Course Description

Innovation in information and emerging technologies. Classroom and individual student activities will address strategies and exercises for how to develop, grow and vet ideas, and build teams ready to create a product, service or business.

Whether you aspire to starting your own entrepreneurial company with a team, work in a nonprofit organization (NGO = non-governmental organization) to contribute to society, or are being recruited by a large organization that appears in the press for its great work environments (such as a Google or Twitter), you have an important role to play in our economy as an innovator and entrepreneurial thinker. This course is the first in a series of four courses required for the IDS (Idea Design Startup) Minor. Creativity and strategies for idea generation (about all aspects of the business) is the central theme, defined as “the application of a person’s mental ability and curiosity to discover something new.” This course is intended to provide the cognitive foundation for idea generation and creative thinking for the IDS Minor courses in which students identify a feasible idea to be pitched for competitions. The concept of design is a significant part of all four courses in the IDS Minor.

IDS 301 meets with IST 627.


This is a 3 credit course. Undergraduate students earn 3 credits for IDS 301, and graduate students earn 3 credits for completion of IST 627 with the addition of a graduate student/team assignment.

Professor of Record

Marcene Sonneborn


Graduate students and undergraduate students who are willing to apply strategies for being innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial, and who are willing to take risks to make a difference in the world.

Learning Objectives

After taking this course, the students will be able to:

Generate, develop, grow and vet new product, service and business ideas

  1. Apply the concept of stimulus thinking and using random objects in the environment to generate new ideas, including conversations with others.
  2. Make decisions that recognize the role of team and managing individuals to be a part of an innovation team.
  3. Recognize and assess opportunities in multiple environments.

Understand the concept of an innovation ecosystem, its components and value in the economy

  1. Describe the elements of an innovation ecosystem as an environment for development and growth of ideas into something of value to individuals, society or the economy.
  2. Demonstrate the skills to follow the path of an innovation from original idea and innovator to its present form by describing “the players” and their functions within an innovation ecosystem Select an innovative company and describe the conditions, the serendipitous events, and the people/organizations who were key to the success of an innovation, or were instrumental in its ultimate failure.
  3. Be able to conceptualize and pitch a business idea to potential stakeholders, investors and partners in a new venture or organization.

Demonstrate the ability to communicate ideas, objectives and aspirations to others as an important element on the path from idea to realization of a dream

  1. Assess what makes some ideas more business-appropriate than others.
  2. Present a business idea to potential stakeholders and supporters (potential executives, partners, co-workers and investors).
  3. Focus your idea on other people’s problems, needs and wants (PNWs) as you build your business model and company.
  4. Critically evaluate the competition and identify opportunities that others have missed in a market.
  5. Assess and accumulate the necessary resources to start a venture.

Course Syllabus

Other iSchool Courses

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