Are you interested in Innovation?
Do you refuse to take no for an answer?
Are you passionate about an idea or cause?
Are you willing to go outside your comfort zone?
Do you dare to ask, why not?

If so, then the IDEAL Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is for you!

IDEAL Center students will learn design thinking, ­financial analysis, product/idea prototyping, and the marketing skills necessary to take an idea from conception to development. Through courses, co-curricular programming, internships, mentoring, and competitions, IDEAL is designed to support and educate the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs

The IDEAL center is home to students from across campus who envision a better way and dare to ask Why Not?

What is Design Thinking?

A proven and repeatable collaborative problem-solving framework, design thinking hinges on a few crucial steps:

  • Define a problem: you gather inspiration, discover what is needed, understand and empathize with the target audience, reframe the problem, and define scope
  • Consider options: you incubate and then ideate, generating breakthrough ideas through experiments and exploration
  • Refine the direction: you make the ideas tangible by building prototypes and then make them again even better
  • Deliver the best: you refine the best solution by deciding what is most feasible, desirable, and viable
  • Scale: you develop and share the story, inspiring action in those around you

The process is human-centered—innovation that begins with an understanding of customers’ or users’ unmet or unarticulated needs. The result is solution-focused—innovation that develops rapidly and uses a mix of logic, imagination, intuition, mechanical skills, and financial analysis.

In essence, you take inspiration, add empathy and evaluation, and transform it through tools into something real.

How will students approach IDEAL projects?

Using the IDEAL funnel, students will move through three stages

  • Inspiration: Finding problems from their own experiences, from the campus community, our local and global community and through learning experiences here and beyond.
  • Experimentation: Ideate and create using resources and tools in the maker space
  • Evaluation: Validate your solution to assess feasibility and variability. Compete and win resources for your ideas through the Leopard Business Plan competition and connect with entrepreneurs throughout the Lehigh Valley.

Stop by our office

At IDEAL,

We believe innovation is the domain of the deeply committed and seek to support students in both social and commercial entrepreneurship endeavors. Whether you are at the initial stage of idea formation or are looking for market validation for a product or service, we are your campus connection.

The IDEAL Center for Innovation + Entrepreneurship

101 Hogg Hall
ideal@lafayette.edu