Through I&E’s experiential entrepreneurship courses, aspiring innovators from across Duke’s graduate and professional schools work on an idea at any stage—from exploration to launch. You can work on your own idea or project, or a faculty project currently underway.

These courses complement your area of study and further your ambitions—whether you want to change the world with an innovation, work toward your dream of someday owning a practice or business, or support a future industry or academic career.

Many additional courses cross-listed under other departments count towards the elective requirements of the Graduate & Professional I&E Certificate. Visit the Certificate page to learn more.

The date, time, and location for each course can be found in DukeHub.

SPRING 2024

Max Stern

The course explores the pivotal role of customer validation in the entrepreneurial process, emphasizing the importance of understanding market needs, preferences, and behaviors to build successful and sustainable ventures. Throughout the semester, students will engage in a dynamic blend of theoretical learning and practical application, gaining insights into the intricacies of identifying, reaching, and validating target customer segments. The course will cover a range of topics, including market research methodologies, customer discovery techniques, and the iterative process of refining business models based on validated feedback.

Instructor: Judith Ledlee

Summary: Design Climate II: Develop is the second of the two-semester, project-based Design Climate sequence where student teams develop innovations for sustainability using Design Thinking. Design Climate II focuses on prototype development, market validation, and business model development. The start of Design Climate II allows students who did not participate in Design Climate I to enter the Design Climate Program. Design Climate provides a unique opportunity for graduate students (and high-level undergraduates) to cultivate capabilities in Design Thinking, sustainable product development, climate fundamentals, and business concepts. Student teams tackle climate challenges posed by Co-Designers (industry professionals or Duke faculty members) and address these challenges by using Design Thinking to develop new innovations. Through this project-based experience, students learn climate fundamentals such as life cycle assessment, environmental justice frameworks, and systems thinking as well as develop business models around their ideas which trains students in business fundamentals such as market analysis, product development and commercialization, and project management. The goal of venture development ensures commercial relevancy and provides a valuable educational experience that demonstrates business acumen and sustainable product development skills to future employers and corporate collaborators. Students are evaluated on their immersion into the Design Thinking process and regardless of their venture viability. The goal of venture development ensures commercial relevancy and provides a valuable educational experience that demonstrates business acumen and sustainable product development skills to future employers and corporate collaborators.

Dennis Clements

Students will engage with International entrepreneurs to learn about and support the design, development, validation, assessment, and scaling up of innovative, sustainable approaches to addressing critical health, social and environmental problems in East Africa, India or other countries.

Alexis Carpenter

Interdisciplinary teams are assigned technologies or business ideas to evaluate as the basis for the creation of a new venture. Teams present their conclusions and choose one project to take forward into the second half of the course where they develop a strategy for a new venture to commercialize or pursue the chosen idea. Teams perform an analysis and choose the target customer, develop a business model, create an approach to developing the venture with a view to sustainability, and develop a roadmap for execution in the short. The strategy shall be sufficient to serve as a foundation for a first operating plan for the company.

Eric Richardson

The Design in Healthcare 2 course is an experiential program and continuation of Design in Healthcare 1. It requires extensive team interaction and the direct application of skills in the process of preparing a medical device technology for development and eventual commercialization. Teams work through a development strategy to determine what work will be required to bring their technology forward, and the funding requirements and timing to raise capital at key milestones. The course concludes with an investor pitch to an outside panel of seasoned CEOs, VCs, and other members of the community. Prerequisite: Innovation & Entrepreneurship 720. Instructor consent required.

Aaron Dinin

Students will learn to communicate why others should value their ideas and innovations, using both verbal and non-verbal elements. The first weeks of the seminar series will focus on common principles of storytelling and the ways in which stories have, historically, been the cornerstone of disseminating new ideas and information as far back as Homeric epic to as recently as Instagram and TikTok. Students will spend the remainder of the time in small groups to practice communication and design by creating and workshopping a variety of narrative materials (e.g. essay, podcast, video, presentation, etc.) related to their primary work or scholarship in another discipline.

Aaron Dinin

This course is designed to lead you to a eureka moment by teaching you how to explore the world around you for problems worth solving. Instead of jumping directly into problem solving and solution development—which can often be wasteful without a clear understanding of a given market and customer need—this course focuses on research, exploration, and discovery. It asks students to set aside pre-conceived notions, avoiding some of their own blind spots, in order to do the necessary work of collecting data about market and learning to assess it as objectively as possible. This course is ideal for anyone who wants to excel at finding white space for new innovation and entrepreneurial action.

Jamie Jones

Do you want to design a business model around either your own idea or someone else's problem? In New Ventures Development you'll learn to assess opportunities, develop and test business models, understand your financials, and build successful teams. If you've validated an idea through New Ventures Discovery or through your independent customer discovery process, New Venture Development can facilitate idea to action. In this course, student teams will develop core elements of a strategy for a technology or business idea; detail will be suitable for a business plan document for a company seeking initial investment; strategy will serve as a foundation for a first operating plan for company.

  • Apply here to be a founder (you’ll have a team working on your startup).
  • Sign up in DukeHub (MBA students sign up here) to join a team in the course working on startups in edtech, cleantech, consumer products, international social enterprise, and beyond.

Jon Fjeld

Graduate students often have expertise in particular domains, but little business experience. Attaining business experience can take years and is often hard to navigate. Using entrepreneurship as a backdrop, this course provides a broad overview of business, including practical business fundamentals and theoretical frameworks for critical thinking. The course achieves this through theoretical frameworks, experiential education, and an analysis of competing companies. Students will experience the early stages of a typical startup, examine theoretical basis for startup success, understand managing and operating within an organization, and conduct a business analysis of competing companies.

Jessica Sawyer, Tso-Pang Yao

Introduction to major issues in developing a drug to treat a disease in an interdisciplinary lecture-based and team-based learning environment. Translation of principles in biomedical sciences, biomedical engineering, and chemistry along with innovative approaches to develop a hypothetical drug for treating a disease of choice. Hypothetical development of model compounds, target analysis, and in vitro and in vivo models to test drug efficacy. Course requires one of the following (or equivalent): Pharmacology and Cancer Biology 533, Chemistry 518, or Biomedical Engineering 577.

Fall 2023

Instructor: Departmental Staff

Students will engage with social entrepreneurs and other practitioners to learn about and support the design, development, validation, assessment, and scaling up of innovative, sustainable approaches to addressing critical social and environmental problems in Durham and around the world. For the service-learning component of the course, students will work in multidisciplinary teams to gather and analyze data, develop recommendations, formulate implementation plans, and provide other capacity-building support to clients that may include domestic and international social entrepreneurs, social enterprises, funders, public sector innovators, policy makers, and corporate social impact managers.

Instructor: Aria Chernik

Digital technology is not power-neutral; designed by humans, technological devices and systems are encoded with conscious and unconscious biases. In this learner-centered, problem-focused, and project-based course, students will investigate the relationship between how technology is designed and the impact a design has on reinforcing–and sometimes subverting–oppressive power structures in society such as racism and sexism. Students will learn about open design, an equity-centered innovation methodology, and, working in teams, apply it to create a prototype that addresses the problem of unethical technology development.

Instructor: Rob Hallford

The New Ventures Clinic – Healthcare is an opportunity for students to work on commercialization plans for technologies developed at Duke University, in particular in the areas of therapeutics (pharmaceuticals), diagnostics, and medical devices. In most cases, the students will work to define a plan for a start-up that would license the technology from Duke, but other strategies are also possible (e.g., not-for-profit).

The technologies chosen will have been screened by the Office of Licensing and Ventures, so they will all be determined to have commercial potential. The project teams will work in close collaboration with OLV.

Student teams will be assigned one technology to work on. They will have access to the scientist or inventor of the technology, and will also work with an academic and a business mentor. Teams will be interdisciplinary and students will gather and analyze data, develop recommendations, formulate implementation plans, and provide other capacity-building support to clients. Students will work on teams that have relevant business and technical backgrounds. Student teams will follow a structured process to develop a strategy and plan for the venture.

Instructor: Eric S Richardson

The course guides students through the process of human-centered design with the goal of developing a solution to a real-world, unmet need in healthcare. Students will learn to: 1) identify unmet, underserved and unarticulated needs using human-centered qualitative contextual primary research methods such as ethnographic research; 2) apply commercial business criteria in order to select viable business opportunities; 3) use creative and research-based processes to generate and/or identify potential solutions; and 4) document their design process in accordance with regulations. The course blends taught content with practical field application and team-based project execution. Instructor consent required.

Instructor: Eric S Richardson

The course requires extensive team interaction and the direct application of skills in the process of preparing a medical device technology for development and eventual commercialization. Teams assess and develop a strategy for they key areas of regulatory, reimbursement, and determining an appropriate business model. Teams will then work through a development strategy to determine what work will be required to bring their technology forward, as well as the funding requirements and timing to raise capital at key milestones. The course concludes with an investor pitch to an outside panel of seasoned CEOs, VCs, and other members of the community.

Instructor: Aaron Dinin

This course is designed to lead you to a eureka moment by teaching you how to explore the world around you for problems worth solving. Instead of jumping directly into problem solving and solution development—which can often be wasteful without a clear understanding of a given market and customer need—this course focuses on research, exploration, and discovery. It asks students to set aside pre-conceived notions, avoiding some of their own blind spots, in order to do the necessary work of collecting data about market and learning to assess it as objectively as possible. This course is ideal for anyone who wants to excel at finding white space for new innovation and entrepreneurial action.