So how does one design a lean/agile/design-thinking innovation competition???? Our current proposed approach is to have students submit:
- A 3-10 minute video of the new service or product in use: showing prototyping and ideally a pivot in response to use.
- A one-year budget and
- Possibly – A completed summary Business Canvas.
What do YOU think???? Does it sound good? Is the canvas overkill for an 8-week student contest? What would you change?
[ The current full proposed summary outline of the contest is posted here. ]
For the past several years innovators I admire have been posting tweets and FB posts urging VCs, angels and academics NOT to participate in student business plan competitions. One of the earliest I were three blog posts by Steve Blank:
The consistent arguments against the traditional business plan competition include:
- A formal business plan really only fits large companies.
- A business plan does not survive the first encounter with customers.
- It does NOT recognize the lean or iterative approach to innovation. An agile or lean startup should have a new business model after user testing and probably again in 6-9 months.
- Financial projections 3 or 5 years out for a truly innovative new service or product are exercises in “creative accounting” and we don’t need to teach our students how to lie using spreadsheets.
Brief confession here – I helped with a couple startup business plans. I learned the following technique:
- Find out what revenue the VC or Angel needed to see. Increase it by 2% and make it the year 5 projection.
- Assume “hockey stick” growth with takeoff in year 4.
- The result was reaching the target number without undue pressure in years 1-3.
Not something I want to teach my students!
Again here is a more complete description: Innovation Contest Draft
I appreciate your thoughts and ideas!!!!