Most of your students’ ideas suck, don’t they? Or you don’t have enough of them, do you? What if you could pretty easily change that?
Like our colleagues below, you can use these tools, processes, and the online textbook – for better ideas, to deliver the rigorous foundations at the intersection of theory and practice, for a more experiential learning environment, and for a more entrepreneurially engaged campus.
Matthew Rogers-Draycott: Masters and undergraduate levels both online and off
Doan Winkel: Using the tools as a textbook across multi-disciplinary university sections
Mark Turner and Nikki Johnston: Engaging students deeply in a high school setting
Kevin Crowe: Building top in-demand talent, a tech business where the best ideas win,
and a winning path out of an oil and gas downturn in Alberta, Canada
- 0:00 – Who is Kevin Crowe, Executive VP Strategy at Long View Systems?
- 0:47 – What problem were you trying to solve?
- 1:48 – What were you doing before, and what’s changed?
- 3:08 – How did you build a business where the best ideas win?
- 4:26 – What kinds of outcomes have you seen?
- 5:19 – How did all of this improve your team dynamics and culture?
- 6:45 – Did it really turn ‘innovation’ from a talking point into action?
- 7:58 – Can you give us an example of something tangible you stood up?
- 9:01 – Do you have a message for leaders trying to make innovation real?
- 10:28 – How will it fit within my context?
- 11:09 – How quickly can someone make this happen?
We’ve learned a lot the hard way – from our own entrepreneurial and teaching experiences, from the world’s top innovators, and from the best of the literature.
Import it all into your context. Get your students levelling up to accelerate their learning. Use your class time in smarter ways. Make things experiential while building an entrepreneurial culture. Let us help you make it all look easy.
Hi, I’m Alex Bruton!
I still remember the day – over a decade ago now. A new semester was starting up and I was supposed to teach my students using the business model canvas and the business plan. And I was under pressure for my students to be coming up with and working on better, more impactful, and, ideally, more fundable ideas.
For sure I’d tweaked some stuff in the break between semesters, but in my heart I knew it wasn’t going to work. Three months later, my students’ ideas would still mostly suck …
The roots of the Idea Maker Course and open toolkit were born in that moment. I knew I could do better by my students. I knew I could give them a better foundation both for my own course and for what would follow – in our program and in the world around us.
The approaches have improved a lot since then, and they’re the result of practical experience and the best of what’s found in the literature.
I use these approaches myself all the time and have worked with thousands of entrepreneurial students and their teachers. They’re used by thousands of educators at hundreds of schools and universities from Waterloo, to Mexico, to the USA, to the UK. They’ve won national and international awards. And they’ve formed the basis of many entrepreneurial ventures and corporate innovation practices, including my own.
I’ve been tenured in a business school and in an engineering school, I’ve been invited to teach around the world, and I’ve been fortunate to be named a Peak Scholar and a Master Educator for this work, as well as Entrepreneurial Educator of the Year in Canada.
I’m so honored to have worked with Mike and to be able to share all of this with you here in the form of top-shelf tools and frameworks, and a modern ‘textbook’. You can take inspiration from it yourself. You can assign it to your students – e.g. to flip the class for better ideas and deeper more meaningful learning experiences. You can use it as the basis of a challenge or competition, and/or for coaching your most promising leaders to a better future. Or, better yet, you can let them at it themselves and get them driving forward while you get out of the way and do your best to support their journeys.
Thank you so very much for being here!
And I’m Mike Le!
I met Alex a bunch of years ago now through one of his past students who was then a business partner of mine. And even though I’d been an entrepreneur several times and coached hundreds of entrepreneurs through my own web marketing company over the years, I knew that Alex was onto something special.
He wasn’t like any teacher I’d ever had. His classes weren’t like the classes I’d disliked so much when I was in school. And his tools were super practical. They really worked.
It was clear from the start that the stuff we’ve now built into The Idea Maker Course was filling an important gap between hunch and implementation.
It was helping people avoid wasting their time and money on the wrong things. It was literally accelerating their experience gaining and boosting their success.
And it’s been such a pleasure applying both my entrepreneurial and web skills to help Alex get this kind of experience to others.
For my part, I knew in my early twenties that I didn’t want to work in the corporate world anymore and wanted to do the things that I was passionate about. As I set out on my own I can tell you that I made more than my share of mistakes on the journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Mistakes that no amount of business models, business plans, or dynamic guest lectures would have helped me avoid. I needed the tools, approaches, and practical real-world embeddedness that we’ve baked into the Idea Maker Course.
I’m truly hoping that what you find on these pages will help you help your students do some great learning and go on to design their best ventures and live their best lives.
Here’s to you teaching a super course!
Adopt the Idea Maker Course
Students use a single code to register themselves, which keeps it super simple for them and for your teaching team. Their access never expires. And it’s managed using the most up to date secure social login technologies available, i.e. so we don’t see or store a password or their personal information beyond a name and email address.
Faculty member access never expires either and opens up six weeks before confirmed adoption by groups of ten or more learners. Same goes for staff in academic centres, incubators, or event teams.
We offer educational bundles. And, on a rolling basis, we run full free trial periods for educators. In 2020 these are currently scheduled for early January and early May.
There are several ways to make it happen:
1. Get your students started right now: Take me to the page on which we can get started ▸
(Or share: https://www.straightupbusiness.institute/courses/idea-maker)
2. Encourage them to purchase it as a bundle: Take me to the standard account / bundle page ▸
(Or share: https://www.straightupbusiness.institute/account)
3. Get in touch with us if you need something different, such as:
- Bundling parts of it for your classroom or online course
- Offering seats through your school or center
- Making it available as an engaging part of a cross-campus initiative, conference, club, or certificate
- Putting it in front of high school students or other prospective learners in your area
- Licensing all or parts for participants of your idea lab or business model competition
- Licensing it for alumni or for industry workshop participants
- Educational pricing
Is your institution going remote for COVID-19?
A few nights ago I got an email from my university asking me to urgently prepare a contingency plan to deliver the rest of the semester remotely.
I have 150 students and I wasn’t feeling very well myself so I had a moment or two of panic. But a day later I had a plan in place and I was able to start them all on a 5-day deep-dive video-based journey into how to pitch their venture ideas so they can get the right feedback, e.g. I sent them this module that uses this framework and has them hearing from experts in the field and leveling up on their own new venture storytelling.
Then my partner Mike and I got to chatting about how our stuff might be able to help others in the same situation. It might only be a small part of the complex issues students and instructors are dealing with right now but we thought it would help if they could do what I was able to do, especially so quickly.
So until June 15 2020 we’re offering our whole Idea Maker Course completely for free to teachers and their students who are impacted by COVID-19.
So if you think any of the content listed here can help you, then please get in touch using the blue button above:
- The whole Idea Maker Course ▸ (a practical levels-based learning journey)
- Level 1: Get your idea out of your head ▸ (uses our Idea Napkin and challenges them on the fundamentals)
- Level 2: Figure out who your customers really are ▸ (includes value proposition design and persona development)
- Level 3: Pitch it right to get the right feedback ▸ (this is the one I mentioned above)
- Level 4: Break it and better it ▸ (as mindset + as an easy but always surprisingly impactful tool to complement to surveys)
- Level 5: Make your quick strategic pivots now – not later ▸ (… for the highly impactful and imminently feasible versions of their ideas)
- Level 6: Validate and assess your idea ▸ (i.e. trust yourself but don’t fool yourself)
- Add-on: 1-3% of that ‘Industry’ is Not
the Size of Your Opportunity! ▸ (and the idea that neither a good idea or a validated persona = a market)
- Our free Creative Commons toolkit ▸
- Videos of how our colleagues have used all of this ▸
I’ll also do my best to reply to you personally with ideas and I can share what I’m working on for assessing my students and taking them through it.
All of that said, I’d also love to hear your ideas and how you’re dealing with the transition. The more we support each other the better.
I wish you and your families well.
Dr. Alex Bruton
Co-founder, Straight Up Business Institute