What It Takes to be an Innovator

What It Takes to be an Innovator

Target Grade Level / Age Range:

8th grade

Estimated Time: 

45-minute class period 

Purpose:

Students will understand that there are different kinds of entrepreneurs and that they utilize innovation into their businesses. 

Materials:

  • Printed self-assessment worksheet, one per student
  • Pen or pencil for every student
  • 10 technology devices such as iPads, phones, or computers with internet access
  • Projector from educator’s laptop and screen

Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)

Vocabulary  

  • Innovator: someone who creates, or pioneers, a completely new idea or a way of doing things
  • Imitator entrepreneur: an entrepreneur who creates their own business by adding to someone else’s idea.
  • Entrepreneur: someone who starts a business from scratch taking all of the profits and losses 

Background – Agricultural Connections 

Kinze is one of the largest privately held agriculture equipment manufacturers in North America. 21-year-old Jon Kinzenbaw started it in 1965. He was a farm boy from Victor, Iowa, who opened his welding shop with $25 and a bank loan. Kinzenbaw would create innovations after hearing the surrounding farmers complain about how things were not working the way they would like.
Innovators are entrepreneurs who create a brand-new way of doing things or a new idea. Examples include:
  • Elon Musk with Tesla changing transportation on Earth and space.
  • Walt Disney, with his animation influencing the entertainment industry as a whole, his creativity led to the creation of iconic characters, movies, theme parks, and games.
  • Reed Hastings co-founded Netflix, which revolutionized how the world was entertained. Netflix started as a DVD subscription service, then later streamed content.
  • John Kinzenbaw created Kinze manufacturing.

Imitator entrepreneurs add on to someone else’s idea to create their own business. Examples include:

  • Google Home was created one year after the Amazon Echo was released. Google Home offered an easier way to connect to Google Calendar and Gmail and is smaller than the Amazon Echo at release time.
  • Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, did not create the first social media site. There were dating and social media sites, like Myspace, already out there.

Interest Approach – Engagement 

At the beginning of the class, ask students what minor problem they have experienced in the last week. A small problem could be not getting their locker open, being late for school because of a sibling, etc. Write these ideas to build the list the class just made. Explain to students that this is where entrepreneurs start. They see a problem, and they think of a way to fix it. 
Ultimately, this idea of fixing problems could help solve much larger problems like climate change, disease, or poverty. But entrepreneurs start small and then grow their ideas. 

Procedures

  1. After finishing the engagement activity, hand out the https://www.kansascityfed.org/documents/7572/entrepreneurial-self-assessment.pdf worksheet.  Ask students to spend a few minutes filling out the assessment. When filling out the worksheet, each student will place a number 1-5 next to each statement. The statement will be something that each student can self-reflect on about themselves. They will put a five if they strongly agree with the statement, a one if they strongly disagree, or a number in between. At the end of the worksheet, have each student total their final score. According to the worksheet, the higher the score, the more likely the student will excel at being an entrepreneur. 
  2. Once they finish, ask all students to stand up. Starting at the bottom of the worksheet, ask students to sit down if they got a score of 15-20, then ask 21-37, and so on. Once the last group of students is standing, ask the students if they think they could imagine themselves owning a business someday.
  3. Have all of the students sit down. Ask them, based on the worksheet, what kind of qualities does an entrepreneur have. Answers won’t be exact, but look for responses like hard workers, want financial success, energetic, take risks, achieve, be independent, etc. 
  4. Watch Jeff Bezos video: I Created Amazon.com | Jeff Bezos Amazon Story - YouTube 
  5. Ask students what kind of characteristics of an entrepreneur they saw Jeff Bezos have. Look specifically for the answer “adapting to new ideas.” Explain that this is called innovation. Entrepreneurs have to be innovators, or else their business will fail. Explain how Kodak sold film and film cameras and never adapted to digital, causing them to become bankrupt. They did not adapt to the times as innovators do.
  6. Ask students if any of them have heard of Kinze. If not, ask if they have seen blue agriculture equipment in the field. If they have, that is Kinze. Kinze is an innovative company right here in Iowa.
  7. Watch innovation video over Kinze: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZZv46vRIq4
    1. Have students take out iPads, computers, or whatever technology device that has access to the internet. If more than ten students are playing, put them in pairs or groups and have them think of a team name. Play a game of Kahoot to summarize what they have learned.
    2. Click on the Kahoot link. It will bring you to a summary of the questions. https://create.kahoot.it/share/types-of-entrepreneurs/4ff2c76d-b8bc-4c99-b10e-8812b0f563e9
    3. If you have an account, you can log in, but you can continue as a guest if not. If you play as a guest, you will not see a Kahoot report after the game is over. Then, you will have the option to play in classic mode or team mode. If more than ten students are playing, you will need to play in team mode. 
    4. Divide the students into an equal number of players per team. In team mode, have each team assign a team captain. The team captain will be the person who holds the device and clicks the answer for the team. 
    5. After clicking team mode on your screen, make sure that your students can see your screen using a projector. A game PIN will be on the screen. Have each team go to kahoot.it in the browser of their electronic device. 
    6. Each device will ask the group to type the game PIN, each student's name and their overall team’s name. Have the team captain do this. If there are any inappropriate team names, you can have the team redo their team’s name by clicking on their name on your screen. 
    7. When you are ready to start the game, click “start” in the top right corner of the screen. The question will pop up on your screen, and students can begin to discuss the multiple-choice answers. They will have five seconds to discuss and 20 seconds to answer. The faster they answer, the more points they will receive. When the time is up, or everyone has responded to the questions, everyone will see the correct answer and how many people answered correctly.
    8. Then, you will click next in the top right corner. After each question, a leader board will pop up, showing who has the most points. When you are ready to move on, click next again in the top right corner. Repeat this process for all ten questions. 
    9. The game will be over when an animation of confetti shows the top three scoring teams on a podium. 
  8.  If there is the time at the end of class, you could go back to the list the class created on small everyday problems. Explain to the students how now they have learned about different entrepreneurs and ask how they could solve these problems either by a brand-new idea or building from someone else’s idea. Call on students one by one. They could either each think of a new idea or build off from other classmates.

Did you know? (Ag facts)

  •  Agriculture Innovation Examples:
    • Red Seedless Grapes
    • Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice
    • Hydroponic Units

Extension Activities 

Sources/Credits

Author(s) 

Madison Paine

Organization Affiliation 

Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation

Agriculture Literacy Outcomes

  • T4.6-8.a. Compare and contrast historical and current food processing and systems.
  • T4.6-8.h. Identify specific technologies that have reduced labor in agriculture.
  • T4.6-8.i. Provide examples of science and technology used in agricultural systems (e.g., GPS, artificial insemination, biotechnology, soil testing, ethanol production, etc.); explain how they meet our basic needs; and detail their social, economic, and environmental impacts.

Iowa Core Standards

  • Social Studies 
    • SS.8.16. Analyze the role of innovation and entrepreneurship in institutions throughout early American history in a market economy.