About this course
Supported by the reading package students will work on five intensive days in interdisciplinary teams on a challenge from a partner and learn why and how to develop customer and user centric business ideas through applying an entrepreneurial mindset and innovative methods - always considering the triple bottom line. Taking on an embedded view on the interrelatedness of economic, social and environmental systems, students will develop an ecosystem map to get an overview of relevant stakeholders and potential customers as well as important relationships and value streams. Input on Empathy Research will prepare them to collect qualitative insights from potential customers and users through interviews, immersion and contextual observations. After conducting their Empathy Research they will step by step learn how to synthesize their insights and define opportunities for sustainable innovation. With a concrete how-might-we-question they will start into ideation. Through different creativity methods they will develop and prioritize ideas and build a simple prototype. This prototype is being tested again through qualitative tests with potential customers and users. When they come back after testing they do a first iteration based on the feedback they got and derive assumptions on a potential business model. After input on pitching they will prepare slides or other material and pitch in front of the group, partner and external guests. After the pitch event they will be led through a reflection of the learnings they gained during the week. The reading package will support the transfer of these learnings.
Expected learning outcomes
After participating in this module students will be able to understand and apply life-centered design principles in the early stages of an entrepreneurial process: from identifying an entrepreneurial opportunity and understanding its environmental and social impact to validating assumptions by applying qualitative research methods and interpreting data as well as using prototyping as a tool for communication and learning. They will be able to apply creativity methods, take over collective responsibility and know how to effectively communicate their business opportunities. Taking decisions under uncertainty, ambiguity and risk in newly formed teams will foster their collaboration and communication skills and prepare them for future team work in appreciating and accommodating team members' individual personalities and boundaries. At the same time the reading package enables students to gain a broader understanding of the methods learned in the course providing them with the ability to apply them beyond the context of innovation.
Combination of group and individual project assignment - final examination consists of two components, each carrying 50% of the final course grade: (1) a 5 minute group presentation plus 10 minutes Q&A and feedback at the end of the course and (2) an individual reflection paper of ca. 2,500 words. Students will present to the class, the lecturer and the partner how the team identified an attractive opportunity in a suitable market, understood the customers’ / users’ needs in the process and, as a result, proposed a sustainable business model that balances people, planet and profit.
In a written reflection paper, every student will reflect upon and consolidate their individual learnings from (1) the reading package and (2) their entrepreneurial experience on three different levels - self, team and entrepreneurship.
Interest in entrepreneurship and sustainability, ability to work in a team
This module relies on a combination of readings, input sessions, workshops, teamwork and individual feedback and support. While input sessions will stimulate students’ engagement with relevant tools and topics, workshops and team discussions will support the implementation of the knowledge in their projects and facilitate students’ learning of the soft and intricate aspects of adopting an entrepreneurial mindset and skills. Working on a design challenge that a partner (e.g. TUM Venture Labs) provides stimulates peer competition and allows students to directly apply what they learn in a real life setting. The reading package will strengthen students' understanding of the methods and allow them to make sense of their practical experience.