Developing Innovators and Entrepreneurs

Your students go through the process of coming up with a great idea…It could quite possibly be the beginning of a business, a medical breakthrough, or maybe even change the world. But an idea can’t change the world unless people know about it.

Is this something we explicitly teach in schools?

Recently working with some amazingly thoughtful and forward thinking educators, we talked about simplifying a “passion project” that students were working on.  Here were the four steps we came up with for their process:

  1. Identify Your Question (Problem Finding)
  2. Design Your Solution
  3. Present Your Idea
  4. Continue the Conversation

I was definitely influenced by the awesome book, “Launch”, by AJ Juliani and John Spencer (must read book if you are looking at design thinking). The one component that I thought about was once people see your idea, how do they continuously connect with it?  Dave Burgess often talks about this in depth when he focuses on building community, not simply “selling an idea”.

We also have to realize that there is a dynamic where traditional “marketing” is changing as well. As we were talking about students creating commercials (which I did in school and loved), we talked about a little subtle element that people need to pay attention to; the first five seconds.  The first five seconds are crucial, as so much advertising is moving online, and the “skip ad” button gives you a countdown to capture someone’s attention.  In the article, “The First 5 Seconds: Creating YouTube Ads that Breakthrough in a Skippable World“, they talk about how this is something that advertisers need to pay attention to:

Online video ad formats like YouTube TrueView ads have created a paradox for marketers. They remove traditional 30-second time constraints, giving brands more time to tell their stories. But introducing a “skip” button after five short seconds also means that advertisers have to create more engaging stories that not only grab their audience’s attention, but hold it, too.

Is it time to start creating ads with the “skip” button in mind? Today, all ads are skippable—whether it’s a function of the format or not. People have been honing their skipping skills for a while. Think about it: Viewers experimented with fast-forwarding on their VCRs, improved their skills with DVRs, and now are mastering ad choice on the web. Even if there’s no option to fast-forward or skip, consumers can always pick up a smartphone, switch tabs, or find other ways to hit a metaphoric skip button.

Understanding theses little changes in the world like this are imperative.  How do you make a resume stick out when so many resumes look the same? How important are digital portfolios for students to get jobs?  If a student was googled, what would they find about them?  How do they develop networks in areas of interest?

Entrepreneurial skills are important for students today that live in a global economy, trying to get ideas out in a world that is inundated with noise. Are we developing students to no only have the ideas, but to get their ideas out into the world?


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