From Ideation to Startup

Learning Outcome: 

  • This exercise teaches students techniques in how to develop original creative vision for the purposes of entrepreneurship and then take the initial steps towards startup.

Write down and answer the following questions:

1. What is the status quo? Entrepreneurship is often a reaction tovision the status quo, as the entrepreneur changes the landscape of the market through their market entry.There are only so many resources, so many potential donors available in the market. Your competition knows this. The status quo can be represented in your work life, your country’s cultural artistic offerings, communal values, a political situation, etc. What status quo are you facing with your vision? What landscape will you potentially alter?

2.How did the status quo come to be? Dig into its history. Understand it and who the players are in the field/market. What makes each of them different?

3. What do you perceive to be missing? Is there something missing? Let me ask this in another way: What do you wish were available/offered/existed, was a new standard? What are the gaps in the market? What do you wish would come to be?

4.How is what is missing different? How is what you perceive to be missing different? How is it different from what currently exists? More importantly, how is it necessary? Being necessary can lead to profitability.

5.If you were to fill that gapwhat would that look like? What would it be and what would it be like?

6.How might you, personally, do it? How would you, personally, do this, if you could, if it were possible?

7.Is it possible? If your vision is not possible, why? Can those obstacles be overcome? If so, how?

8. What strengths, talents and skills do you have that you can bring to the equation? What do you have available that can help you?

9.What weaknesses do you have? What challenges you from moving forward? What areas do you need help with?

10.Budget. Can you acquire what is needed? What would that take? First understand cost and then ask what would you need to do to begin gathering your necessary resources?

11.Can you scale it back? If you were to scale down your larger vision and reduce it to a concept that utilizes only the resources you have at hand or can acquire right now, (known as “bootstrapping”), what might that look like?

12.What threats do you face? Market competition is typically the entrepreneur’s greatest threat. Changes in trends, recession, acts of war, changes in trends and popular interest and other factors can serve as threats.

13.Who else feels passionately about this need? People like to help those who share their passion, especially if it is a unique passion.

14.Who needs your idea? Get really specific. This is your demographic and customer base/audience. Where are they? Where do they live? What do they drive? What do they like and dislike? What are their interests? There are over seven billion people on this planet. Patterns emerge. What people are you appealing to? Who is going to pay for what you do?

15.Can your vision match their needs? What do these people seek? What do they need? What do they love and want? In other words, what will resonate for your tribe, people, audience, customers?

16.Is there value in filling the gap you have perceived? Can you put a value on your altering the status quo and serving of audience and customers? What is it worth to the people who need it? How has your competition approached their similar audiences?

17.Can you start now? What small measures can you take today to begin the process of momentum? If you were to accomplish this dream, this vision, this goal, what 5 things (baby steps at the beginning), what can you begin today—and realistically achieve?

18.Are you willing to commit to filling your gap? If yes, do so. If not, why not?

19.Create a “To Do” list. To Do lists are about creating goals, which create clarity and purpose in our minds. They also give our limited daily energies a focus. Set up your short term, medium and long-range goals and work towards them everyday.

20.Complete your To Do list today and start again tomorrow. Consistency of effort and action are keys to accomplishing large-scale tasks.


These twenty steps can serve as a creative’s window into entrepreneurial vision to startup. Once they see the dream, perceive opportunity and have an idea of how to fill such gap, how to bootstrap–once they know their customers, have a budget, assess their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, they can begin with greater confidence.

Goethe famously said, “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

I like to say that the hardest part of planning an extended trip abroad is to buy the ticket. But once the ticket is bought, you have overcome the initial hurdle from inertia to momentum. You have started your adventure. But until the ticket is purchased, you are not going anywhere.

Truly there is magic in beginning. There is also magic in the process of change, of altering the status quo and providing value by fulfilling the needs of others.

If you would like to use these games or exercises in your own classroom, please do! If you do, let me know how how it goes and if you have suggestions for modifying a game. 

I can be reached at 

Creative Commons License
From Ideation to Startup by James David Hart is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


About James Hart

Jim Hart currently serves as Interim Chair of Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship & Director of Arts Entrepreneurship at Southern Methodist University, Meadows School of the Arts. Hart is also the founder of The International Theatre Academy Norway.
This entry was posted in Bootstrapping, Budgeting, Momentum, Perceiving Opportunity, SWOT Analysis, Vision and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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