Our Roadmap

The Straight Up Business Institute is a pioneer in education for creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. We’re on a mission to offer free practical tools, self-paced mini courses, and engaging work-embedded education – to help you start and lead the change you want to see in the world around you!

What are we doing?

Sharing free, practical, award-winning tools

Our entrepreneurship and innovation tools are designed to help you start and grow pretty much anything. Just click and go! They’re always available completely for free through our Creative Commons license, in both downloadable / printable PDF and Google Docs formats. And many of them in English, French and Spanish.

We’ll be rolling them out starting in the first half of 2017 for people wanting to become more creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial, in areas such as: ideation; idea modeling; customer development; value proposition innovation; business design; product design, design thinking, and deliberate opportunity design.

Building super practical courses

Our courses are exactly what you need to learn, when you need to learn it.

They’re deeply engaging and practical courses focused on what to do, what not to do, and how to make things happen. Expect top quality video tutorials, animated whiteboard videos, cases, and examples that give you the inside scoop and show you how to have a real impact.

Employers, advisors, coaches, and mentors will find courses that are to ideation and innovation what Udacity’s Nanodegrees are to web tech.

And teachers can pick just those that work for their classes, and make it so as easily as dropping the link into their learning management system.

Giving educators a secret weapon

If you’re a teacher, instructor, or professor then then you’ll find that we’re going to great lengths to help you do your job.

Teaching materials, lecture notes, tutorial videos, guidance notes, slides and visuals, and examples are among the resources you’ll find on our site to help you design highly engaging environments in which your students can learn to innovate. Expect clear articulation of the corresponding competencies and learning outcomes, advice from years of experience in the classroom, and approaches to assessing learning that won’t inadvertently kill the learning you’re after.

We’ve set things up like Harvard Business Publishing has for their educator resources: just get registered as an educator (or other person responsible for fostering innovation in a not for profit setting) and as we begin to roll things out in July you’ll get access.

Accelerating Experience Gaining and our WEE Degrees

We’re gearing up to launch a series of WEE Degrees.

The term WEE stands for World or Work Embedded Education – because you’ll be learning by doing things in the world around you, instead of only sitting in a classroom or in front of a computer screen. It’s also a nod to the fact that because of our associated competency models, WEE Degrees provide a quick and verifiable way to gain sophisticated entrepreneurial competencies. You’ll use our tools and courses, you’ll find yourself solving complex problems and accelerating innovation, you’ll be able to earn open badges (a form of sharable certificate), and you’ll have fun in the process.

Check out the video below entitled “Today’s Learning Opportunity” for a look under the hood at our thinking and plans. And learn more here.


What’s the schedule?

Version 0 [released June 29 2016]

In this phase we:

  • Pre-released our web site and technology platform, as well as some sample content, after over a year of building!
  • Invited some close colleagues to provide feedback and “try to break” things – both conceptually and technically

Version 1 [released August 22 2016]

In this phase we:

  • Put out our first stable release of the web site and technology platform
  • Made changes based on feedback received on Version 0

Version 2 [January 10 to April 30 2017]

In this phase:

  • We piloted versions of our Napkin to Revenues WEE Degree to a 60-person pilot group, including the following components:

Version 3 [released July 24 2017]

In this phase we:

  • Piloted our ‘pay what you can’ model with a group of 27 entrepreneurs in Tampa Florida, USA (see Version 4 below for more on this)

Version 4 [released October 20 2017]

In this phase we:

  • Launched our ‘pay what you can’ model through the 1000 Innovation Ninjas initiative, an experimental professional development movement

Please note that this schedule is an approximation of what will be included in the upcoming releases. It’s not set in stone and is subject to change based on feedback we receive throughout the process. You can also see a list of coming topics here »


Why is this so important?

The innovation literacy gap

Alex Bruton's TEDx Talk on Innovation Literacy | Why We Need to Innovate How We Learn to Innovate

Why did an engineering firm perform no better at some basic innovation tasks than a class of grade 6 and 7 students? And what does that have to do with you?

In this surprising and visually engaging TEDx talk, we’re urged to stop competing to spread the Post-It-Notes-on-the-wall-because-they-a­re-cool and the let’s-get-the-keywords-into-the-annual-r­eport notions of innovation. And introduced to a simple, powerful model for innovation literacy and challenged to find the trust in ourselves to make innovation accessible to anyone, anywhere, at any stage of life or career.

Today’s learning opportunity

(On a mobile device you need to begin playing the video before these table of content links work.)

  • 0:03 – Introduction to the opportunity
  • 3:02 – Is the sky really falling in educating for this stuff? And where’s the leading edge?
  • 6:30 – The entrepreneurial learning challenges / opportunities
  • 8:33 – Stepping back for perspective
  • 10:13 – Maybe traditional “entrepreneurship education” ain’t all that (yet)
  • 13:26 – Where the entrepreneurial leaders learn (and don’t)
  • 14:48 – Why we’re not meeting our deepest innovative potential
  • 15:52 – Toward Accelerated Experience-Gaining
  • 18:07 – Making innovation happen through World Embedded Education and WEE Degrees
  • 20:20 – What we’re offering to help
  • 21:19 – Building to our deepest potential

The many tools dilemma

There are so many tools available to entrepreneurs today that it can be overwhelming. The traditional business plan, the idea model, the business model, the lean and business model canvases, lean startup, the minimum viable product, and design thinking are among the great many approaches available to and sometimes hotly debated by experts today, to name just a few examples.

But how do these tools and approaches relate to each other? And what should be used? When? And what works best? And how do we measure success?

The following paper provides a deep dive on our thinking about how to connect the dots between such methods and a pretty detailed glimpse at how you might begin to make sense of it all and design the environments in which innovation can flourish.

Expect this kind of research and rigor to provide a foundation for everything you find on this site, even if you don’t realize it’s there.


Who are we?

The Innographer » is a practical open education and innovation design firm that has been helping people (learn to) innovate since 2011. The focus of its work is on helping people and organizations build their innovation literacy and become more entrepreneurial. It develops and delivers internationally award-winning programs and approaches for innovation, strategic ideation, idea modeling, business design, and other key areas related to innovation and innovator development. The Innographer regularly offers services based on this and other methodologies to businesses and other organizations such as universities and academic entrepreneurship centres.

Its founder, Alex Bruton, has been an engineer, researcher, inventor, product and project manager, innovation manager, and tenured professor (the latter, a role in which he was named “Entrepreneurial Educator of the Year in Canada” in 2012). He’s been the co-founder and lead businessperson for three start-up companies, he is the founder of the Spark School for Innovation by Design, and he has worked and delivered talks around the world, including an invited talk at Google, and engagements and workshops at universities and businesses in places ranging from Mexico, to Mason City, to Moscow.

Emphasize Design » turns websites into lead generating machines. Since 2007, it has provided services in website design and development, lead generation and conversion, and content marketing. This has included search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing, brand reputation management, website design, calls to action, content and whitepaper development, ecommerce, analytics, customer relationship management (CRM), and email marketing. Emphasize Design’s clients have included insurance companies, international real estate companies, home builders, landscaping companies, chiropractic doctors, journalists, environmental companies and many others.

The artist of the group and authority on all things visual, Mike Le takes ideas and inspiration and turns them into beautiful, streamlined, functional websites. Through this and his innovative spirit, he adds value to every product or business he comes across.

Entrepreneur, venture strategist, inbound marketing specialist, and senior firefighter, Joel Fournie’s experience, passion for business, and entrepreneurial leadership capabilities motivate change (not to mention everyone around him).

The story we’re writing – so far!

  • Joel took a university class Alex taught in 2007, and they’ve been friends and colleagues ever since in all things business and otherwise.
  • Joel and Mike have been close friends and have worked together for many years, building and growing some amazing businesses along the way.
  • Joel introduced Mike to Alex.
  • They started this venture because it was the most fun thing they could imagine!

To be continued…


Would you like your very own website like this?