The most effective innovators and entrepreneurs are those who can adapt their ideas to fit reality. This topic focuses on learning and applying a variety of hands-on tools for testing out the desirability, feasibility and viability of any idea. Through readings, videos and a series of in-the-field exercises, students will test, refine, test again, and refine again a particular innovation. Along the way, students will learn a variety of skills and tools to understand and test users' needs and perceptions, customers and funders' willingness to pay and competitive dynamics and learn how to use these insights to validate a new innovation project or venture.
This topic aims to inspire and enable students to get out into the field and test new ideas at once rigorously and rapidly. On one level, this is a methods topic, exposing students to a variety of applied research skills and tools for understanding users' needs and perceptions, customers and funders' willingness to pay, competitive dynamics and the broader context. On another level, this is a creativity and critical thinking topic that pushes students to re-frame, re-think and re-design ideas iteratively, as their understanding of the customers and users' needs evolves in response to evidence about user, competitor and funder perceptions and behaviours.