New workshop prompt

I often teach entrepreneurship as a process of identifying problems, imagining solutions and taking action. In my mind this is essence of all entrepreneurship.

But when I prompt students with, “what problems do you see in the world, in your communities, and in your lives?” leads to huge answers like “climate change, racism, bullying.”

It’s amazing that students see these problems, but in their current form, they’re unsolvable. There’s a reason why one step of the design thinking process is “Define” because a problem well defined is half solved.

In my essence of entrepreneurship workshops, students generate ideas to solve their problems but we rarely have time for them to define them well. Which leads me to wonder, is the prompt flawed? Would it be better to try prompting students with, “Think about a moment when you had a problem.”

That question begs for answers like “I was at school and I saw three kids all teasing someone and I didn’t know how to help.” There’s a moment that we could ideate a solution about. Or maybe the response would be “I went to recycle a bottle and realized my school doesn’t have a recycling bin.” Another problem that’s solvable.

But maybe the question wouldn’t actually elicit such clear responses. Maybe there wouldn’t be enough background knowledge to have noticed such problems.

I could guess what would happen, but I really just need to try it out. So here’s to experimentation and hoping a new prompt elicits a better response.