After a morning of individual work time, the students reconvened in the iVenture Commons for a workshop from College of Engineering professor Bruce Litchfield. His class, which has many iVenture alumnas, focuses on the various creative processes, and how to best to tap into them. He began the session with a model of how to apply creative thinking to a startup venture, or the five I’s: identify, ideate, initiate, implement and integrate.
Dr. Litchfield felt it was important to give the teams an opportunity to inform him about who they were, what problem they were trying to solve, and an obstacle that they were running into. Each team gave a brief summary of their mission, as he listened attentively and excitedly. He was able to give each team encouraging, useful feedback, reminding the students that they should, “ get excited when you encounter an obstacle. That’s what you stay up at night for. That’s how you know you’re doing things people haven’t done before.”
This wisdom comes from a place of experience as he develops his own entrepreneurial venture, Sun Buckets. This startup, a mix of University of Illinois faculty and students, is creating a product that uses solar energy to power portable cooking devices. As he discussed his business’s hurdles, growth and goals, he candidly provided suggestions for our teams based on real experiences.
Students asked Dr. Litchfield great questions on topics from engineers wondering about technology to business students asking to hear about their decision making process. The discussion remained lively until after 4:30 pm, in which he shifted his focus on more one on one conversations with teams for more personalized guidance. It was a great way to close a productive Monday!