Lean Innovation Lab


Units: 12


Lean Innovation Lab is a specialized Heinz College course that is designed to challenge students to tackle new and emerging problems through mission-driven entrepreneurship. Students will select from a set of carefully curated, complex, & real-world problem sets. Students will learn about the problem sponsors as an organization, their culture, and their mission to instill a culture of relentless resilience and new innovative practices.

Students will learn to apply Lean Innovation frameworks and tools to identify key stakeholders, understand their needs, and develop and test iterative minimum viable products (MVPs) that lead to an applicable solution. Using a flipped-classroom approach, the students brief the teaching team on their progress each week and receive direct coaching from their instructors and advisors, mentors, and subject matter experts from across public and private entrepreneurship ecosystems. Problem sets will focus on solving problems across public agencies in government as well as dual-use applications in private sectors and industries.

Learning Outcomes

Skills and knowledge the students are expected to gain and how they will be assessed include:

-Obtaining hands-on experience in understanding and working with problem sponsors on real-world, current & relevant problems

-Applying appropriate Lean LaunchPad tools and techniques (MMC, VPC, etc.) to successfully organize and operate within the project boundaries which will allow for the proper evaluation, escalation, risk management, summarization, and congregation of appropriate deliverables to all stakeholders (beneficiaries, program sponsor, faculty, etc.) involved in the project.

-An appropriate selection and demonstration of hypothesis formulating, discovery, information gathering and hypothesis testing through confident knowledge and skills that will be applied to the final prototype and/or other deliverables.

-Development of critical thinking skills, interviewing, teamwork, complex problem solving, and building of professional networks through an entrepreneurial mindset.

-Applications of extracting insights from data collection for effective problem assessment and solving that are applied to the scope development through the creation of MVPs and that allow for a properly vetted design, construction, and eventual summation of the project.

-Clear, concise, and effective storytelling through the presentation of weekly findings and final deliverables with an implementation of a formal client signoff process that ensures proper closure to the expected final state of the project.

Prerequisites Description

Optional but strongly encouraged prerequisites include a background in lean innovation frameworks, project management or IT project management, critical thinking skills, estimation, organizational management, communication, and strategizing. This class will also utilize the strengths of the team to determine technological expertise to employ in problem sets.