The following is a documentation of the workshop process throughout the YSDN Fall semester
The following document showcases the current process of this years thesis project. Over the past 4 months, I have been researching the relationship between self-awareness and entrepreneurial success within youth. Ages 18-24 to be exact. What I found was that there is a common relationship between the two. However, evidence is not exactly concrete due to the infancy of the overall study. The research methodology was executed primarily through secondary research using past studies.
The research indicated that many successful young entrepreneurs have some sense of self-awareness whether it is intentional or not. These young adults understand their wants and what they need to do in order to attain it. They also understand their strengths and weaknesses and assess their decisions around them. Most importantly, they understand how to start and idea and how to bring it to life regardless of any opposition.
The design approach that I am now taking as an actionable design deliverable is to execute a workshop based around entrepreneurial thinking and self-awareness within design students.
The purpose of the workshop is to create self-awareness within the designer in terms of their capabilities of execution. Additionally, it is also to provide a basic understanding of entrepreneurship and the process behind business development. The workshop is specifically structured in a way that participants will go from ideation, business model development, concept development & prototyping, deck development, and pitch within a 4 hour period. Furthermore, the objective is to teach entrepreneurial thinking and how to push regular projects further than a typical submission as well as understanding presentation pitch and how to bring an idea to market.
The importance of self-awareness in youth entrepreneurial success.
There is a strong relationship between individual self-awareness and youth entrepreneurial success. The deeper the self-awareness, the more probable the success of an entrepreneurial venture.
As a young entrepreneur, I was always interested in the idea of starting business’. Having experienced the immense amounts of hours that are dedicated towards building something, I want to understand why people even started business’ to begin with. What was the mentality behind it, the motivations, the emotions, and the drive. Especially as a student, why would we put additional stress on ourselves for something that has unknown results. Any rational student would probably not do it or stay away from it. Yet, some students do it anyways. They start their ventures mid studies and some become incredibly successful. I want to further understand the certain traits of youth entrepreneurs that help them excel at what they do and why.
Initial Visual Research
The beginnings of my research began by creating a visualization of what I perceived my topic to be. I started by simply searching the term “entrepreneurship” into google and image websites to see what the most surface level visualization would be. Furthermore, to enrich my visual exploration I started asking many of my direct peers what they visualized when I asked them about entrepreneurship.
“When I say “entrepreneurship” what do you picture”
These were the most frequent answers that I received. Lemonade stand was the one that struck out the most to me. Therefore, I decided to create my visualization based around the idea of a lemonade stand. I curated an animation video that goes through the process of building up a lemonade stand.
Final Visual Essay
For my thesis report, I decided to create a set of questions to help me narrow down my research. These questions helped give myself a sense of direction of which studies to look for and which would be valuable towards my report. It limited the broadness of my overall search. Some of these questions included:
How important is self-awareness in the success of youth entrepreneurship?
How can certain personality traits enhance entrepreneurial intent and action?
What is the current standings entrepreneurial education within educational institutions?
The methodology was primarily through secondary research and utilizing past studies.
The major key findings of the researched studies discuss that there is a high probability of non-cognitive skills being potential factors behind entrepreneurial success. In addition, many researchers question key personality traits behind entrepreneurial intent within youth.
Additional findings included:
Approximately 9% of people worldwide engage in entrepreneurship.
Experience can hinder self-awareness and leadership responsibilities
Non-cognitive skills play an important role in self-regulation and entrepreneurial endeavours
Educational institutions are not investing enough in self-development and the attention on entrepreneurial studies is low.
How might we include entrepreneurial thinking into our current curriculums?
A 4 hour workshop that will allow participants to go from the ideation stage of a business, all the way to a pitch presentation.
The objective of this workshop is to educate students the basic understanding and process of entrepreneurship. Participants should come out of the workshop with a greater view of scalability of proposed ideas within their courses.
The primary target audience will be students that have not had any exposure to entrepreneurial activities but are open to learn more about the topic.
The secondary target audience will be students with established entrepreneurial intention but don’t necessarily know how to start.
The currently proposed breakdown of the workshop is:
30 minutes - Ideation
30 minutes - Business model development
2 hours - Concept Development & Prototyping
30 minutes - Deck Development
30 minutes - Pitch Presentations & Validation
** I will be meeting with a spring expert to validate this further on December 19th **
Workshop Pre-Run (November 20th)
On November 20th, I ran this with students from Rotman at the University of Toronto with another young entrepreneur. This pre-run of the workshop only lasted 2 hours instead of 4. The purpose of this pre-run was to gauge the overall interaction of the workshop structure with the students. The key takeaways from this were:
2 Hours is too short
Open ideation with no initial direction is difficult but allows for more creativity
Finesse of visual concept development and prototyping varies based on current skill level
Participants validating their OWN idea was difficult due to lack of experience
Pitch presentations from each group started slow (nervous) but excitement and passion exponentially increased as they were presenting.
Branding Stage Initial Exploration
While exploring the initial stages of the branding, I wanted to focus on the term “direction” and “exploration”. I emphasized the usage of shapes, lines, and patterns in order to create more of a timeless branding system. The idea going into this session was to create a long lasting identity.
These are my initial explorations of the branding.