Innovation & Entrepreneurship Academy

The Innovation & Entrepreneurship Academy provides a range of learning opportunities for those interested in expanding their skill set in innovation and entrepreneurship. Our sessions cover a broad set of topics, ranging from design thinking and developing innovative solutions to new venture funding, protecting intellectual property, and writing business plans. Academy offerings are designed for everyone—undergraduate students, graduate and professional students, faculty, staff, and community members. Whether you are looking for expertise in a specific area of innovation and entrepreneurship, committed to building a solid knowledge base, or simply curious to learn more, our programming provides opportunities to meet your needs. Participants are welcome to attend any or all of the sessions—RSVP registration links are located in each session description.

I&E Academy Spring 2019

What’s Your Problem?  Identifying Needs & Defining Problems for Social Innovation

Thursday, January 31, 2019

6:15 to 7:30 p.m., Gross 270

Facilitator: Matt Nash
Managing Director, Duke I&E Social Entrepreneurship
Sign up here.

Social entrepreneurs seeking to develop innovative, sustainable solutions in areas such as health, poverty, education, environmental sustainability, human rights, etc., often discover that these domains are full of “wicked problems”—seemingly unsolvable, intractable challenges with multiple, often systemic causes, and interwoven, exacerbating effects on several stakeholder groups. In this session, we will discuss and apply analytical tools and methods of human-centered design for problem discovery and analysis to help social entrepreneurs and the communities with whom they engage to diagnose and frame a problem with precision and clarity, and in such a way that the root causes of the problem, not just its symptoms, will be addressed.  NOTE: An info session for the Global Social Innovation Challenge will immediately follow the workshop from 7:30-7:45pm.  Come learn how to win up to $50,000 for your idea to change the world!


I Have an Idea. Do I Need a Lawyer?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

5:30 to 7 p.m., Gross Hall 270

Facilitator: Bryan McGann
Director, Duke Law Start-up Ventures Clinic
Sign up here.

Every new venture, whether a community-based nonprofit or the next big tech company, will eventually need the help of legal counsel. But when should entrepreneurs and start-ups seek this counsel? When is legal help urgent and when might it wait? The Duke Law Start-Up Ventures Clinic will offer guidance to entrepreneurs at all stages of the start-up process. Clinic Director and Supervising Attorney Bryan McGann, Supervising Attorney Thomas Williams, and student-attorneys from the clinic will present some practical guidelines and answer your questions. 

Designing Business Models for Social Impact

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

6:00pm to 7:30 p.m., Gross Hall 230E

Facilitator: Matt Nash
Managing Director, Duke I&E Social Entrepreneurship
Sign up here.

Every organization—whether for-profit or nonprofit, commercial or social enterprise—has a business model that describes how the organization creates, delivers, and captures value. In many cases, social entrepreneurs are most creative and add the greatest value in the design of their business model–they have a wide range of options for structuring their ventures, acquiring capital, pricing their services, paying their workers, and coming to terms with suppliers. Regardless of how effective an innovation is at achieving social impact, a social venture’s business model must be “sustainable” over the period of time required to achieve widespread, lasting impact. In this session, we will explore the fundamentals of social venture business models, consider alternative models for social value creation, and apply tools for documenting and refining business models to promote greater viability, scalability, and impact.

Designing a Presentation Your Brain Will Love

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

4:00pm to 6:00 p.m., HCA Auditorium, Fuqua School of Business

Facilitator: Michael Vaughn, Elon University

Your career growth hinges upon your ability to present your ideas to others.  So learn to do that well – in a way that engages and holds an audience – with tactical steps presented by Michael Vaughn.

Michael Vaughn is, by day, part of Elon University’s educational technology team where he helps faculty and students use technology to enhance their teaching and learning.  Among other things, he runs the campus’s makerspace.  He is passionate about presenting and training, and incorporates comedy into his training workshops – which he has led for over 48,000 people over the past 8 years.

Following the training, students are invited to participate in related hands-on exercises in a relaxed setting at the JB Duke (hotel bar area).

Hosted by Fuqua’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship, Fuqua’s Design + Innovation Club, and the Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative



Past I&E Academy Sessions