Persona Ideation & 3 Ideas

This game is designed to teach students how to increase the probability of success with their original concept by creating with a specific person (persona) in mind. In this game, students are divided into pairs and each student identifies themselves as either A or B. They are asked to interview each other by asking the following questions:

  1. What do you love to think about?
  2. What problems do you see in the world?
  3. What keeps you up at night?
  4. What car do you drive (if you do)?
  5. What websites do you frequent?
  6. What apps are your favorite (if any)?
  7. What do you want to be doing in 10 years?
  8. Where did you grow up?
  9. How old are you?
  10. Do you have a job outside of school?
  11. What are you studying?
  12. Name three things you are passionate about.
  13. If you could make your life easier, how would you do that?
  14. What do you like to do with friends for fun?
  15. What do you spend disposable income on?

Once they have each interviewed each other, each student creates 3 original entrepreneurial concepts with their partner, specifically, in mind. Each person is then asked if they like any of the three ideas that were created specifically with them in mind. Then each evaluates each idea, identifying if they did not like it, liked it, liked it a lot or passionately liked it:

like or passionately like

In my own classroom, I have found remarkable results. I conducted this exercise over a week with a wide range of cross-disciplinary students in multiple classes. This is what I found:

100    students participated.

247    original ideas were generated.

13       ideas were not liked.

111      ideas were “passionately liked”.


95%   of the ideas were at least liked. 44%   were passionately liked.  This demonstrates that when an entrepreneur creates with a specific customer’s needs, interests, desires, fears and passions in mind, rather than just their own (and then trying to find people who are also into what they are offering), one increases their own odds of success.

This exercise and the notion of creating with a customer in mind were inspired by the work of Bill Aulet and his book “Disciplined Entrepreneurship.” 

Creative Commons License
Persona Ideation & 3 Ideas by James David Hart is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Based on work at

(c) 2015, James David Hart


About James Hart

Jim Hart serves as Director of Arts Entrepreneurship at Southern Methodist University, Meadows School of the Arts. Hart is also the founder of The International Theatre Academy Norway and co-founder of the Society for Arts Entrepreneurship Education. Hart is a multi-award winning educator, often recognized for innovation and pedagogy.
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1 Response to Persona Ideation & 3 Ideas

  1. I did the Personal Ideation and 3 Ideas game with my Intro to Arts Entrepreneurship course at NC State this morning. It was perfect for what I needed! The course is designed for students with little to no entrepreneurial experience, and this game provided an engaging way to illustrate the basic concept of entrepreneurship and the importance of understanding your market’s values. It also makes a great icebreaker early in the semester. I think I will also use it in my feasibility study class as a brainstorming catalyst.


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