Tina Seelig: Classroom Experiments in Entrepreneurship | Summary and Q&A

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May 31, 2011
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Stanford eCorner
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Tina Seelig: Classroom Experiments in Entrepreneurship

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Summary

In this video, Tina Seelig shares her experience teaching a week-long entrepreneurship class at Stanford's d.School. She gave each team an envelope with $5 and two hours to make as much money as possible. While many assumed they should take high-risk actions like gambling, the teams that made the most money took a different approach, realizing that the $5 was a limitation and looking for opportunities within their skills and resources. They found success by offering free bicycle tire pressure measurements and asking for donations, as well as by selling restaurant reservations. The most successful team sold their presentation time to a company looking to recruit students, highlighting the importance of thinking creatively and challenging assumptions.

Questions & Answers

Q: What was the assignment given to the students in the entrepreneurship class?

Each team was given an envelope with $5 and two hours to make as much money as possible.

Q: What approach did the teams that made the most money take?

These teams realized that the $5 was a limitation and looked for opportunities within their skills and resources.

Q: Can you give an example of a successful strategy implemented by one of the teams?

One team set up a stand in the student union offering free bicycle tire pressure measurements, but charged a dollar if the tires needed air. Halfway through, they switched to asking for donations and ended up making a couple hundred dollars.

Q: What did the students learn from this experiment?

The students learned the value of iterating and experimenting along the way. They discovered that asking for donations was more successful than charging a set fee, highlighting the importance of rapid prototyping and trying different approaches.

Q: What did another team do to make money?

Another team made reservations at popular restaurants in Palo Alto and sold them to people who were willing to pay. They found that women students were more successful at selling the reservations and that restaurants with buzzers were the most effective.

Q: What was the most surprising strategy used by a team to make money?

The most successful team sold their three-minute presentation time in class to a company that wanted to recruit the students. This demonstrated that valuable resources and opportunities can be found in unexpected places.

Q: What lesson did the students learn about framing problems?

The students realized that by unpacking and expanding their initial problem, they discovered resources and opportunities that were much larger than they initially thought.

Q: How did this experiment challenge assumptions about making money?

The traditional assumptions of taking high-risk actions like gambling or buying lottery tickets were challenged. The teams found success by thinking creatively and leveraging their skills and opportunities.

Q: What did the students learn about their own skills and resources?

The students discovered that they had more skills and resources than they initially thought. By looking around and recognizing the opportunities in their midst, they were able to make money without relying solely on the initial $5.

Q: What was the main takeaway from this experiment?

The main takeaway is that framing problems too tightly can limit potential solutions and overlook valuable resources. By thinking creatively, challenging assumptions, and exploring opportunities, individuals can find success beyond what they initially imagine.

Takeaways

This video highlights the importance of thinking creatively and challenging assumptions when faced with challenges or problems. By reframing the problem and exploring opportunities within our skills and resources, we can find innovative solutions and achieve success beyond our initial expectations. Rapid prototyping, experimentation, and iteration are valuable tools that can help uncover valuable insights and enhance the problem-solving process. Additionally, this experiment showcases the importance of recognizing the value of our own skills and the opportunities available to us, often finding resources larger and more valuable than we could have imagined.

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