The Dyer Center has thus far offered co-curricular activities for Lafayette students on the subjects below, as well as supporting some larger semester-long projects. A few of these activities have been coordinated with faculty interests in the classroom, but most of the effort thus far has been co-curricular.

Journey Mapping (part of Design Thinking): Drawing from the principles and approaches outlined in Change by Design (Tim Brown) applied to understanding the customer experience.

Creativity & Brainstorming: Using methods described in Zig Zag (Keith Sawyer) and elsewhere.

Organizational Model Planning: A common language for describing, planning, and assessing models for a variety of organizational forms using the Business Model Canvas (Osterwalder and Pigneur 2010, 2013).

Pitch Preparation: Working with students to help them think about and present carefully thought out value propositions and meaningful plans for their innovative and entrepreneurial endeavors. 

Customer Development / Lean Startup: Using methods described in Lean Startup (Eric Reis) and elsewhere, we encourage students to quickly validate their ideas by talking to “customers” and distill those ideas to core assumptions that can be tested using the least amount of resources, a minimally viable product.

Idea Prototyping: Tools such as Bubble.io, and Canva allow non CS majors to develop functional web and mobile prototype applications.

In addition to the resources mentioned above, we invite faculty recommendations for other resources on these or related subjects. We are also interested in supporting faculty initiatives for developing students’ expertise in creating and launching new ideas for products and services.

Longer term projects (6 weeks to a full semester): addressing societal/industry challenges relevant to their coursework. Projects under this rubric vary but typically possess the following characteristics.

  • Collaboration with external stakeholders.
  • Students taking initiative in identifying/articulating the problem/solution within the constraints provided by the partner/customer, dealing with the inherent ambiguity and uncertainty of any creative process.
  • Iterative experimentation while developing prototypes and co-creating solutions with partners/customers to address their needs.
  • Team-based work based on complementary capabilities and shared passions rather than pre-existing relationships or solo work, increasing both the difficulty and authenticity of the experience.
  • Students, external partners, and faculty are open to the possibility of project failure. Although the goal is a meaningful solution or contribution to the identified problem, the ultimate objective is student growth and learning.

“While attending a national entrepreneurship education conference, everyone was talking about entrepreneurship in terms of critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective communication, the basic elements of a liberal arts education. That experience inspired me to find ways to incorporate innovation into my courses, both as an educational component but also as a way to appeal to students who are very entrepreneurial.”  – Professor Dave Veshosky