What started last year as an effort to solve COVID-19 challenges transformed into a fast-paced virtual competition for Kelley Direct Online MBA students.
Held over a weekend in April 2021, the Idea Blitz introduced students to the process of developing, testing, and validating a business idea. Kelley Direct offered the intensive experience in lieu of Kelley On Campus, an in-person experience that was postponed due to safety and travel concerns.
“The Kelley Direct faculty and staff have become very nimble and found ways to engage students in spite of the pandemic,” said Punyatoya Mohapatra, MBA’22, a member of the winning Idea Blitz team. “The Blitz was something I wouldn’t have gotten to do without Kelley Direct. It was different and unique.”
The Idea Blitz combines components of two classic innovation models—a design sprint and a startup weekend. As in a design sprint, the teams follow a process to surface an idea, uncover insights, and prototype the concept. The weekend ends with a video pitch to a judging panel of venture funding experts.
“We’ve developed a strong set of materials that help students navigate their way through idea development, prototype building, validation, and product pitch at a rapid pace—in just 48 hours,” said event co-organizer Regan Stevenson, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and management and the John and Donna Shoemaker Faculty Fellow. “That time pressure gives them a bias toward action. Instead of getting stuck on things, they are forced to make decisions. We show them how to take small steps in the right direction to get the data they need to make critical decisions.”
Stevenson co-teaches the Blitz curriculum with Will Geoghegan, Interim Chair of Kelley Direct Programs and clinical assistant professor, and Greg Fisher, Larry and Barbara Sharpf Professorship and associate professor of entrepreneurship.
From idea to pitch