The Design for Extreme Impact pitch event, a major assignment for the Managerial Thinking course of the Tsinghua Global MBA Program, was recently held. This course assignment was co-designed by Tsinghua x-lab, or Tsinghua x-space, an educational platform for student creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. It was the first time the Tsinghua GMBA program included creativity and social innovation into its module and held a pitch event to display course projects, which marked a brave attempt on innovation and entrepreneurship education at Tsinghua University.
Managerial Thinking is taught by Mr. Steven White, Associate Professor of Department of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategy of Tsinghua SEM and Deputy Director of Tsinghua x-lab. Mr. Zhang Wei, Associate Professor of Department of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategy of Tsinghua SEM and Director of Tsinghua x-lab also participated in course design. Tsinghua x-lab co-hosted the pitch event with the Tsinghua MBA Program, and willingly helped the excellent teams develop their creative social innovation projects in the x-lab.
According to Professor White, this pitch event was a brand new attempt. It brought social innovation into the course and integrated user research and design thinking in it for the first time. This creative social innovation module required students to set up teams, choose topics concerning existing challenges in environment, food, resources, medicine & health, education and other fields for further study. Then students needed to keep adjusting their solution according to feedback from users until reaching a viable one. The solution could be products, services, or policies. As Professor White said, “Social innovation opened a door for international students to integrate in and better understand China through this course”. For a long time, he has been engaged in exploratory research to enhance the course and made brave innovations based on the old course versions. Most importantly, during the semester he took the GMBA students to the Tsinghua x-lab Multifunction Innovation and Entrepreneurship Space at Tsinghua Science & Technology Park, so that students could see with their own eyes the development of x-lab and the whole package of supports they would get for innovation and business startup. Professor White hoped that students’ assignment projects in this course could be further developed in Tsinghua x-lab.
Mr. Steven White, Associate Professor of Department of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategy of Tsinghua University and Deputy Director of Tsinghua x-lab, Opening the Pitch Event
Professor Zhang Wei opened the pitch event and briefed Global MBA students about Tsinghua x-lab. He said that Tsinghua x-lab, as Tsinghua University’s education platform for creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, had been focusing on inspiring creativity and innovation and boosting the development of good innovations, particularly social innovation. Tsinghua x-lab never stopped seeking better ways to encourage students, particularly those with good ideas, to make innovation practices and solve problems. The course, Managerial Thinking, was expected to generate good social innovation projects that could hopefully move to the next step of startup in Tsinghua x-lab.
As a representative of Tsinghua x-lab startup teams, Li Yizhou, co-founder of ThinkSky Technology, PhD of Tsinghua Academy of Arts and Design delivered a wonderful speech about the origin of his innovation project and his startup story of sleep experience and sleep products. Li’s presentation demonstrated Tsinghua x-lab startup teams’ professionalism, inspired audience to think over the feasibility of its commercialization, and made all students full of expectations for the future of these projects.
Li Yizhou, PhD of Tsinghua Academy of Arts & Design, Presenting His Project to the Audience as a Representative of Tsinghua Startup Teams
At the pitch event, nineteen teams of GMBA students spent seven hours presenting their research results and solutions after two months’ hard work. Professor White commended the course’s role in helping students understand how to learn from practice and how to conduct goal-oriented learning. He said, “I also benefited a lot from both the course innovation and today’s pitch event” and “this is the best thanksgiving gift I’ve got this year”.
Students Teams at the Pitch Event
Professor Steven White and the Winning Team
At the pitch event, ten judges, China Radio International anchors and other distinguished guests raised questions and offered advice based on the individual projects. The judges included WANG Dongxiang, Tsinghua x-lab entrepreneur in residence and partner of Advantage Ventures, MA Rui, Tsinghua x-lab angel investor in residence and investor of Silicon Valley incubator 500 Startups, Sebastian Kuebler, partner of TXD Ventures, Sam LEE from InnoCSR and global partner of Tsinghua x-lab, Director of UNDP China, renowned social innovation entrepreneurs and senior partners of management consulting companies.
3D Printed Creative Gifts from Tsinghua x-lab Startup Team AOD
Judges Making Comments
At the end of the pitch event, Professor White announced the team rankings according to their scores. Each winning team member got a classic book on entrepreneurship and a creative 3D printed gift from AOD, a Tsinghua x-lab startup team. Students said they really enjoyed the pitch event, and for many of them this event would be their beginning to change the world with innovation. Currently, some students are preparing to begin their projects in Tsinghua x-lab where these projects were expected to shine.
By Tsinghua x-lab correspondents XING Xiaodan & ZHENG Qi