Field Study Seminar: Entrepreneurship and Innovation Shaped by Crises
Course Number 6677
|Senior Lecturer Bhaskar Chakravorti
|Winter, Field Study Seminar earning 3 non-classroom credits
8 2-hour sessions plus paper/project
Enrollment: Limited to 50
Course Requirements:Class Participation, Field-Based Proposal, Meetings with Faculty, Project Paper and Presentation
Career and Course Focus:
A crisis, by definition, is a period of difficulty and constraint. While crisis can be a threat to many, it can also be a turning point-an opportunity to serve new unmet needs in new ways. We are living through times with many different - often intersecting - crises: a global economic crisis; a healthcare crisis; an energy/natural resources crisis; an education crisis; crises on multiple fronts in the developing world; leadership and management crises; crises involving broken business models in many industries, such as automobiles, newspapers, pharmaceuticals, etc. Some crises may be cyclical while others will be with us for a long time. Even if some of these crises are resolved or mitigated, most of them will continue to play a key role in the business environment in the coming decades. It is critical to learn how to spot value-creating opportunities in the midst of - and even taking advantage of - a crisis and to translate the insight into profitable new ventures, entrepreneurial initiatives or innovations. Companies, entrepreneurs and managers who excel at such crisis-led entrepreneurship will operate from a position of competitive advantage in the business environment going forward.
This course provides students with a chance to identify opportunities that arise in response to crises and to present a plan for launching a new business or innovating in an established business.
This course also provides students an opportunity to link field work for the course to their career/life plan in two keys ways: First, the course will help them build a network of peers, established business leaders, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists focused on exploiting new business opportunities in areas of interest to them. On a regular basis throughout the course, we will hold panel sessions around key topics in the class. These panel sessions will end with time available to talk with panelists. Second, the project for the course will require students to identify a crisis, an industry and a company within that industry that is personally of interest to them. Students are strongly encouraged to independently propose a project idea and a company to do the project with. This will give students an opportunity to develop expertise and knowledge about a domain/company aligned with their interests and potential career aspirations.
All students are strongly encouraged to form teams of 2-4. The grade will be based on participation (30%) and performance on the project (70%). Students must develop a preliminary proposal for the project within the first two weeks. Classes will include a mix of case discussions, interactive lectures, panel discussion involving outside speakers and student workshops and presentations.
The course will enable students to:
- Identify emerging entrepreneurship and innovation opportunities arising from a crisis of some kind (chosen by the student team);
- Build expertise in a domain: an industry (possibly also a function or a geography) and the elements associated with a crisis that affects the industry/function/geography as well as knowledge of a company;
- Develop a disciplined approach to converting the opportunity spotting to a value-creating business model and developing a general business plan
- Understand the risks and challenges and approaches to managing them
- Develop a network of peers, alumni, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and industry leaders who can assist you in furthering your job search or career.
Course Content and Organization:
The course is divided into the four core modules listed below.
- Exploring common elements in crisis situations and identifying entrepreneurial opportunities in business environments or companies experiencing a crisis;
- Identifying key solution elements, e.g. technologies, innovations, processes, financial resources, talent, partnerships and business models;
- Leading change, communicating ideas, overcoming entrenched mind-sets and barriers;
- Putting the ideas into practice, execution issues, identifying opportunities for growth and managing the risks.