecosystem by identifying the largest industries, companies, and communities will help you define your niche. Additionally, you can look at your local Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, or similar entity, to see how they are marketing your community.
Defining your entrepreneurial niche is important because it will help your program stand out in a sea of other academic programs, not to mention accelerators, incubators and community-based organizations. Narrowing in on a small group of students you can serve extremely well as your program is still growing will increase the success rate of your program, which you can highlight as case studies to create a positive feedback loop that grows your program.
So if your local community has a large Latinx population, consider specializing in Latinx entrepreneurship. Or if your entrepreneurship program has a number of instructors who are veterans, consider developing programs that specialize in veterans entrepreneurship.
Over time, you’ll be able to grow and broaden the scope of your program, but when you’re starting out, do like the most successful programs have done and ensure that you can provide a fantastic opportunity for a small set of entrepreneurs in your community. Then, highlight their successes to help fuel your program’s growth.
Note: This is our first article in a series dedicated to growing entrepreneurship programs. We’d love your input on which article we should write next.
If you want more details on this specific step (i.e. how to define your entrepreneurial program’s niche and create programs specific to it) please vote here and we’ll expand the overview above into a full article and checklist.
Step #2: Name Your Champions
The Top 50 programs we talked to overwhelming stressed the importance of identifying people on your growth team to fulfill these three roles:
Administrative Champion: A Dean, Vice-President, Provost, President, etc. who has been at your school for some time and has excellent relationships with faculty, staff, and the ability to get buy-in for creating new programs.
Faculty Champion: Preferably a tenured faculty member who can drive the implementation of your new academic and extracurricular programming.
Data Collector: Someone to aggregate program metrics, testimonials, and success stories.
Note: the same person can fulfill multiple roles, you just need to make sure you’ve got someone owning all three levels of responsibility.
Champions are people who can help you launch your efforts by providing critical feedback, opening doors, and giving their resources. Many of the programs we interviewed mentioned specifically having two campus champions – one a tenured faculty member, and the other an administrator (Dean, Vice-President / Provost, President). With respected champions who can reach across campus, program growth has a clear path for growth. They also recommend giving the faculty champions a meaningful title and a commitment of time and support to help them help your entrepreneurship program.
Another potential benefit to identifying champions is that they sometimes rise into leadership positions at the university (Dean, Vice-President / Provost, President) and can provide ongoing support and visibility for your program from the top down.
Jamey Darnell from Penn State University mentioned that working towards getting ranked as a top entrepreneurship school is a great way to get administration excited, and achieving rankings is a great way to keep them excited.
In addition to stressing how important campus champions were to building their program, the leaders we interviewed all spoke about the importance of a data collector: someone to capture their efforts and successes and report them as part of the Princeton Review rankings process. As with your champions, consider providing this person (ideally a faculty member) with a title and a small monetary stipend to emphasize the importance of the role and ensure they have time to complete it. In addition, make sure other people on campus know who this person is – put out a press release, introduce the data collector at campus meetings and events, etc. This person will interface with faculty, students, and administrators, so letting your campus know who they are and what they’re doing enables them to collect more stories and data.
If you’d like us to write a more detailed article about how to identify and empower your entrepreneurial champions, please click here.
Step #3: Start a Fellows Program
Every program we talked to emphasized the importance of early cross-campus collaboration. Creating these connections will help you accomplish two things:
Get buy-in from a wide range of tenured faculty which helps establish academic legitimacy.
Grow your program by embedding entrepreneurship across the curriculum which introduces it to more students.
To do this, you want to build a cohort of entrepreneurial ambassadors across campus. As Tom Swartwood at Iowa State University recommended, you want to:
“Deputize people around campus.”
Jamey at Penn State University found that having a cross-disciplinary program leads directly to growth because they get to meet students wherever they are: at a law school, at an incubator, etc. For the same reason, Susan Fiorito at Florida State University recommends developing a diversity of courses and programs to reach as far across campus as possible.
The most effective mechanism we heard for building cross-campus collaboration was through an “entrepreneurship Fellows” program. In a Fellows program, you pay non-entrepreneurship faculty a small stipend to bring entrepreneurship into their curriculum. For example, you might pay 4 or 5 faculty in different disciplines a few thousand dollars to each develop a course that focuses on entrepreneurship in their respective discipline. Judi Eyles at Iowa State attributed much of the entrepreneurship program’s success to spending a little money early on to “turn faculty into ambassadors.”
You guide the Fellows through learning about entrepreneurship in the context of your university (and your niche), and collaboratively develop ideas for how to introduce it into their curriculum. You will also want to include faculty involved with your curriculum approval process in your Fellows program, which will help smooth the course approval process when you get to that stage.
Each year, add more Fellows to your program (both senior faculty and new faculty), in new disciplines, while former Fellows serve as mentors. You can thereby build a rich and diverse community of entrepreneurship champions across campus.
The big payoff from an investment in a Fellows program comes in two forms:
Cultivating entrepreneurship educators across many disciplines creates a rich fabric of entrepreneurial courses, which increases interest in entrepreneurial minors, and majors.
Student entrepreneurs get a diverse range of experiences and perspectives, which increase the quality of their experiences and their outcomes as future entrepreneurs.
If you’d like us to write a detailed guide on how to create a fellows program, please click here.
Step #4: Map Your Ecosystem
Ecosystem maps will help you understand the relationships between the people and assets that contribute to creating amazing student experiences. Building an ecosystem map specifically provides two benefits:
You identify the people who support entrepreneurship (so you can empower them) and those who do not support it yet (so you can interview them to understand their perspective and work to bring them onboard)
During your research, you plant the seeds from which your entrepreneurship program will grow. As you map your ecosystem, you talk to faculty, staff, students, and alumni about your vision and goals for your program. When it is time to make an ask, these stakeholders understand what you’re doing and why.
The leaders we interviewed mentioned the following as critical components to include in your ecosystem map:
The faculty and staff who collectively create your student experience.
The practices they perform – the services or value they deliver to students.
The information they require, use, or share to contribute to their parts of the university.
The people, systems, faculty, and staff they interact with to be successful in their roles.
The channels through which they communicate – e.g., email, campus newsletter, campus forums.
For a demo on how to start outlining the key players in your ecosystem, check out this great video by Meg Weber from Western Washington University:
Want more details on how to build and leverage an ecosystem map? Click here and we’ll expand this into a full guide.
Step #5: Connect Your FACS
After you’ve identified your niche, champions, Fellows, and ecosystem members, you’re ready to take the final step that separates the Top 50 entrepreneurship programs from the rest…
Connect your constituencies to accelerate growth.
Successful entrepreneurship programs are intentional about connecting their “FACS”:
Each of these groups complements the others, and together, creates the fuel for program growth. For example, you want to make sure you’re actively promoting programs connecting:
Faculty to Alumni – Great for finding guest speakers, internships for students, publicizing your programs’ success stories, and soliciting donations.
Faculty to Community – Great for getting pitch competition judges, finding inspiration for class projects, highlighting student success stories, and soliciting donations.
Students to Alumni – Great for mentorships, jobs, and potential investments.
Students to Community – Great for mentorships, jobs, and inspiring class projects.
As Judi Eyles at Iowa State University mentioned, “you need to make it easy for the outside world to connect with your students and faculty by giving them a portal to connect.” Intentionally building relationships with students will help you keep in touch with them as they transition to alums, and enable you to extend relationships with them and their growing network.
Creating relationships with alumni and community members will provide the “reality” your students yearn for as they wonder how to apply what they’re learning in the classroom. Alumni will also create opportunities for students – through job shadowing, internships, seed funding, adjunct instructors, and the list goes on.
Does your entrepreneurship program offer your alumni and community members multiple opportunities to contribute their time, expertise, and/or money to help your program grow?
If not, you may be able to accelerate your program’s growth by connecting your “FACS.”
If you’d like us to write a detailed guide with specific ideas on how to connect your FACS, please click here.
Bonus Step #6: Focus on Skills
The top 50 entrepreneurship programs we interviewed had one more resounding practice in common:
They prioritized entrepreneurial skill development over “success stories.”
The programs we spoke with acknowledged that entrepreneurial success stories are fantastic to share to grow your community, but they can be few and far between. So instead of focusing exclusively on those, the programs emphasized the value for students of learning entrepreneurial skills, regardless of their perceived career path.
Universally applicable skills like design thinking, financial modeling, and business model validation turn today’s students into returning alumni who are looking to hire similarly skilled and innovative graduates.
Want to improve how you teach entrepreneurship? Steve has some ideas.
Before we get there though, with the fires raging along the West Coast of the US, one of which is stunningly close to Steve’s home, we wanted to send him, his family, and everyone affected by the fires, our best wishes.
Steve and I sat down, pre-pandemic, for an in-depth discussion on the state of entrepreneurship education and ways to improve it going forward.
Below I’ve written up a summary of half of our conversation: thoughts on how to teach entrepreneurship.
In an upcoming part two, I’ll summarize some of Steve’s ideas on creating a comprehensive entrepreneurship curriculum, including:
The skills professors should teach their students, and
Four courses Steve thinks are core to a robust entrepreneurship program
First, for anyone unfamiliar: Who is Steve Blank?
Forefather of Lean Startup
Entrepreneur, author, professor, an originator of evidence-based entrepreneurship, Steve Blank has developed or made famous some of the most recognizable approaches to entrepreneurship including:
In addition, Steve has reimagined the way entrepreneurship is taught throughout the world with his Lean LaunchPad, NSF I-Corps, and Hacking for X (e.g. Recovery, Defense, Diplomacy, Impact, Energy, etc.) programs.
In short, Steve has dramatically improved the way we practice and teach entrepreneurship.
Why Teaching Entrepreneurship is Hard
One of the very first topics that came up during our conversation was how we all can become more effective instructors.
Roughly 75% of college faculty are adjunct or non-tenure-track professors. Steve shared that as a practitioner, one of the challenges he faced was not what to teach, but how to teach:
”There is usually very little onboarding in place to train professors in the most effective way to teach entrepreneurial lessons.”
While most of us are successful entrepreneurs or successful professors, very few of us are equally great at both.
Compounding the problem, Steve mentioned that there are so many kinds of entrepreneurship – small business, high tech, corporate, social, family business, etc.
With these challenges in mind, I asked Steve for recommendations to overcome them.
Steve’s Teaching Tips
Tip #1: Accept You Don’t Know Everything
“I see my mentors and other adjuncts and coaches make this mistake, in thinking your domain expertise is the expertise of entrepreneurship rather than a very narrow slice.”
When Steve first began teaching at UC Berkeley, he was paired with professor John Freeman who recommended he sit in on other instructors’ entrepreneurship courses. Steve mentioned, “the shock to my system, the discovery…there are different types of entrepreneurship.”
Steve was a successful entrepreneur, but he wasn’t a successful small business, high tech, corporate, social, and lifestyle entrepreneur.
Each type of entrepreneurship has different goals and to be taught most effectively, requires a different approach and expertise. To illustrate his point, Steve mentioned that in high tech entrepreneurship, the first goal is to have a seed round that raises millions of dollars. In small business entrepreneurship, however, the first goal may be to make enough to fund a lifestyle and family.
It’s this diversity in objectives that can make effectively teaching innovation difficult and it was his realization that he didn’t know everything about every type of entrepreneurship that led Steve to increase his breadth of knowledge.
Tip #2: Get a Mentor
Luckily, Berkely had a semi-formal onboarding process in place which sped up the learning process for new faculty. For other educators who do not have access to that kind of program, Steve recommends:
Attending other entrepreneurship instructor’s classes
If you’re an entrepreneur first, get another educator to mentor you
If you’re an academic first, pair with an entrepreneur to teach
Like we teach our students, teams with aligned goals and diverse skills have better outcomes; the same applies to our teaching. To improve your classes, find people who have a different set of skills and experiences than you and collaborate with them.
When in Doubt: Experiences Teach Skills
“If you’ve never started a company and you’re teaching entrepreneurship, it’s like teaching a med school class and never having cracked a chest.”
Entrepreneurship is a combination of theory and practice and our students learn it best when they are offered by perspectives.
Steve further explained his point by saying, “Startups are essentially years of chaos, uncertainty, and terror. That’s not what a typical academic career is like. And so it’s kind of hard to teach tenacity, resilience, and agility and maybe curiosity, which are the key skills for early-stage entrepreneurs without having lived with that uncertainty.”
For an engaging way to help your students understand exactly what questions they should and shouldn’t ask customers, you can also use our free experiential Customer Interviewing Cards lesson plan.
The same goes for every topic in entrepreneurship:
Every entrepreneurship skill must be practiced to be internalized.
The Future of Entrepreneurship Education
Key skills for early-stage entrepreneurs can be taught with the right combination of theory and experiential exercises.
In class, Steve looks to create a feeling that there is no “right” answer that can be found in a book. It is this approach that encourages students to figure things out for themselves and inspires outside-the-box thinking. The Lean LaunchPad methodology Steve created is great for stimulating the chaos of entrepreneurship. It is this chaos that identifies those students ready for the pursuit of entrepreneurship.
Steve conceptualizes his classes as the Juilliard of entrepreneurship; when the way to train artists was with an experiential, hands-on apprenticeship. With this in mind, Steve thinks successful entrepreneurship curricula should include entrepreneurial appreciation.
“These core [entrepreneurship] courses will be the new liberal arts courses of the 21st century.”
Here are my takeaways from the first part of our conversation:
Get a mentor. If your background is in academia, find an entrepreneur to mentor you in real-world realities. If you’re an entrepreneur, find an academic mentor who can teach you about teaching. Teaching entrepreneurship requires both.
Train entrepreneurs like artists. Just like are no “right” answers in art, there are no right answers in entrepreneurship. Instead of focusing on teaching answers, we should focus on teaching skills.
Students learn skills by practicing them. Experiences, not textbooks, are the best way to teach skills.
Check Out Part 2
Click here for the second part of our conversation where we discuss:
The necessary skills professors should teach their students, and
Four courses he thinks are essential to a robust entrepreneurship program
And subscribe here for more interviews with entrepreneurship education thought leaders:
Missed Our Recent Articles?
Whether you are new to our community of entrepreneurship educators, or you’ve been contributing for years, we wanted to give you a list of the posts our community finds most valuable:
We’ve taken the guesswork out of creating an engaging approach that works both online or in-person. ExEC has a comprehensive entrepreneurship syllabus template complete with 15 weeks of award-winning lesson plans that can be easily adapted to your needs.
With Fall fast approaching, this 3-part “Checklist” newsletter series will help you prep for what will likely be an uncertain semester.
The first thing you need to do for Fall, no matter what your administration is saying, is…
Fully commit to teaching online.
In-Person will be Worse than Online
In normal circumstances, in-person classes are unquestionably better learning environments for most students. This Fall, however, the experience won’t be normal:
You and your students will all be wearing face masks for the duration of your classes.
Your students won’t be able to interact with one another. Separated by 6 feet, student-to-student interactions will need to be eliminated, and you’ll be asked to restrict your movement within the classroom.
We’re about to enter cold & flu season when anyone, including you, with even a hint of any symptom – sniffles, sneezes, sore throat, etc. – will be asked to stay home. Combine those students with those that are simply uncomfortable attending class and your “in-person” class will quickly turn into a Frankenstein’s monster of half-online / half-in-person classes that’s the worst of both worlds.
These restrictions mean that your normally interactive entrepreneurship classes will be reduced to a series of lectures. This is not only boring for you and your students, but worse than that…
Neglecting the reasons our classes exist in the first place: to teach entrepreneurship skills.
Fortunately, the ineffectiveness of in-person classes won’t last long this Fall because…
It’s not if you go online. It’s when.
When you consider:
It’s summer now, school is out, and COVID is still spreading rapidly.
Come Fall, when students travel from across the country and start socializing on campus, in the dorms, and at inevitable parties, cases will spike at schools.
As soon as any of your in-person students test positive, you’ll be asked to immediately transition online because you or your other students could already be infected.
Unfortunately, if you’re in the US…
It’s inevitable your classes will move online.
Fortunately, there’s some good news:
Online Classes Can Be Better than In-Person
The online experience your students had last year wasn’t great because you weren’t given adequate time to prepare. Of course, as we collectively demonstrated during the TeachingEntrepreneurship.org Virtual Conference, with a little preparation…
Online learning can be just as good (better?) than in-person.
When you teach online, whether synchronously or asynchronously, with proper planning you can replicate virtually all of the experiences you’d do in-person.
Key to Success: Start Prepping Now
As we’ve seen instructors embrace the fact that classes are going online in Fall, we’ve seen them simultaneously learn new tools while…
Dramatically simplifying their prep process.
And with the right tools, it turns out, there’s not an overwhelming amount of prep to do.
Step #1: Ask to Teach Completely Online
If you haven’t already, have a conversation with your department chair or dean about why online classes from day 1 will be better for your students than “hybrid” (half in-person / half online) classes that inevitably transition online. Try to communicate that, in addition to being a more safe, less stressful experience for you and your students…
Committing to online teaching now, will enable you to focus your prep and provide a higher quality experience for students.
More important than whether they take classes in-person or online, students want a motivating, engaging learning experience. The best way to provide that is to commit to one class format now, and start prepping for it.
Step #2: Prep Your Online Lessons
To avoid the suboptimal experience students had last Spring, it’s important to start prepping for online lessons now. To do that you can either:
Start translating your in-person activities to be “Zoom-able” or
Use a curriculum like ExEC that has already been translated online.
Using a structured set of lessons like the ones in ExEC enables you to have modular exercises you can integrate into your course to ensure your class is engaging whether its in-person, online, or hybrid.
Plus ExEC has full support to instantly create courses for you on:
Learn about new methods and tools to engage your students (we are leading 5 sessions)
Attend the Innovator’s Dinner and meet thought leaders
This annual conference is an incredible few days where entrepreneurship educators, scholars, and practitioners plan entrepreneurship programs and share their bold teaching, scholarship, and practice work and ideas.
If you’re going, we’ll see you there!
Happy Hour Is On Us!
Let’s get the important stuff out of the way first. We will be hosting our third-annual happy hour party. Like last year’s engaging event, we will be paying for drinks for the first 100 people who register!
Innovator’s Dinner – Meet Thought Leaders
This year, we are experimenting with an “Innovator’s Dinner” on Friday night. This will be a special gathering for 20 innovators where you can connect with like-minded, innovative entrepreneurship educators in an intimate setting. We will be
Sharing best practices!
Connecting with innovators and possible collaborators
Learning ways to better engage our students
We are offering a limited number of Innovator’s Dinner tickets for $75, which includes a full Creole dinner, free drinks, inspiring conversations, and a couple group activities we have in mind 😉
5 Talks + A Competition
We will lead a handful of sessions during the conference:
60 Minute MVP 2.0
This is an intense and exciting exercise that teaches critical aspects of the entrepreneurial mindset and lean start-up methodology, namely the iterative process of hypothesis testing through the creation of minimum viable products (MVPs). In 60 minutes, with no prior technical expertise, students work in teams to design a landing page, create an explainer video, and set up a way to measure pre-launch demand from prospective customers by accepting pre-orders or email addresses. USASBE attendees will get to experience creating an MVP themselves, and will leave with a detailed lesson plan they can use to run this exercise back in their classes.
Learning the Basics Through Gamification
This is a fun, interactive exercise where educators use a combination of Customer Interviewing Playing Cards which they can print out, and an online collaborative quiz game (Kahoot) to teach core customer interviewing skills. Specifically, it will demonstrate to students:
What their problem interviewing goals should be and should not be
Based on their interviewing goals, they will learn what questions they should and should not ask during customer interviews
USASBE attendees will leave the session with a PDF of the interview playing cards they can print out when they return to school, access to the interviewing quiz game, a copy of a recommended interview script template and a detailed lesson plan on how to use the interviewing cards, game and script in class.
Entrepreneurs vs. Inventors:
The Lottery Ticket Dilemma
This exercise provides a fun, experiential way for students to conceptualize customer behavior, and identify business opportunities, by demonstrating it’s not actually customer problems that drive behavior, but customer emotions. After this game-based activity, students understand why some products are successful even if they don’t solve an obvious problem, and how to leverage that fact to identify non-problem based opportunities. Attendees to this session will get to experience the lesson themselves, and leave with a lesson plan they can use to integrate this exercise in their classes.
Fears and Curiosities:
Engaging ALL Students on Day 1
Not all of our entrepreneurship students want to start companies. Fortunately, entrepreneurship education isn’t about starting companies; it’s about developing skills and a mindset that will serve our students whether they start a company now, later, or never. This exercise helps students understand the value of their entrepreneurship classes, even if they never envision themselves becoming an entrepreneur, which helps them to engage in the class from the first day. USASBE attendees experience the exercise themselves and then leave with a detailed lesson plan so they can use this exercise in their class.
Normalizing Failing Through the Wish Game
This exercise was borrowed from faculty at Stanford University and developed into the foundation of an MBA Entrepreneurship course to teach entrepreneurship skills by having classmates iteratively deliver wishes for each other. In this exercise, students write down big, specific wishes, such as being able to meet a celebrity, or visiting a certain place. The professor chooses one person to be the wish grantee, and the rest of the class works for a period of time to deliver that wish at a future date of the professor’s choosing.
This exercise is about hyper-collaboration, so all students benefit by working together under considerable constraints. This exercise is a powerful path for students to learn entrepreneurial skills like ideation, customer interviewing, prototyping, selling, and mobilizing resources, all in the context of creating memorable experiences for their fellow classmates.
Defending Our Title!
We are excited to defend our title as the reigning Excellence in Experiential Exercises (3E) champion from USASBE2019. We were honored to receive this recognition for our “A Better Toothbrush: Testing Assumptions via Customer Observations” exercise, which is a vital part of our award-winning Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum. That recognition motivated us to design more engaging exercises for you and your students.
We hope to see you there!
Justin, Doan and Federico
Missed Our Recent Articles?
Whether you are new to our community of entrepreneurship educators, or you’ve been contributing for years, we wanted to give you a list of the posts our community finds most valuable:
Improve Student Idea Generation. This lesson plan enables your students to build ideas around the customers they are most passionate about helping, and the problems they are most excited to help them resolve.
“The best class I’ve taken!” We all want a Dead Poets Society moment in our entrepreneurship class. One professor using the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum got hers!
Join 70+ Universities Using the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum!
Request a preview of the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC) today and make this Spring the most engaging semester of entrepreneurship yet! Our curriculum is full of experiential exercises that will make your students’ learning come alive.