Innovating in the Enterprise I: Putting Your Ideas in Motion

Learning Objectives

Why do so many ideas, big and small, fail to get traction? Most fail because either a) they didn’t take careful stock of their audience or b) they just weren’t meant to be.

In this module, you’ll learn how to use today’s best practices in design thinking and needfinding to generate high quality ideas with a sturdy anchor to the actual circumstances and desires of their audience. You’ll then learn how to effectively operate in small, success-based batches using 0, 30, and 90 day validation criteria to determine whether you have an idea worth pursuing or whether it’s time to try something different.


  • Hands-on experience using personas and problem scenarios to focus your understanding of the customer/user
  • Use of storyboards to operationalize, present, and test your understanding
  • Techniques formulate user hypotheses and test them with interviews & observations
  • Hands-on understanding of how to apply Lean Startup in the enterprise
  • Ability to structure the uncertainty in any new concept into a set of readily testable assumptions
  • Managing concept testing effectively using 0, 30, 90 day success


The following are the workshop slides:

Preparation & Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites.

Instructor notes: The checklists below describe ‘minimum viable preparation’ and additional related preparation.

Minimum Viable Preparation

  1. Review the slides
  2. Prep the materials below

Additional Preparation

Review the tutorials on the underlying tools and frameworks from the exercises:

  1. Personas
  2. Business Model Canvas
  3. Storyboarding

If you’re interested in the surrounding body of work on Venture Design, see that link and if you’re interested in a structure program for product design & entre/intra-preneurship, check out Startup Sprints.


1. Index Cards

While Post-It’s are more in fashion for design workshop type events, these exercises are designed around index cards. The reason is that the students will progressively layer more information on to the cards. That said, use whatever works for you; just make sure to review the exercises and have advice for your participants on how they’ll organize their work. I do not recommend doing these on the computer- it tends to create writers block and a desire to create something more permanent than this material is meant to be.

2. PDF of the Business Model Canvas

We’ll use this briefly as an organizing tool.


3. Storyboarding Squares

Cutting-Storyboard-Squares STORYBOARDING SQUARES

For workshops, group exercises, and generally getting started with storyboarding, I like to use these paper squares and a sharpie/pen. The PDF you can download here has a set of typical scenes which you can print out and use. They do need to be cut or ripped since there are two/page. You’ll find cutting marks and the individual pages and what I actually like to do is use a metal ruler and just rip them (see left). I created them with the online tool, and you may find you want to go there and create your own (not to mention creating digital storyboards once you’re ready). If you want to use the above squares in the PDF on, you can copy the storyboard template using the preceding link.

4. Previews Squares (optional)

These are strictly optional, but when I bind up the storyboarding squares for students, I noticed that they then were spending a lot of time sorting through them to find the backdrops they want. The agenda below is pretty speedy, and I found that if I put up full (8.5″x11″) ‘previews’ of what was on the different squares, it helped the students decide and then locate what they wanted quicker. If you want to print these and tape them to the wall, you may find it helps the experience:

5. A Product Idea to Work

This can be any project you’re currently working.

6. The Venture Design Template

You’ll use this in the post-class workshop time to organize your work.