Entrepreneurship: From Idea to Early Product Design

III. August 8–12, 2022
Day & Time:
Monday–Friday, 9:10–11:00 a.m. and 1:10–3:00 p.m.
Michelle Greenwald, Jack McGourty

“I feel I have learned so much about becoming an entrepreneur and how to come up with different ideas/products.” – Emily V. | Jackson, New Jersey

Course Description

This intensive ten-session course takes an applied, practical approach to the development, testing, and validation of customer or community-driven product solutions. By learning and applying contemporary design-thinking concepts and tools, students generate innovative solutions to important customer or community problems. During the program, students identify and define a major problem to be solved, work with real customers to better understand the problem from their perspective, generate multiple solutions, then choose a solution to test with real customers. Students acquire practical knowledge and tools focusing on the development, testing, and validation of new products that solve real customer problems and needs, from idea to early product development.

Students can expect to learn how to:

  • identify and articulate customer problems in an accurate way, reflecting how individuals truly experience the problem and its challenges
  • create effective customer surveys to help validate your assumptions on customer problems (pain points), solutions, and benefits (expected outcomes)
  • assess current solutions provided in the marketplace in order to build on best practices as well as identify gap areas
  • develop a minimal viable product in order to gain additional feedback on specific solution features
  • measure and validate customer needs fulfillment or social impact assumptions
  • develop a solution (business or social enterprise) model to test your assumptions about customer interests, acceptance, and use

Participants are expected to bring laptops for this class.


Michelle Greenwald

Michelle Greenwald has served as Senior Vice President for New Business Development at Disney and Vice President and General Manager for New Products at Pepsi-Cola. She has taught at Columbia Business School and at the New York University (NYU) Stern Graduate School of Business, and she guest lectures at graduate business schools all over the world. She specializes in marketing strategy, marketing plans, new products and services development, global marketing, and innovation techniques. Greenwald wrote the book Catalyzing Innovation to help corporations and entrepreneurs innovate more systematically, and she writes a column for Forbes.com about innovation and provides executive education programs through her consulting firm Marketing Visualized. She is also CEO of Inventours, which provides global executives access to innovation thought-leaders in the world's most creative cities. Greenwald was selected by Advertising Age Magazine as “One of the 100 Best and Brightest Women in Advertising and Marketing in the U.S.” She holds a B.A. in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University University.

Jack McGourty

Jack McGourty Ph.D. is Director of Community and Global Entrepreneurship at the Columbia Business School and a faculty member teaching courses in entrepreneurship; venture creation, and product innovation. Prior to joining the Columbia Business School, Jack was Vice Dean for Columbia’s Engineering School. For over 20 years, Jack has been an active member of the University's entrepreneurial community, establishing an undergraduate minor in entrepreneurship, teaching core and advanced courses in new venture creation & growth, and launching the Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center. Jack is the driving force behind Venture for All®, a program designed to educate aspiring entrepreneurs in emerging global markets. He is the recipient of the Columbia Engineering School’s Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award and Columbia Business School’s Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence. He is also co-author of the Wiley publication, Patterns of Entrepreneurship Management, 6th Edition, published in 2020.

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Specific course detail such as hours and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.