Essentials for Entrepreneurship: Creative Process, Tools, & a Deep Dive into SF Start-up Culture Winter 2022

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Class Details

This course is designed to provide students with actionable insights into how to develop an idea and exposure to a variety of startups in the Bay Area. Students from all majors are encouraged to apply as creative thinking and solution building is important to every discipline. The course will begin in Williamstown with a review of idea development tools pioneered by the Stanford d.School such as the Business Model Canvas and Design Thinking. Particular focus will be on customer discovery and how one determines if an idea is worth pursuing, the “pivots” along the way, and the adaptive mentality needed in a startup. We will look at the creative process from a personal perspective–how can each student learn to think creatively and what can they do each day. We will compare the creative process in different disciplines to see what is different and what is the same. The second half of the course will take place in San Francisco where we will tap into the strong Bay Area alumni network allowing us to visit several start-ups and fast-growing tech companies. We will look at the influence of company culture, different financing models, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the Bay Area. Students will do a consulting project for Minted, a fast-growing consumer focused company, will present their findings to senior management during the company visit. They will also keep a journal of ideas and observations with a short summary due at the end of the course. There will be time to check out San Francisco and the surrounding area. Reading will include Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by David and Tom Kelly, The Lean Start-up by Eric Ries, Thinking Course by Edward deBono’s and Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson as well as articles and podcasts.
The Class: Format: travel
Limit: 12
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: presentation to executives at Minted; short paper reflecting lessons learned and best ideas they came up with during the course; daily participation in team discussions
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: students submit a 2-minute video on 1) why they are interested, 2) what they bring to the course and 3) past entrepreneurial experience
Unit Notes: Tonio Palmer is the Associate Director/Director of Entrepreneurship at Williams. Tonio has had a long career in international business and founded a number of companies.
Materials/Lab Fee: $3,000
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses
TRVL Winter Study Travel Course

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