San Diego State University


The Beginning

San Diego State University has been working long to establish its entrepreneurship program as a model for other educators to follow. The Lavin Entrepreneurship was the recipient of the NASDAQ Center of Entrepreneurial Excellence Award by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurial Centers (GCEC). A grant from the Moxie Foundation had provided the means to create an innovation center as well, and to establish the Zahn Innovation Platform.

What both entrepreneurs and innovators were finding was that there was not component for creativity; nothing in place to help generate new ideas for entrepreneurship and no proven process to help solve the problems innovation often created.

The Change

The University selected The Idea Guy to establish the Idea Lab, an extension of the Zahn Innovation Platform, and resource for their community of 47,000 students, faculty, staff and administrators.

A facility was designed with whiteboard walls, electric stand-sit desks and bean bags to disarm participants from the mental restrictions often assigned when one walks onto a campus or formal workplace. Music from the ceiling and blinds on the large windows were used to set mood, and 110″ video project helped share images while participants used dry-erase markers to make notations.

Undergraduate and graduate student interns were trained to provide more than 3,300 hours of support for lectures, workshops, training and consulting. Each gained a year of professional experience to add to their resume as a consultant teaching design thinking.

The Results

Today, entrepreneurs and innovators have process, resources and consultants to help them generate new ideas and solve problems.

“Kevin’s Design Thinking process WORKS. I cannot stress enough how crucial Kevin and his team at The Idea Lab were in the beginning days for my company. They were there for us every step of the way, and always kept us accountable. If you are someone who has an idea and are not sure what to do next, please do yourself a favor and get in contact with Kevin. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor and better experience, he is the man! – Carlos CortesFounder, Bomfy B”

The ZIP Idea Lab has gained national recognition for its process and efficacy in teaching design thinking as documented in an interview with Alaska Airlines Magazine.

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