Welcome! If you’re one of my students then go to the top right side of this page and sign in using the Google Account (associated with a gmail address) that you plan to use throughout this course.

By Alex Bruton, Ph.D.

This page is for a previous offering of this course. The current version is found here »

Activity Schedule

This is our teaching and learning Activity Schedule for the semester. Think of it as the definitive reference for what we’ll be doing / did every day. Collapse / or expand each date range for details. Check it daily to stay current.

And if you need to connect with me or your classmates, here’s the link to our Slack group » (You’ll get set up on this in the assignment I give you for our first week together.)

Jan 8-14: Welcome + getting our feet under us

Welcome! This is our first week together. We’ll be getting to know each other a little, and you’ll learn what the course is all about. There’s nothing formally due for marks yet but don’t miss it – we’ll be covering some pretty important stuff, you’ll have a few “mini badges” to complete to get your feet under you, and we will begin the learning.

DateActivities and topicsThings due or required
Tuesday Jan 9Welcome and introduction (to each other and to the course)-
Thursday Jan 11No class or lab today. Watch this space as I will be posting the mini badges you need to complete by Friday.-
Fri Jan 12Sign in to this web page before the deadline today (top right side of the page) and fill in the form at the top. This will let me know what gmail account you’ll be using so that I can upgrade your account and set some stuff up for you.Due by 5 pm today
Sun Jan 14Complete the following mini-badges before Sunday at midnight:
  • Mini Badge 1: Getting set up on Google Drive
  • Mini Badge 2: Getting set up on Slack
These will go live on Saturday at 10 am for those who met the Friday deadline. They’ll be linked from here:
Both are due by midnight tonight

Jan 15-21: Basic training and key concepts

Welcome back! It’s our second week together and we have two goals: 1) To get to know each other better; and 2) To do some basic training and learn some key concepts you’ll require to do well at the Venture Design Studio. Buckle up – things are going to start moving!

DateActivities and topicsThings due or required
Tue Jan 16 amIn today’s class you will Challenge the Minefield, with the goal of getting to know each other better. Details will be announced in class. We’ll also spend a bit of time reviewing the course outline in case you have any questions.
Thu Jan 18 amThere will be no class this morning. Instead we’ll meet during the lab period this afternoon.
Thu Jan 18 pmToday we will set the stage for the upcoming Venture Design Studio by:
  • Doing a few activities together, including Who’s in the room?, which is part ice breaker, part creativity warm-up, and part introduction to ideation
  • Playing the Idea Maker Game - a high-paced design thinking based ideation game - which I challenge you to try and win, but which is really a fun way to give you the basic training you’ll need on how to use the tools in your Idea Design Kit as part of the upcoming Venture Design Studio project
I will also give you your first assignment.
There’s nothing due coming into this class but you should purchase your Idea Design Kit before today. See D2L for details.
Sun Jan 21In class I handed out an ideastorming assignment where you needed to come up with 25 ideas before our next class. Complete this mini badge by Sunday at midnight:
  • Mini Badge 3: Confirming You Did the Ideastorming Mission
This and some background on ideastorming are accessed here:
Earn Mini Badge 3 by midnight tonight. Be sure to also bring your full assignment with you to our next class.

Jan 22-28: Setting the stage for the Venture Design Studio (VDS)

DateActivities and topicsThings due or required
Tue Jan 23 am
  • We’ll start today by doing Quiz 1
  • Next we’re going to build on the introductory work we began last time with our warm up exercises, through which we introduced the basic notion of ideation
  • Then we’ll do some activities, including the $40 Challenge
  • Then there will be some time toward the end of class for people to ask me any questions they might have, e.g. about the course website, the Mini Badges, or other things you might want to discuss
Quiz 1, as announced in class last week. You can review what we learned about using the Idea Design Kit here » You should also bring your ideastorming assignment with you to class.
Thu Jan 25 amThere will be no class this morning. Instead we’ll meet during the lab period this afternoon.
Thu Jan 25 pmThis afternoon, we’ll use the individual ideastorming assignment you did over the last week to seed some group ideation work - I want you to go through and evaluate the basics of this kind of work before we dive into the Venture Design Studio. I also want you to use the time to get to know each other better.
Homework
  1. Do the second ideastorming assignment. I’ll send this to you via D2L.
  2. Complete the Picking a Darn Good Team form before next class. This will have been handed out in class.
  3. Register for the Idea Maker Course by 3 pm on Tuesday (see D2L for details and for your class code)
There’s nothing to hand in before next week (no new Mini Badges). Just be sure to bring your homework back with you to class next time.

Jan 29 - Feb 4: Level 1 of the VDS

DateActivities and topicsThings due or required
Tue Jan 30 amNo class today. Use the time to work on your Picking a Darn Good Team form and to do your second ideastorming assignment. And be sure you register for the Idea Maker Course by 3 pm today.
Thu Feb 1 am
  • We’ll start today with Quiz 2, and I will return and discuss Quiz 1
  • And I will introduce the Venture Design Studio (VDS) to you in some detail, answering questions about the goals of the project, what to expect, and how you will be assessed
Quiz 2, as announced in class last week + bring your second ideastorming assignment and your Picking a Darn Good Team form to class
Thu Feb 1 pm
  • I’ll facilitate, but you’ll get to use most of this period to form teams and start working on Level 1 of the VDS
  • We’ll also discuss what’s due and expected in this first iteration
HomeworkBy Friday at noon:
  1. Be sure to have done the setup and welcome topic for the Idea Maker Course, so everything can be set up for you (see D2L for details)
  2. Let me know your team name and members, and email me your completed Unanimous Team Members’ Agreement (I’ll use this to set up a team folder for you on Google Drive, and get a team Idea Page issued to you)
Before the end of class next Thursday morning submit the following to your team folder on Google Drive:
  1. One Idea Napkin » for your team’s best idea
  2. The link to an Idea Page for the same idea - do this by completing Day 1 and Day 2 of the Idea Maker Course » using one of your team member’s Idea Pages, and then adding the URL for your Idea Page to your Idea Napkin so I can find it
  3. A photo or sketch of a pretotype of your offering
At the start of next Thursday afternoon’s class be prepared to:
  • Deliver your 90 second pitch for assessment and feedback from a panel of guests
  • Show your pretotype as part of your pitch

Feb 5-11: Level 2 of the VDS

The task this week is to try and beat Level 1 of the VDS (‘level up’ to Level 2). After that I’ll set the stage for Level 2 so you can take it on over the next week.

DateActivities and topicsThings due or required
Tue Feb 6 amThis will be a jam session (work period). Some of these are facilitated and others are open work time. Details TBA closer to the time.
Thu Feb 8 amNo class this morning. The time is yours to work as a team.Your Level 1 models are due at the end of this class period (see the homework from last week)
Thu Feb 8 pm
  • In the first hour of this afternoon, we will have a guest panel and you’ll do your pitches for Level 1 of the Venture Design Studio.
  • In the second hour, I’ll introduce Level 2 and the material that will be covered next week on Quiz 3.
Level 1 pitch in class
Individual homeworkBefore next Tuesday at noon:
  1. Complete your look-back learning reflection for Level 1 (I sent the link to this via D2L)
Team homeworkBefore the end of next Thursday morning’s class submit the following to your team folder on Google Drive:
  1. One updated Idea Napkin » for your team’s best idea - by updating the same Google Drive document as last time
  2. One or more Value Proposition Wheel(s) » for the context of your team’s updated idea - you should use the Google Drive template for this, and it will be covered in class and in Day 3 of the Idea Maker Course »
  3. The link to the updated Idea Page » for the idea - do this by completing Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 of the Idea Maker Course » using one the same Idea Page as last week (and being sure the URL for your Idea Page is your Idea Napkin so we can all find it)
  4. A photo or sketch of the pretotype of your offering
At the start of next Thursday afternoon’s class be prepared to:
  • Deliver a 120 second version of your pitch for assessment and feedback from a panel of guests
  • Show your pretotype as part of your pitch

Feb 12-18: Level 3 of the VDS

The task this week is to try and beat Level 2 of the VDS (‘level up’ to Level 3). After that I’ll set the stage for Level 3 so you can take it on over the next week.

DateActivities and topicsThings due or required
Tue Feb 13 amThis will be a jam session (work period). Some of these are facilitated and others are open work time. Details TBA in class. We will start with Quiz 3.Quiz 3 will take place at the start of class today. Also see the individual homework assigned last week for today.
Thu Feb 15 amThere will be no class this morning. You should use the time to prepare for the pitch this afternoon and finalize your submissions which are due at the end of the period.See the team homework assigned last week for today.
Thu Feb 15 pmVenture Design Studio Level 2 pitches takes place this afternoon. And we’ll launch Level 3.
Individual homeworkBefore Sunday at 5 pm:
  • I will provide a link to the look-back learning reflection due for Level 2
Team homeworkBefore the start of our morning class on Tuesday Feb 27 submit the following to your team folder on Google Drive:
  1. One updated Idea Napkin » for your team’s best idea - by updating the same Google Drive document as last time
  2. One or more updated Value Proposition Wheel(s) » for the context of your team’s updated idea - you should use the Google Drive template for this, and it will be covered in class and in Day 3 of the Idea Maker Course »
  3. One for the context of your team’s updated idea - you should use the Google Drive template for this, and it will be covered in class and in Day 3 of the Customer and Market Worksheet »
  4. At least five Break It and Better It » forms
  5. The link to the updated Idea Page » for the idea - do this by completing Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4 of the Idea Maker Course » using one the same Idea Page as last week (and being sure the URL for your Idea Page is your Idea Napkin so we can all find it)
  6. A photo or sketch of the pretotype of your offering
At the start of our afternoon class on Thursday Mar 1 be prepared to:
  • Deliver a 150 second version of your pitch for assessment and feedback - we won’t have guests this time but we will be doing a pitch workshop for which this preparation is important
  • Show your pretotype as part of your pitch

Feb 19-25: Mid-term break

DateActivities and topicsThings due or required
Tue and ThuNo class due to mid-term break week. Use the time to work on Level 3 of the VDS. I will also send you information about your un-exam so you can start on that.
HomeworkSee the homework assigned last week.

Feb 26 - Mar 4: Level 4 of the VDS

Your Level 3 models and prototypes are due this week, but we’re going to take a break from the regular pitching cycle to do a pitch workshop – to look at how we might better go about telling the story of your venture. That said, I will set the stage for Level 4 so you can prepare to tackle it and Level 3 together next time.

DateActivities and topicsThings due or required
Tue Feb 27 amThere will be no formal pitch this week so we’ll use some of the time today to check in with each other on the Venture Design Studio project, e.g.:
  • How’s it going? What’s required when? My expectations? Your questions? Anything you need to know
I’ll also:
  • Launch Level 4 of the VDS and provide a framework for thinking about the project at this stage
  • Discuss my ideas about the Un-Exam - your final project - to get your feedback before I assign it
Thu Mar 1 amNo class this morning. Use the time to finish your deliverables for Level 3.Your Level 3 models and evidence are due at the end of this period.
Thu Mar 1 pmToday we will start with a quick quiz on the topics we saw last time:
  • Ensuring you’re creating value: Testing your opportunity using the value proposition
  • Everyone is not your customer: Getting from target personas to target markets
Then we will do a pitch workshop, so be sure to have your pitch ready
Quiz 4 will take place in class today + have your pitch ready for the workshop
Individual homeworkBefore Friday Feb 16 at 5 pm:
  • Complete the look-back learning reflection for Level 3 (link to be sent to the email you used for it last time)
Team homeworkBefore the end of next Thursday morning’s class submit the following to your team folder on Google Drive (for deliverables marked with a *, use the same Google Docs file as in previous weeks so we can track the changes):
  1. One updated Idea Napkin » for your team’s best idea *
  2. One or more updated Value Proposition Wheel(s) » for the context of your team’s idea *
  3. One updated  Customer and Market Worksheet » *
  4. At least five more Break It and Better It » forms (meaning you should now have a total of ten)
  5. The link to the updated Idea Page » for your idea - use the same Idea Page as in previous weeks and make sure the URL for your Idea Page is your Idea Napkin so we can all find it
  6. A photo or sketch of the pretotype of your offering (with a note to how this is different from the earlier pretendotype)
At the start of next Thursday afternoon’s class be prepared to:
  • Deliver a 150 second version of your pitch for assessment and feedback - we will have guests again this time
  • Show your pretotype as part of your pitch

Mar 5-11: Level 5 of the VDS

The task this week is to try and beat Levels 3 and 4 of the VDS (‘level up’ to Level 5). After that I’ll set the stage for Level 5 so you can take it on over the next week.

DateActivities and topicsThings due or required
Tue Mar 6 amWe will do the second half of the pitch workshop this morning.Prepare the first 40 seconds of your pitch: The personal bubble and heart sections
Thu Mar 8 amNo class this morning. Your Level 4 models and evidence are due at the end of this period.For details, see the homework assigned last week
Thu Mar 8 pmVenture Design Studio Level 3/4 pitches takes place this afternoon for a panel of guests. After that we’ll do Quiz 5 and launch Level 5.For details, see the homework assigned last week. We’ll do Quiz 5 after the pitches.
Individual homeworkBefore Sunday Mar 11 at 5 pm:
  • Complete the look-back learning reflection for Level 4 (link to be sent to the email you used for it last time)
Team homeworkAt the start of class on March 15 be prepared to:
  • Deliver a 180 second (3 minute) version of your pitch for assessment and feedback - we will have guests again this time and this is the pitch that counts toward your final grade
  • Show your pretotype as part of your pitch
  • Include an "ask" to get you to the key milestones - I will discuss this in class
Before Friday March 16 at 5 pm submit the following to your team folder on Google Drive (for deliverables marked with a *, use the same Google Docs file as in previous weeks so we can track the changes). These are the models that count toward your final grade:
  1. One updated Idea Napkin » for your team’s best idea *
  2. One or more updated Value Proposition Wheel(s) » for the context of your team’s idea *
  3. One updated  Customer and Market Worksheet » *
  4. At least five more Break It and Better It » forms (meaning you should now have a total of fifteen)
  5. The link to the updated Idea Page » for your idea - use the same Idea Page as in previous weeks and make sure the URL for your Idea Page is your Idea Napkin so we can all find it
  6. A photo or sketch of the pretotype of your offering (with a note to how this is different from the earlier pretendotype)

Mar 12-18: VDS final pitch and Finale

The task this week is to try and beat the last level of the VDS – in doing so, you’ll be attempting to demonstrate mastery of all five levels! And that’ll be followed by our Finale in which our top two teams will compete against the finalists from my other class!

DateActivities and topicsThings due or required
Tue Mar 13 amThis will be a jam session (work period). I will be in class and will work with teams on a first-booked, first-served basis.
Thu Mar 15 amNo class this morning. Use this time to do final preparations.
Thu Mar 15 pmLevel 5 VDS pitches take place this afternoon, and all final submissions are due. These are the ones that count toward your final grade.
Thu Mar 15, 5-6:30 pmThe Venture Design Studio Finale takes place tonight at 5:00 pm - the top ventures from our class will be competing against those from my other class. This is a required event and takes place outside of regular class time.Takes place in the Hunter Hub Collision Space beside the bookstore in Mac Hall
Team homeworkAt the start of class on March 15 be prepared to:
  • Deliver a 180 second (3 minute) version of your pitch for assessment and feedback - we will have guests again this time and this is the pitch that counts toward your final grade
  • Show your pretotype as part of your pitch
  • Include an "ask" to get you to the key milestones - I will discuss this in class
Before Friday March 16 at 5 pm Before Sunday March 18 at midnight submit the following to your team folder on Google Drive (for deliverables marked with a *, use the same Google Docs file as in previous weeks so we can track the changes). These are the models that count toward your final grade:
  1. One updated Idea Napkin » for your team’s best idea *
  2. One or more updated Value Proposition Wheel(s) » for the context of your team’s idea *
  3. One updated  Customer and Market Worksheet » *
  4. At least five more Break It and Better It » forms (meaning you should now have a total of fifteen)
  5. The link to the updated Idea Page » for your idea - use the same Idea Page as in previous weeks and make sure the URL for your Idea Page is your Idea Napkin so we can all find it
  6. A photo or sketch of the pretotype of your offering (with a note to how this is different from the earlier pretendotype)
Individual homeworkBefore Sunday Mar 18 at 5 pm:
  • Complete the look-back learning reflection for Level 5 (link to be sent to the email you used for it last time)
Team homework

(Optional but strongly encouraged:) Before Monday March 19 at 5 pm:

  • By this time, you are welcome to submit your own assessment / grade for the venture design studio models that you submitted on March 14. I will send the link for doing this via D2L. You will get the grade you give yourself on this as long as you justify it.

Mar 19-25: Innovation Framework project

This week we will look back together at the Venture Design Studio project, and begin our Innovation Framework project.

DateActivities and topicsThings due or required
Tue amNo class today.
Thu amThis morning:
  • We will debrief the Venture Design Studio project
  • I will hand back quizzes 2 and 5
  • I will introduce the Un-exam, details about which can be found on D2L
Thu pmThis afternoon we will begin the Innovation Framework project with an activity about the differences between discovery, invention, innovation, and creativity. This will include an activity that will form the basis of the first part of our assessment (think of this as the first quiz for this project).
HomeworkReview what we did Thursday afternoon in preparation for the first quiz in this project, and review the associated paper found on D2L.

Mar 26 - Apr 1: Innovation Framework project

Activities TBA related to the Innovation Framework project.

DateActivities and topicsThings due or required
Tue Mar 27 amNo class today.
Thu Mar 29 amWe will begin this morning’s class with Innovation Quiz 1. Then we will continue with the Innovation Framework project by starting our discussion-based lectures on Understanding Innovation: A Practical Framework. See the handout (also on D2L) about the "Perfect Set of Lectures Notes" assignment for Innovation Quiz 2.Innovation Quiz 1 based on last Thursday afternoon’s class and the reading on D2L.
Thu Mar 29 pmThis afternoon we will continue with the Innovation Framework project.
HomeworkOngoing work on Innovation Quiz 2 and the Un-exam.

Apr 2-8: Innovation Framework project

Activities TBA related to the Innovation Framework project.

DateActivities and topicsThings due or required
Tue Apr 3 amNo class today.
Thu Apr 5 amWe will begin this morning’s class with Innovation Quiz 2. We will continue with our discussion-based lectures on Understanding Innovation: A Practical Framework.
Thu Apr 5 pmThis afternoon we will continue with our discussion-based lectures on Understanding Innovation: A Practical Framework..
HomeworkOngoing work on Innovation Quiz 2 and the Un-exam.

Apr 9-15: Innovation Framework project, our last class, and end of term

DateActivities and topicsThings due or required
Tue Apr 10 amThis is our last class together. Your Innovation Quiz 2 is due, and you will write Innovation Quiz 3 in class. We will also wrap up the course today.Innovation Quiz 2 is due at the start of class today, and Innovation Quiz 3 will take place in class.
Thu Apr 12 amNo class today. Use the time to work on your Un-exam
Thu Apr 12 pmNo class today. Use the time to work on your Un-exam
Sat Apr 14Your Un-exam is due today at midnight

At a glance

The table below summarizes the key dates. The Activity Schedule should be consulted for full details. All dates are subject to change and I will discuss with you /  make you aware of any required changes.

DateActivity
Jan 9First day of class!
Jan 12Sign in to this web page and fill in the form at the top before 5 pm
Jan 14Mini Badges 1 and 2 due by midnight tonight
Jan 18You should purchase your Idea Design Kit before today. See D2L for details.
Jan 21Mini Badge 3 is due by midnight tonight
Jan 23Quiz 1 today + ideastorming assignment
Jan 30Register for the Idea Maker Course by 3pm today
Feb 1Quiz 2 today + second ideastorming assignment + Picking a Darn Good Team form
Feb 8Venture Design Studio (VDS) Level 1 pitch + Level 1 models and evidence due
Feb 13Quiz 3 today + individual look-back learning reflection due for Level 1
Feb 15VDS Level 2 pitch + Level 2 models and evidence due
Feb 18Individual look-back learning reflection due for Level 2
Mar 1Quiz 4 + VDS Level 3 models and evidence due (no pitch)
Mar 8VDS Level 3/4 pitch + Level 4 models and evidence due + Quiz 5
Mar 15VDS Level 5 in-class pitch
Mar 15VDS Finale - This takes place outside of class time at 5:00 pm this Thursday evening
Mar 18VDS Level 5 models and evidence due + Final look-back learning reflections due
Mar 19VDS self-assessments due for your models
Mar 29Innovation Quiz 1 in class
Apr 10Innovation Quiz 2 is due at the start of class. You will write Innovation Quiz 3 in class.
Apr 14Un-exam due
TBAOther key info will be posted here as we go …

Coming soon.