It is our pleasure to share with you the lesson plan that won the prestigious Experiential Entrepreneurship Exercises (3E) competition at USASBE this past January!
If your students focus more on their products than their customers’ problems, this lesson plan is for you.!
Through this exercise, students will discover how important emotions are in the decision-making process, and the importance of understanding and fulfilling other people’s emotional needs.
Specifically, students will learn:
- Why the majority of businesses that start end in failure, & how to avoid those failures
- Customer decisions are driven by their emotions
- To create products customers want to buy, we need to understand the emotional journey they want to take
Here’s how the lesson plan works…
Step 1: Set Context in Your Class
Use this exercise when students are beginning to think of ideas to develop – see the High Quality Idea Generation module in the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC) for explicit instructions to guide students to develop high quality ideas they are uniquely qualified to pursue.
Let students know there is a specific perspective that can help them develop powerful ideas that they will enjoy working on, and that today they will learn that perspective.
Step 2: Why Businesses Fail
Ask students to describe what they think the difference is between an inventor and an entrepreneur.
Walk students through the two comparisons to highlight this difference:
- Segway vs. Razor scooters. Explain that Segway is an incredible invention, estimated to have a value of $2.5 billion, and that it was a colossal failure that reached only 1% of its market valuation. Then explain that Razor scooters (and now Bird and Lime electric scooters) are similar, but these far less “innovative” transportation options have generated far more market value – nearly $15 billion market. Point out that the Segway creator is an inventor because he focused on his emotional needs (building something technologically innovative, whereas the creator of the Razor scooter are entrepreneurs because they focused on creating products people actually decide to buy and use.
- Google Glass vs. Warby Paker. Explain that Google Glass, like Segway, was invented as a revolutionary technology, but ended up being the butt of many jokes. Warby Parker, on the other hand, sells glasses that actually solve a problem for customers, so customers want to buy and use them.
Step 3: Setting Up the Game
Tell your students that to understand what people decide to buy, they must first understand how people make decisions. Explain they will play a game to figure that out, and the team that wins a game will get to pick their prize.
Explain that to play the game, your students will:
- Form teams of two
- Listen to a recording
- Answer one question about the recording
- The team that answers the question the best gets the prize
Let students know they will pick between a real lottery ticket worth up to $40 million, or a dime. Be sure to emphasize the potential value of the lottery ticket (e.g., a chance at $40 million) as opposed to simply describing it as a lottery ticket. Even if the jackpot is more than $40 million, tell them it’s worth $40 million to keep the math consistent for this exercise.
Tell your students that, based on the odds of winning the lottery, and the taxes they’d have to pay on any winnings, the dime is, strictly speaking, more valuable than the lottery ticket. Students should talk in their dyads and decided which prize they want.
Step 4: Lottery Ticket vs. Dime
Ask students to raise their hand if they want the dime. Then ask them to raise their hand if they want to lottery ticket.
The majority will pick the lottery ticket. Ask them
Why do you want a prize that is objectively worth less?
Probe them with questions that highlight any emotions associated with your students’ choices as you begin to hand out copies of the Emotional Palette Canvas
NOTE: Some students will indicate they want the dime instead of the lottery ticket. Be sure to dive in to understand why they want the dime. Ultimately, their preference for the dime will have an emotional component as well, even if it appears to be based entirely on logic (e.g. they want to feel confident, smart, etc.).
Step 5: Emotional Palette Canvas
Explain that this canvas is a tool to help them visualize and compare the intensity of different emotions.
Ask students to find the emotions they would feel if they won the lottery ticket. Scores should be in the +3 or +4 range. Ask your students to discuss in their dyad the following question:
Using the Emotional Palette Canvas, how can you explain why most people prefer the shot at $40 million, as opposed to an objectively more valuable dime.
NOTE: The correct answer is that while the objective value of the dime is higher than the lottery ticket, the emotional value (e.g. hope, excitement, fun, etc.) of the ticket is much higher than the dime. Teams should use the Emotional Palette Canvas to illustrate that the lottery ticket emotions “score” higher than the dime emotions.
Step 6: The Man Who Couldn’t Feel
Switch now to the questions that will determine the winning dyad. Tell students to listen carefully to the podcast you will play and think about this question:
What role do emotions play in decision making?
Play this podcast listed in the lesson plan.
Step 7: How Humans Make Decisions
After the podcast, have students answer the following to determine the prize winner:
- They must link all of the concepts covered today:
- The difference between inventors and entrepreneurs
- The majority of the class wants the objectively less valuable, but emotionally more valuable, lottery ticket as a prize
- What you learned from the podcast
- To describe:
- What role do emotions play in decision making?
- Why did we, like most entrepreneurs, failed in our first experiment?
- What we should do different next time to avoid repeating our mistakes?
For a sample answer, download the lesson plan!
It may take a few attempts for teams to get all the elements of this answer correct. After a team guesses, provide them feedback and then let another team answer. Continue until all of the elements above have been spoken to.
NOTE: So many people, including the majority of our students, think our decisions are based on logic, reason, and rational thinking. This is an opportunity to highlight that’s not the case. Drive this point home, especially if you’re teaching a large number of logically-oriented students, like engineers or scientists.
Step 8: Recap
This is your chance to drive home the main points of this lesson.
- There’s no such thing as a human making a purely logical decision. Without emotions, we can’t make decisions.
- Emotions influence every decision we make including what products are successful and who gets what jobs.
- Whether one become an entrepreneur, or get a job, how much money one makes depends on how well they understand and fulfill other people’s emotional needs.
Get the “Lottery Ticket Dilemma” Lesson Plan
We’ve created a detailed “Lottery Ticket Dilemma” lesson plan. This exercise walks you, and your students, through the process, step-by-step.
It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers, so you’re welcome to share it.
This lesson is part of our fully experiential curriculum. If you’d like to see the entire curriculum, click to learn more.
Get our Next Free Lesson Plan
We email new experiential entrepreneurship lesson plans regularly.
Subscribe here to get our next lesson plan in your inbox!
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:
- “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!
- Improving Student Idea Generation. Help students build ideas around the customers they are most passionate about helping, and the problems they are most excited to help them resolve.
- Teachers Need Tools. Our curriculum makes prepping your entrepreneurship classes a breeze, and makes teaching the classes a powerful experience for students.