By Alex Bruton, Ph.D.

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Our full activity schedule

Hello! This is our teaching and learning Activity Schedule for the semester. Think of it as the syllabus and the definitive reference for what we’ll be doing / did every day.

You can collapse / or expand each date range below for details. Check it daily to stay current.

Jan 14-20: Welcome + getting our feet under us

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’ll be nothing formally due for marks when you arrive but don’t miss this – we’ll be covering some pretty important stuff and starting to build our class culture. You’ll also have a few “mini badges” to complete this week to get your feet under you, and all of this is the launch of the learning experience we’re going to be going through together.

Lecture periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
Lec - Tue Jan 15There will be no lecture on Tuesday this week. Please attend your own lab session instead of the lectures for a sleeves-rolled-up introduction to the course!
Lec - Thu Jan 17There will be no lecture today either. Same reason.

Lab periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
Your lab session: Part 1Welcome!
  • First thing today, I’ll provide an introduction to the course - to help you get to know me and to help you get to know what to expect in a class like this
  • I’ll also hand out a discussion version of the course outline for you to read so we can discuss it together next time
  • And I’ll give you a heads-up on the Mini-badges you need to complete before next time
Nothing’s due coming into today’s class, but be sure not to miss it - it’s an important introduction to what we’ll be doing this term and I’ll be covering what you need to be doing over the coming week.
Your lab session: Part 2In the second part of today’s lab you will need to Challenge the Minefield, with the goals of: 1) getting to know each other a little better; and 2) working as a class on a common challenge; and 3) introducing us to innovation and entrepreneurship. Details will be announced in class.-

Homework this week

Individual homeworkDo Mini-badge #1 before our next class.

Jan 21-27: Starting your Basic Training

This week will be the start of what I call your ‘Basic Training’ in which we’ll start building some of the fundamental skills in ideation that you’re going to need throughout the course, doing a little team building, and laying the ground work for the second Mini-badge you need to carry out.

Lecture periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
Lec - Tue Jan 22Welcome back!
  • In the first part of today’s class we’ll do a first ideation warm-up activity called Who’s in the Room?. It’s part warm-up, and - importantly - part introduction to ideation. In fact, as simple as this activity may seem in the moment, it’s the first of three mini sessions we’re going to do on what I call the Ideation Fundamentals that will form the basis of your first quiz.
  • Then we’ll briefly discuss the course outline - I’ll invite your input and take your questions about it.
  • We’ll spend the balance of our time setting the stage for something I call Brute Force Ideation, a simple (and as you will see, sometimes flawed) approach to coming up with ideas as a group. This will also set up part of your second mini-badge and, with it, next week’s activities.
Do Mini-badge #1 before today’s class
Lec - Thu Jan 24There will be no lecture today. You should be working on the the Mini-badges that will be assigned to you. Details to follow here and in class.

Lab periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
LabThere will be no lab sessions this week. Be sure to attend the Tuesday lecture and then focus on the mini-badge.

Homework this week

Individual homeworkDo Mini-badge #2 before Jan 27 at midnight

Jan 28 - Feb 3: Ideation Basic Training

This week we’re going to go deeper with the Ideation ‘Basic Training’ I’ve been talking about. Expect to roll up your sleeves and start using some of the key tools and processes for ideation – to help you get better at coming up with really big value ideas. All of this to help you prepare for the Venture Design Studio project that we’ll be starting soon. We’ll also talk more about the team formation process.

Lecture periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
Lec - Tue Jan 29There will be no lecture today. We’ll be back in the labs this week for the Basic Training.
Lec - Thu Jan 31We’ll use this lecture period as an optional drop-in session for anyone with questions or wanting to explore things in more depth.

Lab periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
Lab - Part 1In your lab period this week we’ll being with another warm-up and we’ll revisit the Ideation Fundamentals we saw last time. Then we’re going to do something called ’Brute Force’ ideation - a quick, crude, but full cycle for coming up with ideas. We’ll seed that process using the ideas you came up with during the personal ideastorming assignment in Mini-badge #2.You need to bring your ideastorming work to this workshop, and by Jan 27 should have made a decision about whether you’re making or buying the tools (all of this is part of Mini-badge #2)
Lab - Part 2In the second part of the lab, we’ll reflect on and criticize the earlier process to set the stage for going deeper. We’ll the ’Brute Force’ approach and begin to use the ideation tools in something called the Idea Maker Game. It’s a game, but things will start getting real at this point, as will your abilities.

Homework this week

Individual homeworkMini-badge #3 due at the start of your lab session on Feb 5, 7 or 8

Feb 4-10: Team formation and VDS launch

This week we’ll wrap up the ‘Basic Training’ portion of the course with Quiz 1. I’ll introduce you to the Venture Design Studio. And we’ll launch Iteration 1! Buckle up – things are going to start rolling!

Lecture periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
Lec - Tue Feb 5Today we’ll do our third warm-up to round out our work on the Ideation Fundamentals. This is the last topic to be included in Quiz 1. I’ll also introduce the Venture Design Studio in some detail.
Lec - Thu Feb 7There will be no class today. You can use the time and our lecture room to work on the Venture Design Studio project.

Lab periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
LabQuiz 1 will take place at the start of your lab session this week. This will be followed by team formation and launch of Iteration 1 of the VDS.
  • Complete Mini-badge #3 before this lab period
  • Quiz 1 at the start of class

Homework this week

Team homeworkBefore the start of your lab session next week submit the following to your team folder on Google Drive:
  1. One Idea Napkin » for your team’s best idea, in Google Docs format using the provided template
  2. A photo, sketch, or other representation of your pretendotype (learn what a pretendotype is in this Coffee Jam » and be sure you’re signed in to view this)
  3. Your team’s self-assessment using the Idea Critique Pad as the basis, as outlined here » Good self-assessments also often include a separate document providing justification for the scores given – remember that you get the marks you give yourself here as long as you justify them.
At the start of your lab session next week, be prepared to:
  • Deliver your 90 second pitch for assessment and feedback from a guest entrepreneur (they will be using the criteria and process described here »)
  • Show your pretendotype as part of your pitch
Individual homework
  • Complete Mini-badge #4 (to find your individual and team folders on Google Drive)
  • Complete Level 1 of the Idea Maker Course » (You’ll need to sign in and click on “Unlock now” and then pay the reduced fee for each level as they come out. As we discussed, Straight Up will be returning all of the fees from our class in the form of prizes.)
  • Prepare for Quiz 2 - details of which will be discussed in class and announced via D2L

Feb 11-17: VDS Iteration 1

I will announce and clarify the details of this week’s activities closer to the time …

Lecture periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
Lec - Tue Feb 12This will be a jam session for Iteration 1 of the VDS - time for you to work on the key deliverables. Details TBA in class.You can also complete Mini-badge #4 to be sure you can find your Google Drive folders
Lec - Thu Feb 14
  • Quiz 2 will be handed out at the start of class today
  • For students in B01(Thu) and B02(Tue): This will be followed by another jam session
  • For students in B03(Fri): as announced via D2L: You will pitch today instead of in your lab session
Quiz 2 to be handed out. Students in B03(Fri) to pitch for Iteration 1.

Lab periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
Lab - Part 1Iteration 1 VDS pitches and submissions take place today:
  • Your models are due before class via your team’s Google Drive folder
  • We will have a guest entrepreneur in the room and you’ll do your 90 second pitches for Iteration 1 of the Venture Design Studio (they will be using the criteria and process described here »)
  • You’ll be invited to submit your Investment Notes before being provided with the guests’ scores
  • We’ll debrief and discuss while our guest is still with us
  • Iteration 1 models and self-assessments are due before class (see team homework from last week for full requirements).
  • Iteration 1 pitch takes place in class.
Lab - Part 2Then I’ll launch Iteration 2. See the team homework below.

Homework

Individual homework
  • Complete your look-back learning reflection for Iteration 1 by Sat Feb 16 at noon (link TBA via D2L)
  • Quiz 2 will be assigned as a take-home quiz. It will cover material treated in Iteration 2 of the VDS. Details TBA.
Team homeworkBefore the start of your lab on Feb 26, Feb 28, or Mar 1 submit the following to your team folder on Google Drive:
  1. An updated version of your Idea Napkin » for your team’s best idea, in Google Docs format by updating the document you created in Iteration 1
  2. An updated pretendotype (learn what a pretendotype is in this Coffee Jam » and be sure you’re signed in to view this)
  3. An updated version of your team’s self-assessment using the Idea Critique Pad as the basis, as outlined here »
At the start of start of your lab on Feb 26, Feb 28, or Mar 1, be prepared to:
  • Deliver an updated 90 second pitch for assessment and feedback from our guest entrepreneurs (they will again be using the criteria and process described here »)
  • Show your updated pretendotype as part of your pitch

Feb 18-24: Mid-term break

The mid-term break spans this entire week. You can be working on your VDS venture. And stay tuned for more.

Homework this week

Individual homeworkQuiz 2 is due Feb 24 via D2L dropbox
Team homeworkWork on the Iteration 2 deliverables that were outlined under team homework the week of Feb 11-17

Feb 25 - Mar 3: VDS Iteration 2

This week we will do the first head-to-head and the Iteration 2 pitches. I will also launch Iteration 3.

Lecture periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
Lec - Tue Feb 26Today we’ll have our first Head-to-head competition between the top two ventures from each lab section. We’ll have guest innovators and entrepreneurs in the room to do this assessment and provide their ideas and feedback. All students are required to attend.
Lec - Thu Feb 28Today will be another jam sessionNote Quiz 3 is no longer taking place today.

Lab periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
Lab - Part 1Iteration 2 VDS pitches and submissions take place today:
  • Your updated models are due before class via your team’s Google Drive folder
  • You’ll do your 90 second pitches again (they will be assessed using the criteria and process described here »)
  • You’ll be invited to submit your Investment Notes before being provided with the scores
  • We’ll debrief and discuss together
Iteration 2 models and self-assessments are due before class. See the detailed requirements under team homework the week of Feb 11-17
Lab - Part 2Then I’ll launch Iteration 3.

Homework this week

Individual homeworkYour look-back learning reflections are due by Friday Mar 1 at midnight (link to come to you via email)
Team homeworkBefore the start of your lab session on Mar 5,7, or 8 submit the following to your team folder on Google Drive:
  1. An updated version of your Idea Napkin » for your team’s best idea (which you can learn about in Level 1 of the Idea Maker Course »). Do this in Google Docs format by updating the document you created in Iteration 1.
  2. An updated pretendotype (which you can learn about in this Coffee Jam »)
  3. NEW: At least one Value Proposition Wheel » (which you can learn about in Level 2 of the Idea Maker Course »)
  4. An updated version of your team’s self-assessment using the Idea Critique Pad as the basis, as outlined here »
At the start of class on Mon Mar 5, 7, or 8, be prepared to:
  • Deliver an updated 120-second pitch for assessment and feedback (we will again be using the criteria and process described here »)
  • Show your updated pretendotype as part of your pitch

Mar 4-10: VDS Iteration 3

This is the third iteration of the Venture Design Studio!

Lecture periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
Lec - Tue Mar 5Today we’ll be doing a Pitch Workshop. This will be important for your pitches this week and Quiz 3. (There will be no Head-to-head competition this iteration.)
Lec - Thu Mar 7
  • Today will be an un-facilitated jam session. (Quiz 3 was moved from today to the same time next week.)
  • Representatives of the class will also meet me at 9:30 am for the Quality Circle meeting at which we’ll meet over coffee to discuss the course experience and how I can make it as good as possible for you.
Quiz 3

Lab periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
Lab - Part 1Iteration 3 VDS pitches and submissions take place today:
  • Your updated models are due before class via your team’s Google Drive folder
  • You’ll do your 120 second pitches (again using the criteria and process described here »)
  • You’ll be invited to submit your Investment Notes before being provided with the guests’ scores
  • We’ll debrief and discuss
Iteration 3 models and self-assessments are due before class. See the requirements outlined under team homework the week of Feb 25 - Mar 3.
Lab - Part 2Then I’ll launch Iteration 4.

Homework this week

Individual homeworkYour look-back learning reflections are due by Friday Mar 8 at midnight (link to come to you via email)
Team homeworkBefore the start of your lab session on Mar 12, 14, or 15 submit the following to your team folder on Google Drive:
  1. An updated version of your Idea Napkin » for your team’s best idea (which you can learn about in Level 1 of the Idea Maker Course »). Do this in Google Docs format by updating the document you created in Iteration 1.
  2. A pretotype (which you can learn about in this Coffee Jam ») instead of a pretendotype.
  3. Updated versions of at least one Value Proposition Wheel » (which you can learn about in Level 2 of the Idea Maker Course ») Do this in Google Docs format by updating the document(s) you created in Iteration 3.
  4. NEW: At least one Break It and Better It form » made by each member of your team based on meetings with your real pre-personas.
  5. NEW: One Idea Page » for your team’s best idea. (Directions to follow so let me know which team member will be the author of this page so I can set them up.)
  6. An updated version of your team’s self-assessment using the Idea Critique Pad as the basis, as outlined here »
At the start of your lab session on Mar 12, 14, or 15, be prepared to:
  • Deliver an updated 150-second pitch for assessment and feedback (we will again be using the criteria and process described here »)
    • The first 45 seconds of this pitch must be in the format we saw in the Pitch Workshop and in Level 3 of the Idea Maker Course, i.e. speaking to the Personal Bubble + Hearts parts of the audience member’s anatomy
  • Show your pretotype as part of your pitch

Mar 11-17: VDS Iteration 4

This is Iteration 4 of the Venture Design Studio!

Lecture periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
Lec - Tue Mar 12Today we’ll have our second Head-to-head competition between the top two ventures from each lab section.
Lec - Thu Mar 14Quiz 3 will take place at the start of class today. This will be followed by another jam sessionQuiz 4 Quiz 3 at the start of class

Lab periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
Lab - Part 1Iteration 4 VDS pitches and submissions take place today:
  • Your updated models are due before class via your team’s Google Drive folder
  • You’ll do your 150 second pitches (again using the criteria and process described here »)
  • You’ll be invited to submit your Investment Notes before being provided with the feedback
  • We’ll debrief and discuss
Iteration 4 models and self-assessments are due before class. See the requirements outlined under team homework the week of Mar 4-10.
Lab - Part 2Then I’ll launch Iteration 5.

Homework this week

Individual homeworkYour look-back learning reflections are due by Sunday Mar 17 at midnight (link to come to you via email) - this is moved at the request of the class via the Quality Circle meeting, i.e. so you can have more time with it on the weekend.
Team homeworkBefore the start of the lab session on Mar 19, 21, or 22 submit the following to your team folder on Google Drive:
  1. Updated: Your Idea Napkin » for your team’s best idea (which you can learn about in Level 1 of the Idea Maker Course »). Do this in Google Docs format by updating the document you created in Iteration 1.
  2. Updated: Your pretotype (which you can learn about in this Coffee Jam »)
  3. Updated: Your Value Proposition Wheel(s) » (which you can learn about in Level 2 of the Idea Maker Course ») Do this in Google Docs format by updating the document(s) you created in Iteration 3.
  4. Updated: Your Idea Page » to reflect any changes since it was created, e.g. you might replace the video with your newest pitch video and make any other updates
  5. Updated: Your team’s self-assessment using the Idea Critique Pad as the basis, as outlined here » Good self-assessments also often include a separate document providing justification for the scores given – remember that you get the marks you give yourself as long as you justify them.
  6. NEW: At least one more Break It and Better It form » by each member of your team based on meetings with your real pre-personas. This means there should be at least two Break It and Better It forms in your folder per team member: one based on the ‘pitching for feedback’ approach and one based on the ‘Taking yourself and your solution out of the equation’ approach, both described in Level 4 of the Idea Maker Course »
  7. NEW: An estimate of your reachable market for some key / meaningful milestone in the future of your venture, as outlined in the add-on for the Idea Maker Course » entitled “No, 1-3% of that industry is not the size of your opportunity”. Use the provided worksheet for the online submission and include the result in your pitch.
  8. Recommended: Make an ask of some kind in your pitch to support you getting to that meaningful milestone. I will discuss this in class when launching Iteration 5.
  9. NEW: Every person in class needs to provide feedback at the bottom of at least two Idea Pages for teams not in their own section. These will be sent by email.
At the start of the lab session on Mar 19, 21, or 22, be prepared to:
  • Deliver an updated 180-second pitch for assessment and feedback (we will again be using the criteria and process described here »)
  • Show your pretotype as part of your pitch

Mar 18-24: VDS Iteration 5

I will announce and clarify the details of this week’s activities closer to the time …

Lecture periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
Lec - Tue Mar 19Today we’ll have our third Head-to-head competition between the top two ventures from each lab section.
Lec - Thu Mar 21This will be a final jam session

Lab periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
LabIteration 5 pitches will take place in class. This is the final in-class pitch upon which your mark will based and the one from which your section’s representatives will be chosen for the finale.
  • Your updated models are due before class via your team’s Google Drive folder
  • You’ll do your 180 second pitches (again to be assessed using the criteria and process described here »)
  • You’ll be invited to submit your last set of Investment Notes before the winners are announced
  • We’ll debrief and discuss
Iteration 5 models and self-assessments are due before class. These are the final models and pitches on which your mark will be based. See the requirements outlined under team homework the week of Mar 11-17.

Homework this week

Individual homeworkTBA
Team homeworkTBA

Mar 25-31: VDS Finale + Understanding Innovation Framework

This is the last week of the Venture Design Studio, in which we’ll see the pitch finale take place between in front of four judges and in which we’ll have our last quiz. In the labs we’ll also being our final topic on the Understanding Innovation Framework.

Lecture periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
Lec - Tue Mar 26The Venture Design Studio finale will take place today.
Lec - Thu Mar 28Quiz 4 will take place at the start of class today.Quiz 4

Lab periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
LabIn the labs this week we’ll debrief the Venture Design Studio and begin the Understanding Innovation Framework. I’ll outline what’s due and how you’ll be assessed on the latter.

Homework this week

Individual homeworkYou can be working on your Un-exam and your "Perfect set of lecture notes" assignment for the Innovation Framework. Both are due April 14.

Apr 1-7: Understanding Innovation Framework

Last week we celebrated the winners of the pitch portion of the VDS. This week we will take time to celebrate the other winners. And we’ll continue our work on the Understanding Innovation Framework.

Lecture periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
Lec - Tue Apr 2Today we’ll announce the winners of:
  • The top venture via the team’s self-assessments
  • The most insightful and meaningful look-back learning reflections
And we’ll have a lecture as part of the Innovation Framework project.
Lec - Thu Apr 4No lecture today. Use the time to work on your Un-exam.

Lab periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
LabIn the lab period this week we will continue our work on the Understanding Innovation Framework.

Homework this week

Individual homeworkYou can be working on your Un-exam and your "Perfect set of lecture notes" assignment for the Innovation Framework. Both are due April 14.

Apr 8-14: Understanding Innovation Framework + Un-exam

I will announce and clarify the details of this week’s activities closer to the time …

Lecture periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
Lec - Tue Apr 9 and Thu Apr 11There will be no lectures this week. Use the time to work on your Un-exam and your "Perfect set of lecture notes" for the Understanding Innovation Framework.
Apr 14
  • The Un-exam will be available to you to work on throughout the last third of the semester, but it is due today at midnight.
  • The "Perfect set of lecture notes" assignment is due at that time too for the Understanding Innovation Framework portion of the course
  • Un-exam due
  • "Perfect set of lecture notes" due

Lab periods this week

DayActivities and topicsThings due or required
LabIn the lab period this week we will close out our work on the Understanding Innovation Framework. (And this will be our last lab session!)

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 14-18First day of class. Attend your own lab session. (No lectures this week.)
Jan 22Mini-badge #1 due
Jan 27Mini-badge #2 due at midnight
Feb 5, 7, or 8Mini-badge #3 due at the start of your lab session
Feb 5, 7, or 8Quiz 1 will be at the start of your own lab period
Feb 11Mini-badge #4 handed out
Feb 12, 14, or 15Venture Design Studio (VDS) Iteration 1 deliverables due
Feb 14Quiz 2 to be handed out (it is now a take-home quiz)
Feb 16Look-back learning reflection due for Iteration 1 of the VDS
Feb 24Quiz 2 due via D2L dropbox
Feb 26VDS Head-to-Head
Feb 26, 28, or Mar 1VDS Iteration 2 deliverables due
Mar 1Look-back learning reflection due for Iteration 2 of the VDS
Mar 5Pitch workshop
Mar 5, 7, or 8VDS Iteration 3 deliverables due
Mar 7Quiz 3
Mar 8Look-back learning reflection due for Iteration 3 of the VDS
Mar 12VDS Head-to-Head
Mar 12, 14, or 15VDS Iteration 4 deliverables due
Mar 14Quiz 4 Quiz 3 (moved to today from Mar 7)
Mar 17Look-back learning reflection due for Iteration 4 of the VDS
Mar 19VDS Head-to-Head
Mar 19, 21, or 22VDS in-class finals (final VDS deliverables due):
  • This pitch and the submissions to your folder are the ones that count toward your final mark
  • The class session is also where we will pick the teams that will advance to the Finale
Mar 26VDS Finale - This is where we will crown our overall winners
Mar 28Quiz 4 (moved to today from Mar 14)
Apr 14"Perfect set of lecture notes" assignment due for Understanding Innovation Framework
Apr 14Un-exam due

Other details will be posted here as required.