Nifty assignments in entrepreneurship education

At Open 2011 and 2012, Clif Kussmaul and Trish Boyles from Muhlenberg College held workshops called Nifty Assignments in Entrepreneurship Education. The sessions were dedicated to finding good materials that educators can use in teaching entrepreneurship: assignments that are easy to adopt and adapt, relevant in many settings, thought-provoking, and fun for students and teachers. Here we present a list of the Nifty Assignments (NAs) that have been presented during the workshops. Head to Clif Kussmaul's Nifty Assignments site for the full list.
 
 
 

Name
Keywords
team dynamics, decision making, problem solving
Presenter
Clif Kussmaul, Muhlenberg College, clif@kussmaul.org
(from Carol Wellington, Shippensburg University)
Bullet
Points
1.     Student teams spend 5-10 minutes counting the triangles in a complex figure.
2.     Teams consider team roles & strategies.
3.     Teams report conclusions to class & discuss.

 
Name
Keywords
networking
Presenter
Michael Lehman, University of Pittsburgh, mslehman@katz.pitt.edu
Bullet
Points
1.     Each student picks five people they don’t know.
(from engineering, law, health sci, industry, etc.)
2.     Interview each person face-to-face.
3.     Write two-page reflection paper.
 
Name
Keywords
perception, opportunity recognition, customer needs analysis
Presenter
Jonathan Weaver, Univ of Detroit, Mercy, Mech Eng Dept, weaverjm@udmercy.edu
Bullet
Points
1.     Show selective attention video.
2.     Each student compiles a ten-minute video of people in typical activities.
3.     Identify & list unmet needs or opportunities.
4.     Share videos with class to identify more.
 
Name
Keywords
teamwork, opportunity identification, action-orientation, bootstrapping
Presenter
Trish Boyles, Muhlenberg College, tboyles@muhlenberg.edu
Bullet
Points
1.     Students teams develop, launch, & operate a startup idea with minimal funding (<$5).
2.     Summary presentation one week later on idea, process, obstacles, lessons learned.
 
Name
Keywords
technical calculation, approximation
Presenter
Susannah Howe, Smith College, showe@smith.edu
Bullet
Points
1.     Each student gets an envelope and uses it to make a rough calculation, often very early in a project.
  
Name
Keywords
brainstorming, creativity
Presenter
Michael Lehman, University of Pittsburgh, mslehman@katz.pitt.edu
Bullet
Points
1.     Each student lists five things they like to do.
2.     Teams of three combine one idea from each list and blend them to form a business idea.
3.     Teams share their idea with the class.
4.     Teams define target market, competitive advantage, business name, & logo.
 
Name
Keywords
idea/concept generation, parallel thinking, team dynamics
Presenter
Jonathan Weaver & Darrell Kleinke, Univ of Detroit, Mercy, Mech Eng Dept, weaverjm@udmercy.edu
Bullet
Points
1.     Instructor introduces DeBono’s 6 Thinking Hats.
2.     Student teams practice each hat to identify innovations related to water bottles.
 
Name
Keywords
transferable knowledge/attitudes/skills, professional development
Presenter
Susannah Howe, Smith College, showe@smith.edu
Bullet
Points
1.     Each student identifies & lists their own transferable knowledge/attitudes/skills.
2.     Student teams aggregate the lists and make a visual map.
 
Name
Keywords
teamwork, opportunity recognition, skill recognition
Presenter
Frances Mitchell, Innovation Academy, TCD/UCD, frances.mitchell@ucd.ie
Bullet
Points
1.     Give newspaper to mixed discipline teams.
2.     Use contents of pockets/bags to create value from something in the newspaper.
3.     Present result at end of day.
 
Name
Keywords
communication, networking, marketing
Presenter
Dean Chang, University of Maryland, deanc@umd.edu
Bullet
Points
1.     Give 1-2 min elevator pitch about yourself - basic info, experience, unique features
2.     Watch recording of yourself - 3 good things, 3 improvements, 1 borrowed idea
3.     Record yourself on cell phone


Name
Reframe the Problem
Keywords
redesign
Presenter
Tina Seelig, Stanford University, tseelig@stanford.edu
Bullet
Points
1.     Students walk around finding problems.
2.     Analyze & redesign nametags.
3.     What are the real goals?
4.     Reframe problem, prototype.
5.     (see also Wallet Project)