Tag Archives: Ideation

Workshop on Opportunity Recognition & Being an Entrepreneur: A Conversation with Professor Z

19 Mar

How many ideas do you think of each day?

idea overload

One student attending this workshop said he’s continually thinking of ideas, sometimes adding up to over 20 ideas per day!

But what makes one of those many ideas, the one idea that becomes an opportunity for an entrepreneurial venture? In order to answer this last question, Professor Laura Zavelson created a list of questions to ask yourself about your idea:

  • What problem am I solving
  • How much do I like this – am I passionate about this
  • Do people want or need this
  • Am I the right person to pursue this idea or do I know someone with the domain knowledge who can help
  • Is there any competition
  • Which idea has the biggest financial up-side
Professor Laura Zavelson

Professor Laura Zavelson

“As an entrepreneur, time is your most valuable asset” ~ Laura Zavelson

Another thing to consider is whether this idea is an “on-the-couch” or “off-the-couch” idea. If you think about what technology enables us to do, we can accomplish a lot from our couches at home; we can do market research, create spreadsheets, forecast financials, create our business model, develop our business plan, research our competition, and find possible customers (to name a few). However, the one thing you cannot do, is start a business from your couch.

In order to successfully start a business from an idea,  you need to:

  • Talk to people, any kind of people, about your idea and get their feedback
  • Talk to potential customers
  • Talk to experts in the field/industry and hear what they have to say
  • Get yourself out there!

If you have an idea and have been able to determine that it is in fact an opportunity, ask yourself this:

  • What is my idea exactly (in 3 sentences or less)? Note: your first answer may not be the best one but a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself “WHY” 3 times. When you define your idea, or the problem you’re solving, or what you think makes it a good idea, make sure you can ask yourself “why” three times and have an answer
  • Who will benefit from this idea (i.e. your customers, etc.)?
  • Where do I want to start this business?
  • What problems am I solving? (list these)
  • Why is this a winning idea?
  • How will I make money through this?

So, are you ready to start a business yet?!?

If you have any questions OR if you want your business idea to be the focus of our next workshop and have SEED go through this process and help you answer these questions, please contact Atticus Grinder at agrinder@elon.edu

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Idea Launch Pad: Round 1

23 Apr
Last Thursday night was our first round of Idea Launch Pad where we had around twenty students from the Business, Engineering, Communications, and English departments come and share a total of fourteen ideas! The event was designed to be casual, and facilitate the process of “ideation” or brainstorming to help students not only compete for a spot in the Final Four but more so get feedback and answer questions from their peers. This “idea share” segment was geared towards helping them gain multiple perspectives on their ideas and possibly find ways to expand upon or improve them.
Each student was asked at the beginning of the night to stand up at their table and give a brief introduction of who they were and what there idea was. After that, the participants were given 15-20 minutes to brainstorm with everyone else in the room. There were colored markers and large sheets of paper to draw their ideas or take notes, and students were encouraged to get up and walk around in order to talk to as many different people as possible. To close, each presenter was asked to re-present their idea (with any changes they may have made during the brainstorming phase) and they were given exactly 60-seconds to “impress” the judges.
Professor Gary Palin and Professor Laura Zavelson were the judges for round one and they based their decisions off of the idea itself, its potential to grow/scale, and the ability for the students to actually execute their ideas.
This coming Thursday (4/25) the Final Four teams will return to do a 10 minute pitch to a panel of four judges followed by 5 minutes of Q&A. Between the two rounds, the top four teams were assigned mentors (students who have been through, or are in the entrepreneurship program and are able to make sure each team is asking the right questions, etc.). These mentors were given as a resource for developing the students’ ideas and creating their final presentation.
Teams that didn’t make it on to round two were encouraged to either join one of the Final Four teams and/or pursue their ideas with SEED as a resource for them should they want or need any help in turning their ideas into a reality.
It was really important for us to stress that even if an idea didn’t make it on to the next round, it doesn’t mean they should leave their idea behind. There were so many truly good ideas that could be very successful if the students decide to continue working on them.
Join us for our Finale this Thursday, 4.25.2013 at 5:00 P.M. in McKinnon Hall (Located in Moseley)!Image
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Robert and Eric Get Serious about 3D Printing

12 Apr

Robert and Eric Get Serious about 3D Printing

Startup Weekend allowed these students to meet professionals with the technical know-how to bring their ideas for 3D Printing to the next level.