Skip to main content

Startup Weekend Phoenix gets support from ASU entrepreneur

February 27, 2014

Arizona professionals gathered in Phoenix last week for Startup Weekend Phoenix – a 54-hour event that offers entrepreneurs, developers, designers and marketers the chance to collaborate, share and develop ideas, and, most importantly, launch startups.

Sean Coleman, a faculty associate in The Design School, within ASU's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, was among them.

Coleman, who teaches DSC 394: Design & Entrepreneurship in Society and is a project manager for GoDaddy, was selected to serve as part of a small group of mentors for the event.

In his class at ASU, design students learn both the art and science of startups, as they must "identify, develop and launch an entrepreneurial venture that solves real customer problems and creates real value for its founders and society at large," says Coleman.

"Design students have the opportunity to leverage design thinking and creative approaches to solving customer problems," he says.

Getting people to think creatively around problems was just one part of Coleman's coaching gig at Startup Weekend Phoenix, which took place Feb. 21-23 at Coplex in Tempe.

He says encouraging people to stick to a roadmap of deliverables – specific tasks with deadlines in order to "get stuff done" – is a big part in mentoring the event.

Coleman says he also finds that teams "generally need a lot of help around the areas of market validation (especially with primary research), product scoping and crafting the case for their project."

After a 54-hour frenzy of networking, workshopping and troubleshooting, Startup Weekend Phoenix culminates in a series of presentations before a group of local entrepreneurial leaders, including Coleman, for yet another opportunity for feedback.

And feedback is important, as Coleman well knows. One segment of his course at ASU is giving students the opportunity to present their work to external groups.

When it comes to coaching and teaching, getting people to think critically about what they are doing is essential.

"You want to avoid answering how questions, and pose why questions instead," says Coleman.