Seminar: Entrepreneurial Prototyping

General Information


Entrepreneurial Prototyping 

Number WI001166SE
Type Seminar
Offered in Summer semester
Lecturer Nicola Breugst, Julia Kirsch


Course Description


Prototyping is a powerful method for creative processes such as new product development. It is essential in fields like engineering and design to validate new ideas. But it is also an effective technique for management, in particular when building new ventures. Here, founders often struggle to understand the various aspects that allow them to successfully transform their business idea. Treating new venture creation as a prototyping process enables them to quickly test assumptions about their ideas and rapidly progress in creating a sustainable business model. The widely applied ‘lean startups’ approach is one popular example of how to incorporate fast learning cycles into business development and essentially ‘prototype’ a new venture.

In this course, students will learn how do generate, assess, and transform ideas into actual products or business models. They will use prototyping as a means to communicate, test, and constantly update their assumptions, producing prototypes that range from ‘quick and dirty paper models’ to elaborate functional mockups. Students will experience how to develop more focused, understand better, and advance faster, when tackling new business challenges. Summarizing, this course introduces students to current prototyping techniques and advances their team-working and presentation skills in a collaborative project.

The seminar covers the following topics:

  • Opportunity recognition and creativity
  • Ideation
  • Design thinking
  • Business Model Canvas
  • Learn startup approach
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Market research and customer interviews



After the successful participation in the module, students are able to:

  • identify customer problems.
  • understand how the development of new products can solve the identified customer problems.
  • apply the principle of iterative prototyping based on customer feedback.
  • develop and validate business models.


Teaching and Learning Method

For this course media teaching options are used (e. g. Zoom). For detailed information please check moodle.

The module consists of a seminar and uses the following teaching methods:

  • Through lectures, supported by a presentation, instructors show how to (1) identify customer problems, (2) iteratively develop prototypes to solve these problems, and (3) develop and validate a business model for the commercialization of the solution to a problem.
  • In group work, students creatively identify real problems and develop possible solutions. This is supported by feedback sessions with experts and the lecturers.
  • In a presentation, students exercise the illustration the identified problem and its solution.



Good English language skills are required. Technical skills and/or a background in engineering or science is preferable.