Startup Experience: Using Entrepreneurship and Innovation to Solve Social Problems #SocEnt

Henrik Scheel, founder of the Startup Experience Inc., brought the sun from California earlier this month, enlightening the Dartmouth College community with his workshop — How Might We Improve Lives Through Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship?

The Startup Experience re-defines design thinking and entrepreneurship. It inspires people to search for the most effective business that will ultimately improve an issue in the world, such as poverty.

And so the Dartmouth College community, composed of students, faculty, residents, and staff, participated in a two day workshop filled with several insights from experts that inspired and motivated groups to create a new business. Three of the groups that actually won prizes for having an exceptional idea for a new business were: Motivation Imagination, FairWorks, and Switch Green.

  • FairWorks - consists of accreditation programs that mitigates the advantages that other employers get when exploiting immigrant employees, by bestowing certificates that will increase competition to maintain “fair work.”
  • Motivation Imagination - consists of term-long board games that serve to motivate students in underperforming inner-city public schools. The game consists of a path of 45 squares, each representing a day of the academic quarter. At the end of each day, the class as a whole moves the game piece forward and draws two playing cards, one from the Community Development stack and the other from the Creativity and Fun stack--to solidify students’ connections between the purpose for their learning and their own lives.
  • Switch Green - consists of a switch that would be built into hotel rooms to reduce the amount of energy used in air conditioning. It would not require hotel guests to physically turn a switch. The air conditioning would automatically turn on or off, as soon as a hotel guest enters or leaves a hotel room.

Overall, the Startup Experience allowed the Dartmouth community to realize that one should not limit oneself, for two days is more than enough time to at least transform a state of mind.