2018 Seminar

2018 Seminar

Problem solving, innovation, and entrepreneurship

  • Welcome to Problem solving, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
  • This course is designed to help you develop your thinking and planning skills.
  • You will spend most of your time in class working with other students.
  • This is not a lecture class.
  • You will choose a problem or issue that you want to "fix".
  • You will then deeply research your issue or problem.
  • After you understand your issue or problem, you will create a business plan or action plan that solves the problem or issue.
  • You will be making 4 presentations about your plan.
  • You are expected to learn how to effectively use a variety of apps such as:
    • PowerPoint or other presentation apps.
    • Planning tools such as mind map and outline apps.
    • Basic blogging tools.
    • Data and graphing apps.
    • Writing tools such as Hemingwayapp and Gammarly.
  • The class will be challenging, very challenging.


Week 1

What is innovation and entrepreneurship?


  • Brief introduction.



Week 2

Introduction to creative thinking and problem solving.


  • First, watch the Malcolm Gladwell talk about Choice, happiness, and spaghetti sauce.
  • Second, answer the following questions. Make sure you think carefully and deeply about the questions and your answers. Make notes and be prepared to discuss your ideas in class next week.
    • Why does Gladwell admire Moskowitz?
    • What did Moskowitz do that is important?
    • What does "There is no perfect Pepsi; there are only perfect Pepsis" mean?
    • What did Moskowitz discover about spaghetti sauce?
    • What did Gladwell mean when he said "Most of you like milky, weak coffee."
    • How can Moskowitz' ideas be used in other fields, such as medicine, education, business, product design....?
    • Were you convinced by Gladwell's talk?
    • How did he persuade you to accept his ideas? Please think about this. Was his presentation structured as an argument or usual PowerPoint presentation? Or did he do something differently?

Week 3

Framing a problem and asking the right questions.

Week 4

Introducing your problem/issue to the class.

Week 5

Understanding business/action plans.

Week 6

Different kinds of business/action plan.

Week 7

Developing a first draft of a business/action plan.

Week 8

Presenting your first draft of a business/action plan (midterm presentation).

Week 9

Methods and systems for assessing goals and objectives.

Week 10

Understanding features and benefits.

Week 11

Explaining and describing benefits.

Week 12

What is a minimally viable product and why does it matter?

Week 13

Different approaches to developing a minimally viable product.

Week 14

Presenting your final business/action plan round 1 (final presentation).

Week 15

Presenting your final business/action plan round 2 (final presentation)