On Mixing Creativity and Teamwork into a CS course with a Sprinkle of Entrepreneurial Spirit
Thursday, September 17, 2020 — 12:30PM - 1:15PM
A career in the tech industry asks for creative problem-solvers who do not just have sound technical skills but are also capable of teamwork and can communicate effectively. How might we help students develop their talents and skills in these directions in a learning experience in an academic setting? We propose a specific course format for an undergraduate course Entrepreneurship in Computer Science course that is regularly taught at William and Mary as a concrete example. The course challenges students to develop an innovative solution addressing a demonstrated real need by combining design thinking, customer research, and agile software development with Steve Blank’s Lean Launchpad approach. The pedagogical format of the course is a project-based tournament to start with a wealth of initial ideas for innovative projects fitting a given overarching theme. All ideas are then carefully evaluated with user tests in various forms. We apply techniques that are best practice in design thinking as well as prototyping for technical feasibility in an agile software development process. Guidance from Steve Blank’s Lean Launchpad approach gives this class its entrepreneurial twist. After each round, student teams merge to further the more promising projects such that all students finish in a winning team. In this workshop, participants actively explore the feedback-driven process that is essential to this course to identify a real need and find creative solutions to address it.