Business Startups: Social Media and Strategic Branding

Spring 2022
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 40
8 Credits per quarter
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Technology is now manipulating us at a level that is unprecedented. Many problems have emerged in the rise of new media and technology, from effects on our individual mental health, manipulative product reviews, to social influence on individual beliefs. This course asks students to identify an underlying problem in different types of platforms — social networking, social audio platforms, disappearing stories, social live streaming, shoppable social platforms (finance, music, health and wellness, games, etc.), and business social media to create novel solutions that will help foster more meaningful experiences and prevent mass social level manipulation.Traditionally, customer discovery centers on individual user experience. In this class, we are looking at the ways in which user experience can help us identify the problems for which participant behavior, culture, and complex systems of new media and platforms are the medium of solution design.In this experiential class, students are encouraged to explore how we interact with media and technology on the psychological level and apply their understanding.

This class will ask students to join multi-disciplinary teams from all fields to collaborate and develop a new business from the ground-up byapplying design thinking and other innovation frameworks to see through the wicked problems and come up with innovative solutions. How might we imagine a social network that appeals to our better natures than Facebook does today? How might we design a stock trading product like Robinhood that avoids mass purchase of worthless stock? Working in teams, students will invent novel solutions that leverage tech, prototype solutions. They will explore customer value propositions, business models, and go-to-market strategy, all while gaining fluency in the behavioral and cultural principles that might shed insights on how these tools are applied for ethical innovation. Our class will culminate with a series of fast pitches to industry executives to present the startups students worked on during the program.

This course will be on-line (using Zoom, and other digital platforms for sharing video, live-social audio, or podcasts, engaging in live small group activities and hands-on projects, and posting your work). To successfully participate in this program students need a computer and internet access. The faculty will offer alternative assignments if excruciating circumstances prevent students from accessing our synchronous meetings, which will allow students to earn comparable credit.


Spring 2022 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Fr - Sr (8): 30189

Academic details

Preparatory For

Business, Entrepreneurship, Product Design, Interactive Media, User Experience (UX) Research, Customer and Market Validation, Business Models, Go-to-Market Strategy, Product Lunch, Social Marketing, Business Social Media, Corporate Innovation, Teaching, Strategic Brand Leadership, Digital Business Models, Interactive Technology, Storytelling with Data, Art of Business Pitch, Giving and Receiving Feedback

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
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First Meeting