Whatever your major is, and whatever your passions are, you'll find I&E courses that let you explore your interests and build innovation and entrepreneurship skills to help you in any career. You can learn about how to launch a venture, how to innovate using social media, or how entrepreneurs can help solve the world's most pressing problems. Take a deep dive into innovations in global health, the arts, ethical tech, and more.
Many additional courses cross-listed under other departments count towards the elective requirements of the Undergraduate I&E Certificate. Visit the Certificate page to learn more.
The date, time, and location for each course can be found in DukeHub.
Design Your Duke Journey (+Career!) is an interactive course that applies a design-thinking framework and mindset to career exploration and development. Students will learn to get curious, try stuff out and talk to people through experiential activities in and out of the classroom, self-reflection, readings and discussion. The intended goal is that students will learn how design thinking can help them explore options and opportunities, and at the same time, wrestle with the “wicked” problem of: How do I know if I’m on the right track, if I don’t know exactly what the destination is? This class is best suited for first-year or sophomore undergraduate students.
What’s an idea and how do you know it is a good idea? The only way to know if your idea meets the needs, situations, and pain points of people is to test it. Testing ideas requires you to go out into the world and engage with real people to more deeply understand their pain points and needs. In this course students will apply an entrepreneurial framework of discovery starting with their idea and validating it through a process of hypothesis testing and iteration. At the end of this course students will be able to identify meaningful problems, know how to test potential commercial/social solutions, and understand whether their idea solves a real need.
Most people spend their lives afraid of failing. Yet, many of the world’s most successful people failed numerous times on their paths toward success. The underlying question of this class is if failing is as antithetical to learning as we’re taught to believe. To explore this question, we will test ways of using failure as a strategy for learning. We will experiment with failure to learn how it can make us better as we develop our skills as innovators, specifically focusing on the earliest stage of creativity: ideation. We will use failure through experimentation as a technique for problem definition and needs discovery which, in turn, will help us validate the quality of our ideas.
Typical Duke students spend hours each day using social media. You’ve surely heard the platforms described as “revolutionary,” and you’ve also heard them described as “time wasters.” What you probably haven’t thought about is how similar they are to previous “revolutionary” communications technologies like novels, newspapers, and even language itself. This course explores ways in which studying the masters of previous “social” media technologies—the Shakespeares, Whitmans, and Eliots of the world—can help us understand how influencers on digital social media leverage the same platforms you use every day to market themselves, build their brands, and grow their audiences.
This course will provide an introduction to the field of social innovation. Through readings, classroom discussion, experiential learning, and individual and team assignments, the course will provide students with concepts and frameworks for understanding and practicing effective social innovation. The course develops a theory of innovation and describes examples of persons and organizations demonstrating innovative approaches. We will look at how to innovate effectively and the attributes and skills that cultivate such innovation. We will also explore the limitations of social innovation and consider critical arguments that the field must address.
Global health, both international and local, has a long way to go to support healthy lives. In this class, students will have the opportunity to gain understanding of how the Entrepreneurial method can help to improve health. Students will learn about the victories and the challenges, and in the end, will be better able to be successful in their future endeavors. Students will be challenged, and will have to work, but in the end, they will be proud of their accomplishments and newfound knowledge.
Rachel S Gelfand
The aim of this course is to critically analyze digital culture from a feminist and gender studies perspective. We will address topics related to digital innovation and its history, unpacking and questioning them through the insights offered by genders studies analytical tools. Subjects such as the rise of the Silicon Valley, gaming culture, social media, algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, extraction of data applied to biotechnology, macroeconomic development of IT platforms and the impact of technology on ecology will be discussed starting from a current event or debate, to which we will give a historical, ethical, sociological, theoretical, literary or cinematographic perspective.
Amy S Peters,
Isaac Isuk Park
When creating transformative technology based products and services the essential component to its success and positive impact on society is the central role of humans. This course explores this intersection of the humanities and technology. On the development side products are created in interdisciplinary teams through leadership, communication, process building, trust, experimentation, critical thinking, and problem solving. On the user experience side new innovations are successful when they are designed for and with humans in mind. Product managers must understand diverse cultures and customers. Concepts covered include needs finding, ethical product development, problem identification, market opportunity analysis, strategy, road mapping, product development, competitive analysis, branding, and life cycle management. Learning takes place using a mix of individual and team-based assignments, presentations, simulations and projects.
Anthropology as a discipline (a field of study) and the site where anthropologists work: the field. Combines theories of anthropological fieldwork methods with practice, including participation, observation, and interviews. Students undertake original research in a local field site of their choice and produce their own mini-ethnography. This requirement may also be satisfied by taking Cultural Anthropology 290A Duke in Ghana Anthropological Field Research.
Before Dollar Shave Club, we went to Target to save on Gillette. We still buy traditional brands at traditional stores. But a host of these disruptors are cutting out the middleman while redefining brick-and-mortar retail. Amazon now gets us whatever we want, whenever and wherever we want it. Dollar Shave Club quickly amassed 3 million subscribers. These “direct-to-consumer” brands control every customer interaction. These brands become as much about that experience as about the product itself. This requires customer empathy. Armed with these insights, we can create brands that reframe peoples’ category expectations and, in best cases, enhance their lives.
Course covers component elements of developing skills needed to launch a venture. Starting at the point of need identification, course covers lean methodology; innovation and entrepreneurship strategy; creating needed financing and resource structures; effectively marketing/communicating innovation and its associated benefits; leading, managing, and working effectively within teams; creating a positive and ethical work culture; and evaluating success. Materials for class discussion are case studies and readings. Course is only open to Innovation & Entrepreneurship Certificate students.
Application of microeconomic theory, such as game theory and industrial organization, to analyze business start-ups and their development. Focus on evaluation of the role of entrepreneurs in the macroeconomy, and the microeconomic performance of young businesses. The effects of government policies and economic fluctuations on entrepreneurs will be addressed, as well as an understanding of the organization and financial structure, development, and allocational decisions of growing entrepreneurial ventures. Prerequisite: Economics 201D.
Innovating for Social Impact will explore the ever-evolving intersection between the public sector, private sector, and non-profit organizations in delivering needed services around the world. With a global “to do list” in place via the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), world leaders are calling upon the private sector, NGOs and individuals to play an active role alongside governments in finding and implementing solutions. These partnerships are such a priority that “Partnership for the Goals” is specifically called out as one of the SDGs.
Focusing on “social impact” partnerships, this course will look at innovative ways that the individuals, influencers and the private sector are creating change along with the reasons driving their desire to do so. From a soda company delivering vaccines through their distribution channels and local restaurants being tapped to serve as the hot lunchroom for public schools to product lines like RED being created with the sole purpose of funding AIDS interventions and businesses like TOMS and Warby Parker embedding purpose as part of their company DNA, social problems and public needs are being tackled in innovative ways with collaboration across the public, private and non-profit sectors.
Brands and influencers are also leveraging their platforms with the specific intent of raising public engagement in important issues. These innovative marketing and communications strategies play an interesting and evolving role in shaping social action, and sometimes policy, as they drive mass audiences to take action via advocacy or with companies either via dollars they spend or by shaping the workplace from the inside out.
As the lines continue to blur on who does what and how, it is an important time to look at how collaboration across sectors can lead to real progress. By studying the various ways that these sectors are leveraging their talents, time and treasure to have an impact on social good, students will see there is no one way to be a change-maker. As many students will exercise professional and/or volunteer leadership in public-private sector issues during their careers, the enhanced knowledge, personal insight, and evaluation skills learned in this course should support them as they leave Duke and look to help solve the world’s most pressing problems, no matter what career path they choose.
In this course, students bring together interdisciplinary insights from their work throughout the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Certificate program to shed light on innovation and entrepreneurship and the roles they play in addressing the world's most pressing problems. The class will incorporate rich discussion, selected readings, and guest speakers addressing topics in innovation and entrepreneurship. Students will focus on applying what they have learned through the certificate curriculum to develop an innovation and entrepreneurship capstone project. Director of undergraduate studies consent required.
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.
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.