Workshop 2: Assessing Opportunities and Value Proposition

On February 22, 2022, DifferenceMaker held the second workshop series session to prepare students for the $50,000 Idea Challenge this semester. The topic addressed was assessing opportunities and value proposition.

To start off the event, Rist DifferenceMaker Fellow David Vatalaro opened by providing a brief recap of what occurred during the first workshop session, which highlighted identifying problems. Then, he introduced the guest presenters for the night, which were Professor Brent Shell, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences, and Professor Neil Shortland, College of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

Rist DifferenceMaker Fellow David Vatalaro providing a shoutout of the faculty fellows who are available to mentor and support students on their ideas.

After the introduction, Professor Shell mentioned that while our ideas seem incredibly valuable to us, it may not be the case for potential customers and buyers. He provided the example of pickle toothpaste, which is unique to him. However, at the end of the day, no one ends up purchasing it. Assessing opportunities is important because it allows you to see if it is worthwhile creating the product before it is too late. If there are no willing buyers, the product does not fill a customer need or add enough value. Therefore, market research is imperative.

Professor Shell assisting students with their project’s opportunities.

Then, students were given time to write down their opportunities on the “target market opportunity” and “competition opportunity” worksheets. DifferenceMaker mentors Ryan Berube, Vice President, Commercial Loan Officer, Lowell Five and Steve DeVries, FocalPoint Certified Business and Executive Coach, FocalPoint Coaching walked around and further helped guide students with this process. After some time on this, students presented their work to the audience, receiving feedback from the presenters.

Mentor Ryan Berube providing advice to students working on a cost-effective solution for EpiPens.

Then, Professor Shortland presented the importance of value propositions. A value proposition demonstrates how a potential solution provides more value than what competitors are currently offering. Students broke out into groups again to work on their value propositions on poster boards, then were given the chance to share their ideas with the audience.

Professor Shortland presenting on how benefits must outweigh costs to be beneficial to you and your customers.

Thank you to everyone that joined DifferenceMaker for Workshop 2! If you are interested in learning how to further develop your project for the $50,000 Idea Challenge, recruiting new team members, and gaining new skills, please register for the upcoming workshops. Dinner is served at each session, which all take place from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at Lydon Library, Room 110, North Campus:  

Workshop 3 – Developing Business Models, February 24 

Workshop 4 – Delivering Your Rocket Pitch, March 17 

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