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Stanford University Student Priorities

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The Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Landscape Canvas is full of opportunities.  Stanford University strives for innovation and creativity.  Students have opportunities to innovation and entrepreneurship to the next levels with perceived value aspects ("Student, I&E is important.  Make it a priority."), potential value aspects ("So, you want to learn more?"), applied value aspects ("You want to apply your knowledge to a specific project."), realized value aspects ("You have effectively engaged in I&E."), and reframing value aspects ("You have fine-tuned your understanding of I&E and reframed your approach to your education and career.").  Stanford University, like most innovative campuses, are stronger in some areas of I&E values in comparison to others.

Stanford University's strengths lie in the overwhelming spirit of entrepreneurship on campus. As many people say, innovation is in the air. Stanford also has many tangible resources that provide force behind innovation and entreprenership, including venture spaces on and associated with our campus.  Some of these include:

The Product Realization Lab (

Design for America (

StartX (


among others. 

While these resources are utilized by many students, there is certainly room for improvement, namely in students discovering these resources earlier in the year. Not all incoming students realize that entrepreneurship and innovation are an option or even important or interesting. A couple of our main goals for I&E projects include getting more students involved in deeper relationships with other like-minded students, and allowing more students to be exposed to topics such as design thinking.

Student Desire for I&E Classes

While not all students are exposed to entrepreneurship when they first get here, as a whole among the student body there is a high demand for project-based design classes. A common piece of advice to students is to "take a class!" However, this is more easily said than done. Due to the nature of project-based classes, there is a need to keep these courses relatively small. This limits the number of students who are able to take classes that are both interesting and beneficial. One fix to this would be to simply include more design-thinking classes. This also presents a challenge. Following are some ideas for implementing this idea.


Option One: Faculty Taught Classes

A traditional method for class is to hold professor-lectured sessions. This could prove somewhat difficult in recruiting extra faculty or adding on more responsibility to faculty who already teach and may not be willing or able to take on more responsibilities. There is also the option for professors to hold smaller classes or less frequently meeting classes. This brings us to...

Option Two: Pop-up Classes

This is already implemented in part by the These classes ( are already pretty popular, and are admit by application only. This provides a possible barrier to students who are simply looking for an introduction to design thinking. There can be more pop-up classes added, and perhaps ones specifically geared towards inexperienced students (along the line of IntroSems ( but more open to a variety of grade levels). 

Option Three: Workshops

Another option that is on a lower-commitment scale than pop-up classes is day or week long workshops. Stanford does hold an entrepreneurship week, but what about including one or more of these weeks per quarter? The quarter system moves very quickly, and students who are interested in entrepreneurship may miss out on one week due to prior commitments but still be interested and want another opportunity. Workshops for students would allow students to have fun and learn, and to take a break from the hectic schedule that a rigorous courseload on a quarter system brings.

Option Four: Student-Led Classes

Finally, our last idea for implementing more classes for students based around I&E focuses on student-led classes. There are more than a few design students at Stanford, and a portion of these students are interested in teaching. Why not tap this resource? The senior capstone classes for the product design major focus on producing a real-world project, and one of these options could be implementing and teaching a class about design thinking to underclassmen. 

Additionally, Stanford runs Splash classes for 7-12th grade students. This could also be implemented for Stanford students to teach their peers, and put on their own design and I&E expo. 


Adding new classes can be a daunting task. This is a project that will probably take some time to work on. We are presenting a preliminary schedule for implementation.

Fall 2014/Winter 2015 - Initial research and user analysis - what exactly do students want? Who is willing to provide it?

Winter 2015/Spring 2015 - Idea development - create a project that aligns with student and faculty feedback to fulfill needs

Spring 2015/Fall 2015 - Idea refinement - prepare classes/workshops/etc. for rollout

Fall 2015/Winter 2016 - Idea implementation - first user cohort

Co-Ed Entrepreneurship Fraternity

Description: Sigma Eta Pi was founded at UCLA in 2010. The current chapters and alumni have many ventures in Silicon Valley and Silicon Beach. The brothers of SEP have a variety of startups and successes ranging from a clothing brand to a startup backed by Y-Combinator, with another acquired by Square for 90 Million dollars. There is a wide variety of interests and backgrounds already existing in SEP. Stanford has a wide array of clubs and activities for the entrepreneurial person, but what it lacks is a brotherhood. Stanford needs more than a club. In a club there is certain amount of people and level of commitment, but at the end of the day it is just that - a club. A brotherhood allows one to know the members on a deeper level. Most students upon graduation more closely identify with a national level organization, such as the Society of Women Engineers or a fraternity/sorority. A brotherhood would enhance the entrepreneurial community here at Stanford by creating a stronger network of people. This particular organization has the benefits of having two solidly established chapters in which Stanford would enhance the already rich alumni and membership base.


    • Find founding class- Fall 2014
    • Pitch the Idea/Concept- Fall 2014
    • Find a Space/Infrastructure- Fall 2014 through Spring 2015
    • Funding- Fall 2014 through Spring 2015


Introducing these two flagship ideas will provide two unique outlets for student entrepreneurship. This is valuable because it allows students who are new or intrigued by design thinking and entrepreneurship to get their feet wet, and provide a close network and brotherhood with those students ready for a new level of entrepreneurship. 

Related Links

Stanford University Innovation Fellows

Stanford University Campus Overview

Stanford University Student Priorities (this page)