Hi Mark,

My technique for a quick 30-minute brainstorming exercise like this is fairly simple, but it certainly gets the students thinking creatively.

On the first day of my entrepreneurship class, every semester, I ask students to upload short one-paragraph descriptions of 5 trends (1 trend per paragraph). They have to search for them online, via google and other news sites. I compile those trends into a document, which I call a "Trends Bank"; and I number the trends (randomly). So, if there are 15 students in class, the Trends Bank has 75 trends (#1 through #75).

On the second day of class, students form small groups of 3-4 students. I then ask each student to choose 3 numbers randomly from #1-#75, and pass those three numbers to the person to their left. Then I hand out the Trends Bank. Each person must take the 3 trends they were given, and form a business idea out of it. They have 7-10 minutes to generate an idea out of combining those trends. After that individual brainstorming period, the students in a small group share their ideas with each other. In 30 minutes, possible to squeeze two rounds instead of just one. (Or you could have just one round for small groups, and then spend the rest of the 30 minutes asking each group to present their favorite idea (of the 3-4 generated).

The students have a lot of fun with this exercise. Combining two trends is really not that tough, but it's the third trend that often forces some novelty and uniqueness... You could do something similar, except requiring students to choose one trend from a subset of nursing/education/etc trends, so that it forces all students to follow the common theme.

If you'd like a copy of my latest Trends Bank, just to see what it looks like, feel free to email me at chihmao dot hsieh at sunykorea dot ac dot kr.

Cheers, -chihmao.

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Chih-mao Hsieh

SUNY Korea

Songdo

+821088225886

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Original Message:

Sent: 01-06-2022 11:34

From: Mark Simon

Subject: Exercise for coming up with new product/service idea

Hi all. I am trying to find a good method/exercise where I can spend about a half hour with a class and have the students come up with some idea for a new product or service that solves a problem. The exercise should accomplish the following goals, if possible.

The problem/solution should be specific to the class ---- E.g., nursing if I talking to a nursing class, education if talking to an education class, etc.

The exercise should result in a concrete deliverable by the end of the half hour session.

Ideally each student or a very small group of students could come with their own ideas, as opposed to a large group or the whole class collectively coming with one or more ideas.

The students idea would just be a starting point, so does not need to be well developed. For example, the students don't need to do an in depth search of whether it already exists.

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance!

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Mark Simon

Professor

University of Michigan - Flint

Flint MI

(810) 237-6684

marksimo@umich.edu

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