Category Archives: Business Incubator

Lesson 3: Group Ideation

The focus of this lesson is “ideation” as part of the innovation process. Groups will begin identifying meaningful problems to solve that will become the source of their business opportunities.

Required Outcomes

  • Teams will complete worksheets that capture potential ideas.
  • Teams will prioritize and rank their ideas based on specific criteria.
  • Students will generate ideas individually and as a team. Teams will have 3-5 ideas with BMC’s.
  • Teams will create business model canvas for each idea based on assumptions they create.


Ideation Worksheet

Add the Ideation Worksheet document to your team’s shared folder in Google Drive. Using your personal Bug Me/Forces at Play worksheets, generate a team list of problems to address on a whiteboard and then transfer them to the Google oc.

  1. Share examples of “bug me” items and start generating a master list
  2. Share examples from “forces at play”

Identify top 5-10 Problems/Needs/Wants

From your list, the class list, and the lists of the other teams, generate a list of the top 5-10 problems, needs, or wants that you think you’d like to address with your business.

Even if two teams chose the same topic, there are many different possible solutions – each its own potential business idea.

Impact and Desired Outcomes

After identifying 25 or so problems, move on to the next two columns of the Ideation Worksheet. Identify who this problem most affects and what the outcome would be if this problem were resolved (this is different than the solution).

Simple Ranking Method

Now you will choose your top 5-10 problems – the ones that offer the best market potential and that you are most passionate about. Use the table below to help you decide if you are stuck.

0 = Low, 1 = Med, 2 = High

Lists # potential people Impact if solved Passion Total
Childhood obesity (problem) 1 2 2 5
Hand crafted organic food in schools (Want) 0 1 2 3
Scoring my golf game in less time with less paper waste (problem) 1 1 2 4

Brainstorming Process

As a team, approach each of your top problems one at a time, and brainstorm solutions to the problem. Remember these rules as you work:

  • Think expansively
  • No judging
  • Be humorous, have fun
  • Hitchhiking and building on other members’ ideas is encouraged
  • Every person must contribute

Sketch your ideas on the whiteboard and then add them to your teams master list via Google Docs

Example Problems to Consider

Below are example problems for you to consider:

  • Teens suffer from embarrassing acne
  • There’s nothing to do on the weekend
  • Going to the movies is too expensive
  • Video games are expensive and then useless once you’ve beaten the game
  • Dating causes stress
  • It’s hard to meet new people/make new friends in high school
  • If you’re under 18, you can’t get a tattoo (and if you could, you might regret it when you’re older)
  • Fundraising is awful (no one wants to sell door to door)
  • It’s hard to find something to wear
  • It’s difficult to get into shape
  • Fast food is mostly unhealthy
  • It’s difficult to stay organized and keep track of homework and assignments
  • It’s difficult to travel around town (especially when you don’t have a car)
  • Biking in the rain is unpleasant
  • Enjoying the great outdoors requires too much planning and equipment
  • It’s difficult to learn a new skill

Business Model Canvas

Generate your team’s first version of your Business Model Canvas and save it to your shared folder.


Read the following article to examine how entrepreneurs solve problems in order to solve businesses:

Presentation of Nick Cromydas

Lesson 2: Business Model Canvas

The focus of this lesson is to explain the Business Model Canvas and its 9 sections. The INCubatoredu class uses a BMC most similar to the Lean Canvas Model used by Ash Maurya in Running Lean.

Required Outcomes

  • Students will understand the purpose of a BMC.
  • Students will be able to identify each of the 9 components of the BMC.
  • Students will create a BMC to illustrate their understanding.
  • Students will understand how they will create their plans and the system in which they will track their pivots and iterations.

Business Model Canvas

Key Terms

The terms below are important to know and understand in the context Lean Methodology. Be sure you not only learn the definitions, but can understand how they relate to each other.

  • Problem
  • Customer Segments
  • Solution
  • Unique Value Proposition
  • Channels
  • Customer Relationships (formerly unfair advantage if you were intro to business)
  • Revenue Streams
  • Cost Structure
  • Key Metrics

Bucketfeet BMC

For this exercise, you’re going to take what you have learned about the Business Model Canvas and reverse engineer one for the company Bucketfeet. Complete each of the following steps:

  • Study Bucketfeet online: website, news, etc.
  • Determine their BMC elements
  • Create their BMC using your best judgment

Click the image below to view Bucketfeet’s website:



The video below is for reference only. It covers many of the same topics that we will examine and discuss in class related to the Business Model Canvas.

Lesson 1: Introduction

This lesson will set the tone for the start-up like atmosphere that will be created in class. Students will get excited to be part of this new and innovative entrepreneurial classroom and teaching format.

Required Outcomes

  • Students will present themselves, understand the different entrepreneurial characteristics that are useful to have on a team.
  • Students will have the opportunity to meet each other, do some team building activities and then be formed into teams to work in for the remainder of the year.
  • Students will be introduce and learn the technology and support system that will be used to manage class and the materials they will produce.
  • Students will create logins and passwords and begin creating files in their schools platform.
  • Students will be introduced to the names of the key tools used in the Lean process for developing business ideas. (Business Model Canvas, Cycle of Experimentation, Minimum Viable Product)

Entrepreneurs Can Change the World

Watch the video below with your table group. Identify which words or phrases most stand out most to you and be prepared to share with the whole class.

Entrepreneurial DNA

Recent research into what makes startup companies successful or not has revealed that certain founders share certain predispositions. Watch the video below to learn about the four different “hard wirings” that exist amongst entrepreneurs. Then complete the 10 question quiz at the following link to learn about your own entrepreneurial DNA:

Pitch Yourself

Now that you know a little bit more about yourself as an entrepreneur, prepare a 30-60 second pitch about yourself. Your goal is to share with your classmates why you would make for an exceptional business partner. Share the following:

  • Your Name
  • Your Entrepreneurial DNA results
  • Any pertinent information regarding your experience in business (classes, jobs, etc.)
  • Any special skills (sales, technical, etc.)

Team Formation

Once you’ve seen your classmates pitch, it’s time to make teammate requests. Please understand that requests are only one consideration that will be made when teams are formed. The more consideration you  provide as to why you think a certain classmate would make a good teammate, the more likely you are to end up with that teammate.

Complete the form at the following link:

Egg Drop Challenge

Using only the supplies in the list below, build a contraption to protect an egg from an 8 foot drop. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t as we’ll implement a build, measure, learn feedback loop in this challenge

Bug Me/Forces at Play

Prior to September 7th, you need to complete the worksheet below (available here).

Consider the things that bug you throughout your day, and identify major trends that exist at a local, regional, and global level. Jot them down on this sheet to help you structure your brainstorming of business ideas later on (refer to slide 13 above for examples).

Ideation Worksheet


Unit 1: Ideation

This unit introduces students to what a start-up is and how to develop a sound business plan using the Business Model Canvas. Students start by identifying problems to be solved. Entrepreneurs look to solve problems they identify with and have a passion for. Students begin to identify these problems, needs or wants individually, then are grouped in teams based on common interests. Only after outlining these problems do students start brainstorming creative solutions that can be turned into business ideas. Students will begin to refine and develop their ideas by going through the process of competitive analysis and identifying their unique value proposition.

Enduring Understandings

  • Entrepreneurs must identify customer wants and/or needs to justify their product or service.
  • Business opportunities must respond to change and must be developed using customer insights throughout development.
  • A business model canvas helps communicate your ideas to others, identify necessary resources, and acts a roadmap for the future of the business.

Essential Questions

  • How do creative ideas become business opportunities?
  • How do my interests, skills, and abilities affect the type of business I start?
  • What kinds of risks arise with business opportunities?
  • What does it mean to get customer feedback and why is it critical in developing a successful business idea?

Expected Outcomes by end of Unit

  • Students will be formed in teams and begin working as a cohesive group.
  • Student teams will learn class expectations, assessment components and how to use technology to successfully manage their classroom exercises and work.
  • Student teams will learn and understand the 9 components that form a Business Model Canvas.
  • Student teams will generate problems worth solving and create a Business Model Canvas that outlines their team’s business idea.

Welcome and Overview

Curriculum Overview

This curriculum was developed from a variety of sources including college courses/professors from the following schools: Miami of Ohio, DePaul and Stanford.  What we did is make the curriculum applicable to high school students. As a class, we cover a combination of business fundamentals (marketing, sales, accounting, web design) and lean methodologies.

This allows students to dig deeper on their own into subjects that interest them. The benefit here is students can get introduced to a variety of business topics to help them decide on a career. Below are the modules for both semesters that will be presented:

Search and Discovery – Semester 1



Validation – Semester 2


There are times where adjustments have to be made based on snow days, mandated testing, etc. that may affect the above schedules.

The Teaching Team


Coaches provide authentic business expertise in a specific area. They come into the classroom for a short period of time (1-3 days) to provide all students with a real-world context for a specific curricular area. The coach operates in a co-teaching approach where the coach and classroom teacher plan and present together. The lessons in orange are planned to be coach taught.

Mentoring Role:

Mentors are assigned to each team and will follow them through the entire process providing them with feedback and encouragement. While there are some days when the mentors will be present in class, most of this communication will occur outside of school time perhaps through email or phone calls. Consider these your trusted and respected guides.

Reference Material

You will be learning the practices of successful entrepreneurs. The tools, and principles you will learn and use are grounded in the Lean Startup movement. This movement is changing the way new products are built and how companies are bringing new products to market.

All reading and reference materials will be provided to you digitally and can be referenced.

Welcome_Reference_Books Running Lean by Ash Maurya is great supplemental reading.

The Lean Start Up by Eric Ries and Business Model Generation by Osterwalder and Pigneur also provide foundational understanding of this movement.

Business Incubator

This course is designed to introduce you to the real world experience of entrepreneurship and business concepts.


Click the following link to download the Course Syllabus

Google_Classroom_LogoGoogle Classroom

We will use Google’s classroom management tool Google Classroom to communicate, distribute, and collect assignments and resources.  You will need a join code in order to join this class.

  • Join Code: 55v5p5


We will also use a note taking application in this class called Evernote. Evernote will allow you to organize all of your class notes and related research that you conduct throughout this year. If you don’t have one already, create a new account at


We will use the messaging app GroupMe to help facilitate communication regarding important deadlines and matters related to class. Use the link below to join our group:

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