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MAN 631 Creativity and Entrepreneurship in Practice (2016)

MAN 631 Creativity and Entrepreneurship in Practice (2016)

Course Syllabus

Creativity and Entrepreneurship in Practice introduces students to the more practical elements of innovation and entrepreneurship. In this class, you will design your own product or service and ideally have an early stage (proptech) startup by the end of the term. You will also reach out to potential customers and provide a pitch presentation in front of investors and an expert jury by the end of the semester. Please note that developing your business idea is a team effort, lots of fun and quite a thrill but also requires lots of dedication, commitment and long nights of work with your team outside of the classroom. This year, the focus will be set on ideas in the real estate sector (proptech). For the winning teams of the final pitches, there are interesting options to obtain real seed financing. Are you ready for a challenge and do you want to change the world? Join us!

This course focuses on four main themes:

  • encouraging students to investigate and experience creative processes to generate and assess entrepreneurial ideas
  • preparing students to implement innovative ideas in the marketplace 
  • encouraging students to develop their own startup including a business plan (15-20 pages) + pitch presentation
  • this year, business challenges have the guiding theme to solve problems in the real estate context (more information below)

Registration 2016:

Please register via the Student Portal during the central registration period (September 5-11). Make sure to login with Portal² before you click on the link. In case of excess demand for a class, there will be a central lottery/ spot allocation conducted by the Dean's Office of the Business School of the University of Mannheim. We cannot influence the outcome of this student allocation. Please do not ask us for exceptions or waiting list positions before the course allocation has been completed. Students signing up for this class should also be aware that they are expected to found a business as a result of their team effort by the end of this class. Participation is binding as of session 1 or your spot will be given to a student on the (potential) waiting list! Course decisions are final.  

The course will start on Friday, September 16, 2016. In addition to the rooms mentioned in our course schedule, we will have room 210 (L9, 1-2) reserved (2nd floor) for team breakout sessions throughout the course. Our new (still to be re-designed) DesignLab will offer you lots of space to be creative an be available as of October. 

Syllabus “Creativity & Entrepreneurship in Practice” Fall term 2016 

Session Date  Time Room Topic
1 16.09. (Friday) 8.30-11.45 004 (L9, 1-2) Introduction and Team building 
2 26.09. (Monday) 15.30-19.00 001 (L9, 1-2) Design Thinking

07.10. (Friday)

12.00-15.15 004 (L9, 1-2) Group work - application of the lessons learned and idea generation
4 21.10. (Friday) 13.30-16.30 001 (L9, 1-2) Market Research and Entrepreneurial Marketing (including team session)
5 04.11. (Friday) 12.00-15.15 001 (L9, 1-2) Business Modeling, Business Planning and Entrepreneurial Finance
6 18.11. (Friday) 12.00-15.15 004 (L9, 1-2)

Investor Pitching (including team session and Q&A)

7 25.11. (Friday) 12.00-17.00 004 (L9, 1-2) Preparation of product showcase/ pitch presentation; classroom will be available.
8 02.12. (Friday)



001 (L9, 1-2) or O138 Castle

 Final Presentations and Real Pitch (open to public). 

As of 20.00: Party and winner's ceremony in Café L3

Time: Various times due to speaker and room availability. 

Lecturers & Coaches: 

Andrew Isaak, Dr. Dennis Lips, Dr. Jan Zybura 

Students will generate and realize their own business idea. Teamwork on the projects will be carried out by groups of four persons minimum to six persons maximum. Interdisciplinary teams are highly desirable. Thus, students from all disciplines are highly encouraged to apply. 

Learning outcomes:

By the end of the module students will have:

  • explored and developed their own entrepreneurial creativity
  • invented and presented a new idea or concept that solves a problem that they have discovered with their team; doing so they discover latent customer demand/ a pain point by reaching out to real customers early
  • experienced and applied a creative problem solving process
  • developed skills and abilities that can be applied to improve their effectiveness in founding a business, the rest of their studies and in life outside the curriculum
  • developed a business plan for a concrete start up project and a pitch presentation
  • started a startup in the very early stage that they can leverage (we provide the proper network via our Startup Lounges and the final expert panel judging the pitch presentations)

Student Obligations

Our students are expected to join and support our Startup Lounges and Founder Talks on a regular basis - it is part of your homework. Transferring insights from class to the real world by learning from real startups and their challenges forms a substantial part of your learning. Remember that networking is an enabler of amazing opportunities.

Recommended Readings & Resources



  • Business Model Generation (BMG), Osterwalder and Pigneur
  • The Lean Startup (Portfolio Penguin), Eric Ries
  • The Startup Owner’s Manual (SOM), Blank and Dorf
  • If You Really Want to Change The World (HBR), Kressel and Winarsky


40% business plan on group project; 40% group project presentation; 20% regular attendance, participation and keeping a "Startup Founder's Diary"



Why focus on real estate technology (proptech) in a school of management? The next big thing?

Let’s begin with some motivation for the real estate sector:
  • It is the largest asset class in the world ($41 Trillion in the US, $31 Trillion in Europe according to EuroStat);
  • It is the largest source of personal wealth for many households;
  • Changes in real estate wealth are a key driver for the economy;
  • The built environment reflects the values of a society.

Why technology will disrupt the real estate industry:
Real estate is a sector of the economy that’s created immense wealth without changing their workflows or processes for many decades, so there’s a predisposed lack of urgency to upgrade the ol’ tool belt (TechCrunch). The rise of proptech (…) [first] opened the residential property market up for transparency and information, whilst making the process of searching for a new home simpler and more efficient (IA Property). Numbers show the interest in and the potential of proptech:
  • Worldwide investments in proptech-ventures significantly increased over the last 3 years: in 2015 alone funding of proptech startups increased to $1.7bn (Catella).
  • However, proptech in Europe with only 4% of worldwide investments is still in a nascent phase and has yet to be established in some countries (Catella).
  • In Germany, there are already more than 100 proptech companies. However, 74% of those companies are about listing services/tech-enabled brokerages (Gewerbe-Quadrat).
  • Other near-term opportunities for innovation are: property management, research and analytics, mobile applications, residential and commercial lending.

Students with various backgrounds are essential to this class! Everybody is welcome to sign up and apply! In case there is a conflict with your faculty/area of study, please let us know and we will try to sort things out!

Please register via the student portal ( during the central registration period (September 5-11).


Good luck with your course application! We're looking forward to having you in class! 


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