Idea Lab 2: From Inspiration to Action with Brant Cooper

Author and Entrepreneur Brant Cooper touts the importance of customer engagement

Brant Cooper speaking and students workshopping SIC ideas

Idea Lab 2: From Inspiration to Action encouraged student entrepreneurs to break out of planning mode and get to work earlier in the development of their ventures.  Student entrepreneurs interested in the Social Innovation Challenge or V2 pitch competition learned from Brant Cooper, author of The Lean Entrepreneur: How Visionaries Create Products, Innovate with New Ventures, and Disrupt Markets. Cooper advised students on the importance of flexibility and agility in establishing a successful venture. Using the examples of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Steve Jobs, he debunked the idea of an innovative visionary, and instead focused on how these entrepreneurs succeed – or failed – based on their ability to gather talented people around them and to be willing to change their original vision based on market demands. To truly understand the needs of your customers or beneficiaries, Cooper said, you must understand their needs, their lives, and the way they think.   He advised students to create an MVP, minimum viable product, early in their venture development process, so they can get customer feedback and make changes.

Following Cooper’s talk, students gathered in groups with mentors and coaches to brainstorm, refine, and develop their venture ideas.  Using the Zoom tools provided by Cooper, students answered questions about the impact they were trying to make, who their ideal customer base is, and what solution would be best suited to that customer. 

View the recording of Brant's talk

View the resources related to this Idea Lab

The next Idea Lab: Ideas meet Reality will bring back last year’s Social Innovation Challenge winners to coach and mentor students on their ventures. It will take place on Tuesday, November 18 from 12:15 – 2:15 pm.  RSVP to attend.