Mini Blog Post 1: Problems and Solutions in Entrepreneurship
This is the first in a series of weekly mini blog posts on what students learn during the Future Entrepreneur Challenge, a staple program at Harmony Plus. Follow us for more posts like this!
Every problem has a solution. Most great startups are built from this belief, creating a product with an innovative solution that helps solve a problem. But sometimes you have to find the “right” problem before you can figure out how to solve it — or found a startup. Harmony Plus’s Future Entrepreneur Challenge offers students a chance to identify the “right” problem and brainstorm solutions through a business lens, so they can start thinking just like successful Silicon Valley companies. Using a flipped classroom model, students do readings and work before the class, then a discussion is held, followed by a short lecture on how to identify problems/solutions. This way, students use their time in the classroom actively learning and applying the material in real-world ways.
After the lecture, the second part of the class focuses on applying various frameworks to identify problems/solutions such as:
Activity 1: How Might We
This is all about learning to ask the right questions. New solutions can’t be created if the same questions are asked. For this activity, students rephrase issues they might face/someone they know faces to find the “right” problem. Instead of saying, “School lunches are bad,” students would rephrase it to, “How might we provide tastier meal options?” This way, the problems become more actionable and encourage a variety of solutions. From this exercise, students select one problem to focus on.
Activity 2: Crazy 8s
This is a core Design Sprint method. Students brainstorm potential solutions individually and then share with their teams. The goal is to push beyond the first idea. This exercise is called Crazy 8s because students fold their paper in eights to come up with eight solutions in eight minutes. While this activity is super quick, it’s about quantity, not quality (just yet).
Activity 3: Now/How/Wow
With this exercise, students create a matrix that acts as a selection tool. It helps students to think outside the box by forcing them to consider each solution on different parameters — Now (easy to implement), How (ideas for the future), and Wow! (innovative and usable ideas). As students discuss their solutions, they categorize their ideas using Miro boards to find the best solution to their problem.
Through these exercises, students learn to approach problems in new ways while crafting new solutions and thinking beyond what’s in front of them. By knowing how to identify the “right” problem and creating the kind of solutions that are unique, scalable, and profitable, students are setting themselves up for future successes.
Follow us to read the second mini blog posts on what students learn during the Future Entrepreneur Challenge.