Our entrepreneurial club’s identity is being formed.  We actually are not even a club, we’re an EdCorp, (created by the twitch-inducing minds at Real World Scholars) which is defined as :

EdCorp: Education Corporation –
a web ­based, student ­run business that
operates out of a K-­12 classroom as a
way to foster real world skills.

As soon as we sort out minor things like NAMING ourselves, we’ll have an eCommerce site where clients can securely pay for our services. We have a ClassWallet account where all those funds go that we can reinvest into our company; buying equipment, software, and quite possibly Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups®.

Explaining the "Why" to each class, to connect these real world projects to life after high school.
Explaining the “Why” to each class, to connect these real world projects to life after high school.

The Plan

Design Thinking: Do this, but really fast.
Design Thinking: Do this, but really fast.

I really have no idea what I’m doing, which I repeatedly tell my students. There’s a good chance we all royally screw up some things, but that is precisely why we do it. When a student or teacher feels safe enough to take risks, they’ve already established something many schools (or companies) never do: trust. Like Stanford’s amazing d.school, we use design thinking to develop students into innovators, not focus on innovations.

Essential classroom tool #36: Post-its
Post-its can tell stories too.

We’ve been spending time wholly dedicated to getting to know each other, what we expect of each other, interests, and vision for our respective futures.

With that ground work laid, and reinforced daily,  our scheme plan action steps are:

  1. Get a Map: Fill out the Business Model Canvas to establish who our target markets are, differentiating factors, and more. Use Sticky notes. As much as I like taking random Classflow polls, don’t democratize it with 20 people…utilize the most committed bright minds as the architects. Use the polls to determine what to get on a pizza.
  2. Ask people who know what they’re doing to help us name and logo-ize ourselves. We’ve utilized EdCorp’s partnership with Nepris (network of industry pros that Skype with classrooms) to meet with a startup guru. Also, talk to other teacher and students doing what we want to do, like PGE Design.
  3. Identify specific “Soft Skills” and Emotional Intelligences to develop.
    Skyping with PGE Design about student ran companies, collaboration ideas.
    Skyping with PGE Design about student ran companies, collaboration ideas.

    Soft skills may include collaboration, communication, content, critical thinking, creative innovation and confidence. Emotional Intelligence is a person’s ability to perceive, control, evaluate, and express emotions.  Multiple studies have shown EQ is better predictor of career success than IQ. The Carnegie Institute of Technology knew this back in 1918, stating that your financial success will have 85% to do with your ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead, while only 15% to do with your technical knowledge.Use a Google Form self-assessment cross referenced with what our local economic developers have already identified through corporate surveys. My colleague Mrs. Jessica Klass (Engineering at Pandora-Gilboa High School) did a fantastic report on developing these soft skills in her Master’s project here. You can even hear her narrate it here.

Right Now

We did some market research (“Hey kids, go ask your parents if they’d use this”)

We are definitely in the "squiggle" area of establishing ourselves.
We are definitely in the “squiggle” area of establishing ourselves.

and determined our first service would be scanning photos as a service. Client drops off a box of photos, we scan and upload them to a holding location and send the link to the client. We are creating pricing tables, but expect to be competitive with online options that range around 35 cents per photo, with discounts at larger volumes. We will be using the new Epson FastFoto scanner.

Lots happening. Must. Stay. Focused.

This Thursday is a big day for entrepreneurship in Ohio schools, as Real World Scholars folks John Cahalin and Elyse Burden come to Columbus from San Diego to sit down with Mrs. Klass, future UN Rep and high school senior Sarah Baumgartner, and me. Oh, and the superintendent of Ohio Public Schools. More on that later when I ask how MUCH I’m supposed to be sharing.




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