January 30, 2009

Life is an Experiment

I love this video clip from our Entrepreneurship Corner collection where Tom Kelley, the author of The Art of Innovation, talks about viewing life as a series of experiments. He urges everyone to try lots of things and keep what works. Even when the experiments fail, they should propel each of us forward. Tom uses Thomas Edison as an example: He tried 10,000 different materials for light bulb filaments before finding one that worked. When asked, he said, "I haven't failed. I just found ten thousand things that do not work." Tom gives lots of other examples of wildly successful inventors who were willing to keep experimenting, and learning from failure, until they finally found the solution for which they were searching.

January 29, 2009

Entrepreneurship Week... Coming UP

Entrepreneurship Week at Stanford is just around the corner - Feb 18 - 25, 2009. This is an opportunity for all those interested in E-ship at Stanford to work together. The week includes lectures by well known folks such as John Hennessy, Tim Draper, Tony Perkins, and Michael Moe, as well as lots of workshops and panels.

I am very excited about a workshop we are hosting in which students will come dressed in their favorite James Bond character and be challenged to solve a big global problem. We will lubricate their creativity with vodka martinis - shaken not stirred. You can check out the entire program at the E-Week web site. You can also see photos from last year's E-Week here.

Here is a snapshot of the entire program:

2/18 Wednesday
Kickoff: President Hennessy on Entrepreneurial Leadership

2/19 Thursday
Panel Discussion: Careers in Product Creation & Manufacturing

2/20 Friday
Venture Capital Speed Dating

2/21 Saturday
Pitching and Presenting Workshop
Bring Your Product to Life" Workshop

2/22 Sunday
Social Enterprises Panel and Showcase

2/23 Monday
Solving the Global Talent Equation" Seminar and Reception

2/24 Tuesday
"Startup 101" Job Fair
Entrepreneurship Mixer
Creativity Challenge: James Bond Casino Caper

2/25 Wednesday
GSB Entrepreneurship Conference
"The Next Big Thing": Tim Draper, Tony Perkins & Michael Moe
Networking Reception and Showcase

January 27, 2009

Mind Bending Experience

I had a chance to participate in an awe-inspiring workshop with Elizabeth Streb at Stanford's d.school. Elizabeth is a 1997 MacArthur Fellow who focuses on stretching the boundaries of what the human body can do. The room lights up as soon as Elizabeth walks into the room... she is literally magnetic! Her goal is to challenge gravity, space, and time, and she often manages to do so.

We did a workshop in which we brainstormed and prototyped ways to move from one place to another WITHOUT moving through space... An interesting challenge! Several different teams came up with mind-bending ideas that capture the essence of moving without moving. Some teams used strobe lights, others took advantage of moving through different mediums such as oil and water, while others tapped into the power of centrifugal forces. You can watch a video of STREB in action here.

This exercise was remarkable in that it really pushed all the participants to stretch the boundaries of our thinking. I could feel my brain the next day... the same way you feel the muscles of your legs after a good run.