STUDENT DESIGN ENTREPRENEURSHIP, FROM CONCEPT TO RETAIL IN NINETY DAYS
Editor: Guy Bingham, Darren Southee, John McCardle, Ahmed Kovacevic, Erik Bohemia, Brian Parkinson
Author: Richard Elaver
Institution: Appalachian State University
The intent of this paper is to outline the need and benefit of integrating design entrepreneurship
training in product design education, and to provide a case-study for how to create an educational
experience that synthesizes the many aspects of design entrepreneurship through a participatory
action-oriented studio project.
In recent years, access to manufacturing, financing, and distribution has changed dramatically, and this
is having a significant effect on how new products are being developed and marketed. This has
resulted in a growing opportunity for smaller-scale projects involving a small number of adaptable
individuals with flexible skillsets. Design students with training in entrepreneurship are uniquely
qualified for this type of work, empowered to produce and market their own designs or work with
others to start a niche product company.
To prepare students for this changing marketplace, it is helpful to create synthesized participatory
experiences through which students apply the concepts and skills associated with design
entrepreneurship. This paper introduces a hands-on project that has been utilized for two years in an
undergraduate Product Design curriculum, in which students work through the entire process of
product development, from concept and research, design development and manufacturing, branding
and marketing, to packaging and retail. The project culminates in a business plan and a retail event.
Such training has the benefit of preparing students for future work, either in industry or as an
entrepreneur, and deepening their understanding of the role of Product Design in the larger business
context of new product development.