Entrepreneurial Institute

Teach Design and systems thinking applied to starting new businesses.

Photo of Dan Erlacher
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This idea grows out of my concern about college students graduating into a difficult employment environment.  Expanding on my Design Thinking class for community college students, this proposal could create a self-perpetuating teaching and mentoring resource for students.  In addition to creating new business ideas and potentially creating new jobs, it could also foster the entrepreneurial spirit required of performing well in any business job.  As the institute gains traction, more experienced students could mentor those coming after them and, after initially being funded by college revenues, it could potentially become self-funded or a potential profit source.

[Optional] Synthesize a little! In one sentence, describe what you learned from your empathy exercises or analogous research. (Ex: Good advisors make a difference.)

Student concern over educational debt and employment provides abundant motivation for channeling their already abundant creativity.

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Photo of Emma Scripps

Dan - Thanks for posting! Seems like this is an idea that was born out of some sort of experience you've had teaching design thinking at the community college level? Would like to hear more about those experiences - what do you teach? How? 

Photo of Dan Erlacher

Hi Emma,
Thanks for your interest!  I taught Design thinking (I capitalize to differentiate abductive problem solving from designing how something looks or works) as my version of an Interdisciplinary Studies class.  The class consisted of first understanding wicked problems and identifying the systems in which they are embedded, followed by practice in Design thinking via in-classroom games, and then a class-wide case study in which we all used the process together.  Finally, each class group chose its own wicked problem and applied Design thinking to move it toward resolution.  That's the class--my posting idea grew more out of wanting to move Design thinking from a peripheral curiosity to the central position it deserves in education and beyond.  (I had attempted to add Design to the ID state standards then being defined but found administrators and legislators to be far too numbers/factory oriented to appreciate it.)

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