By Alex Bruton, Ph.D.

Our full activity schedule

Hello! 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.

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 day 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, you’ll have a few “mini badges” to complete to get your feet under you, and we will begin the learning experience for real.

Date / timeActivities and topicsThings due or required
Mon: 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.
Mon: Part 2In the second part of today’s class 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.-
WedThere will be no lab this Wednesday. Stay tuned for and start working on the Mini-badges for next week.
Individual homeworkDo Mini-badge #1 before our next class.

Jan 21-27: Starting your basic training

Welcome back! You should have your first mini-badge under your belt by now. And you should be ready to begin a phase of the course I call Basic Training.

Date / timeActivities and topicsThings due or required
Mon: Part 1Welcome 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.
You should be finished Mini-badge #1 before class today.
Mon: Part 2In the second part of today’s class we’re going to begin 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.-
WedThere will be no lab this Wednesday. Stay tuned for and start working on the second Mini-badge.
Individual homeworkDo Mini-badge #2 before Jan 27 at midnight

Jan 27 - 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.

Date / timeActivities and topicsThings due or required
Mon: Part 1Last time we did some ’Brute Force’ ideation - a quick, crude, but full cycle in coming up with ideas. This week, after our warm-up and revisiting the Ideation Fundamentals, we’re going to start by going a little deeper with that process using the ideas you came up with during the personal ideastorming assignment in Mini-badge #2. We’ll also criticize that process itself to set the stage for the second half of the session where you’ll begin to practice the skills to be more sophisticated in your idea generation.You need to bring your ideastorming work to class, 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)
Mon: Part 2In the second part of today’s class we’re going to go beyond ’Brute Force’ approaches. We’ll 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.-
WedWe may use the Wednesday evening class - we’ll discuss this in class on Monday.
Individual homeworkMini-badge #3 due before class on Feb 4

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!

Date / timeActivities and topicsThings due or required
Mon Feb 4Today 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. We’ll also go through some exercises to help you form teams for the Venture Design Studio.Mini-badge #3 should be done before class today
Wed Feb 6Quiz 1 will take place at the start of class today. I’ll also launch and discuss the Venture Design Studio and introduce the first iteration!
Team homeworkBefore the start of class on Wed Feb 13 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

This week is the first iteration of the Venture Design Studio.

Date / timeActivities and topicsThings due or required
Mon Feb 11
  • Today’s class will be a jam session for Iteration 1 of the VDS - time for you to work together on the deliverables. Details TBA in class.
  • Quiz 2 will take place at the start of class today. Quiz 2 will also be provided to you today as a take-home quiz due on Wednesday. It will cover the material treated in Iteration 1 of the VDS, as we will discuss in class. I’ll also provide guidance by email and D2L to help you be efficient in your studying.
Do Mini-badge #4 this week to find your folders on Google Drive
Wed Feb 13Iteration 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
I will also launch Iteration 2 of the VDS
  • Iteration 1 models and self-assessments are due before class (see team homework from last week for full requirements).
  • Quiz 2 is due at the start of class
  • Iteration 1 pitch takes place in class.
Individual homework
  • Complete your look-back learning reflection for Iteration 1 by Sat Feb 16 at noon (link TBA via D2L)
  • Quiz 3 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 class on Mon Feb 25 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 class on Mon Feb 25, be prepared to:
  • Deliver an updated 90 second pitch for assessment and feedback from a guest entrepreneur (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.

Date / timeActivities and topicsThings due or required
Sun Feb 24Quiz 2 due at midnight. This is a take home quiz to be handed in via D2L dropbox.Quiz 2

Feb 25 - Mar 3: VDS Iteration 2

This week is Iteration 2 of the Venture Design Studio!

Date / timeActivities and topicsThings due or required
Mon Feb 25: Part 1Iteration 2 VDS pitches and submissions take place today:
  • Your updated models are due before class via your team’s Google Drive folder
  • We will have guest entrepreneurs in the room and you’ll do your 90 second pitches again (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 guests are still with us
Iteration 2 models and self-assessments are due before class. See the requirements outlined under team homework the week of Feb 11-17.
Mon Feb 25: Part 2I’ll also launch Iteration 3 and you can begin working on it with the rest of the time.
Wed Feb 27This class will be a jam session to prepare for next week’s pitches. Quiz 3 will no longer be in class today. It’s now a take-home due Mar 1 at midnight. It will cover the material treated in Level 2 of the Idea Maker Course, as we will discuss in class.
  • Quiz 3
  • Look-back learning reflection for Iteration 2 is due by midnight tonight
Individual homework
  • Your look-back learning reflections are due by Wednesday Feb 27 at midnight (link to come to you via email)
  • Quiz 3 is due at midnight on Friday March 1 via D2L
Team homeworkBefore the start of class on Mon Mar 4 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 4, 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 week is Iteration 3 of the Venture Design Studio!

Date / timeActivities and topicsThings due or required
Mon Mar 4: 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 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 4.
Mon Mar 4: Part 2I’ll also launch Iteration 4 and do a Pitch Workshop to introduce the pitch framework we’re going to use in Iteration 4 and for Quiz 4.
Wed Mar 6
  • This class will be a follow up to the Pitch Workshop to help you improve your ideas and bring your pitching up a level.
  • Quiz 4 will no longer be in class today. It’s now a take-home due Mar 10 at midnight. It will cover the material treated in Monday’s workshop (and reinforced in Level 3 of the Idea Maker Course), as we will discuss in class.
  • Tentative: Toward the end of class I’d also like to have a Quality Circle meeting at which some of you will represent the class in a discussion over coffee about the course experience and how I can make it as good as possible for you.
Quiz 4
Individual homework
  • Your look-back learning reflections are due by Wednesday Mar 6 at midnight (link to come to you via email)
  • Quiz 4 is due at midnight on Sunday March 10 via D2L
Team homeworkBefore the start of class on Mon Mar 11 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 class on Mon Mar 11, 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!

Date / timeActivities and topicsThings due or required
Mon Mar 11: Part 1Iteration 4 VDS pitches and submissions take place today:
  • Your updated models are due before class via your team’s Google Drive folder
  • We will have guest entrepreneurs in the room and you’ll do your 150 second pitches again (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 guests are still with us
Iteration 4 models and self-assessments are due before class. See the requirements outlined under team homework the week of Mar 4-10.
Mon Mar 11: Part 2I’ll also launch Iteration 5 and you can begin working on it with the rest of the time. I will also introduce some of the material you’ll need for this from the Idea Maker Course. Details TBA in class.
Wed Mar 13This class will be a jam session for Iteration 5.
Individual homeworkYour look-back learning reflections are due by Sunday Mar 17 at midnight (link to come to you via email) - this is moved from mid-week 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 class on Wed Mar 20 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 other than their own. Links to these will be sent by email.
At the start of class on Wed Mar 20, 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 and Finale

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

Date / timeActivities and topicsThings due or required
Mon Mar 18This class will be a jam session for Iteration 5. Details TBA in class.
Wed Mar 20Iteration 5 pitches will take place in class. This is the final in-class pitch upon which your mark will based. It’s also the one from which the overall "most valuable venture" will be chosen.Iteration 5 models and self-assessments are due before class. These are the final models on which your mark for the VDS will be based.
Individual homeworkYour look-back learning reflections are due by Sunday Mar 24 at midnight (link to come to you via email) - this is moved from mid-week at the request of the class via the Quality Circle meeting, i.e. so you can have more time with it on the weekend.

Mar 25-31: Inspired You Project

This is where we transition to a project about values-based leadership called The Inspired You. It has four parts, as you’ll see in class, that are spread across our final few weeks together.

Date / timeActivities and topicsThings due or required
Mon Mar 25Today we’re going to:
  • Debrief the Venture Design Studio project and announce the winner of the prize for the most meaningful look-back learning reflection
  • Launch the Inspired You Project:
    • Introduction to the project, the four parts, and how it’ll be marked
    • Introduction to Part 1: The Catalysts
    • Introduction to Part 2: The ’Who the Heck are You?’ worksheets
    • Introduction to Part 3: The ’Discover WHO’ story
Wed Mar 27No class tonight. Use the time to work on the project. Be sure to have your Part 3 story in your folder and ready to roll next Monday.
Individual homework
  • Your story for Part 3 is due Monday Apr 1
  • You can also be working on the catalyst summaries for Part 1 and the worksheets for Part 2 - these are due Apr 8

Apr 1-7: Inspired You Project

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

Date / timeActivities and topicsThings due or required
MonToday we’ll continue with the Inspired You project. Attendance and participation is required. I’ll also hand out and discuss Part 4 of the project.Part 3 stories are due in your individual work folder on Google Drive and to be performed in class
WedNo class tonight. Use the time to work on the project. Be sure to have your Part 4 story in your folder and ready to roll next Monday, as well as the other deliverables.
Individual homework
  • Your story for Part 4 is due Monday Apr 8
  • You can also be working on the catalyst summaries for Part 1 and the worksheets for Part 2 - these are also due Apr 8

Apr 8-14: Inspired You Project and Un-exam

This is our last week. We’ll wrap up the Inspired You Project and the whole course!

Date / timeActivities and topicsThings due or required
Mon Apr 8This will be our last class together! We’ll continue with the Inspired You project:
  • Attendance and participation is required for performances of the Part 4 stories
  • I’ll collect the Part 2 worksheets, paper copies of which need to be handed in to me (you can keep the originals if you wish, but I want paper copies handed to me in person)
  • Part 1 catalyst summaries are due in your individual work folder on Google Drive before class
  • Part 2 worksheets are due in class in printed form
  • Part 4 stories are due in your folder and to be performed in class
Wed Apr 10No class today. Use the time to work on your Un-exam which is due Sunday.
Sun Apr 14The Un-exam will be available to you to work on throughout the last part of the semester, but it is due today at midnight.Un-exam due

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 14First day of class!
Jan 21Mini-badge #1 due at midnight
Jan 27Mini-badge #2 due at midnight
Feb 4Mini-badge #3 due before class
Feb 6Quiz 1 and launch of the Venture Design Studio
Feb 11Quiz 2 moved and Mini-badge #4 handed out
Feb 13
  • Quiz 2 due (it’s now a take-home quiz)
  • Venture Design Studio (VDS) Iteration 1 pitch and deliverables due
Feb 16Look-back learning reflection due for Iteration 1 of the VDS
Feb 24Quiz 2 (this is a take-home over the mid-term break and handed in via D2L)
Feb 25Venture Design Studio (VDS) Iteration 2 pitch and deliverables due
Feb 27Look-back learning reflection due for Iteration 2 of the VDS
Feb 27
Mar 1
Quiz 3 due at midnight
Mar 4Venture Design Studio (VDS) Iteration 3 pitch and deliverables due
Mar 6Look-back learning reflection due for Iteration 3 of the VDS
Mar 6
Mar 10
Quiz 4 due at midnight
Mar 11Venture Design Studio (VDS) Iteration 4 pitch and deliverables due
Mar 17Look-back learning reflection due for Iteration 4 of the VDS
Mar 20Venture Design Studio (VDS) Iteration 5 pitch and deliverables due
Mar 24Look-back learning reflection due for Iteration 5 of the VDS
TBAInspired You Project due dates will be announced here
Apr 1Part 3 stories due.
Apr 8Part 1 catalyst summaries due. Part 2 worksheets due. Part 4 stories due.
Apr 14Un-exam due

Other details will be posted here as required.