Get Inspired!

The Entrepreneurial Mindset

Need a primer on the entrepreneurial mindset? Looking for quick wins and inspiration for the classroom? Scroll this page to:

  • Learn the basics of the entrepreneurial mindset
  • Find insertable activities for the classroom
  • Share your own classes and projects 
  • Get matched with a mentor
  • Take a Faculty Development National Workshop
  • Hear what other faculty have to say

Learn the basics.

Welcome to Entrepreneurial Mindset 101! 

An entrepreneurial mindset (EM) helps you identify opportunities, solve for problems, and create long-lasting value—in your classes, campus, community, and the world.

When combined with the skills and work engineers already do, entrepreneurially minded engineers become powerful agents of societal good. 

In this video, Doug Melton discusses how the concept of "mindset" is relevant to educators and why it's vital for your students' future success. As we explore habit of mind and thinking patterns, think about how motivations, attitudes, and skills influence entrepreneurial outcomes. 

The 3C's of Entrepreneurial Mindset

The entrepreneurial mindset consists of three key elements: Curiosity, Connections, and Creating Value. Explore each concept further for inspiration and resources.



Understand the broader world. Students must look toward the future and explore multiple perspectives with an insatiable CURIOSITY.


Place old ideas in new contexts. Students must CONNECT information to gain insight, manage risk, and reveal innovative solutions.
Creating Value

Creating Value

Have a positive impact. Students must seek opportunities, understand stakeholders, and be champions of VALUE CREATION.

Putting it all together with the Framework

Opportunity + Design + Impact = Entrepreneurial Mindset Outcomes

Supplement the engineering skills you already teach with outcomes that support the development of the entrepreneurial mindset. When these skillset and mindset outcomes are combined, you can equip students to create value for their organizations and communities.

The Framework provides a plan and resources to introduce mindset outcomes in your courses. 

Download a starter set of example behaviors and educational outcomes for each of the 3C’s (Curiosity, Connections, and Creating Value) of the entrepreneurial mindset:

Get insertable activities for the classroom.

Explore these quick wins and approaches to entrepreneurially minded learning shared by faculty in Engineering Unleashed cards—our online template packed with lesson plans, instructor tips, and resources you can grab & go!

Board Game to Instill Entrepreneurial Mindset
30-40 minutes

The Journey to the Top: Board Game to Instill Entrepreneurial Mindset

Teach students about concepts associated with an entrepreneurial mindset. Student teams will go through the 4 stages of an entrepreneur’s journey: Brainstorming, Prototype, Market, and Sales. They'll discuss engineering curriculum knowledge, resources on campus, and legal/ethical issues. They'll also have to decide what to do with their risk/reward cards!
The House of Cards
45 minutes

The House of Cards

Students practice critical thinking, customer awareness, teamwork, and learn from failure in this absorbing, single-class activity. Can your students construct a tower from playing cards and transport it to the testing area without it folding?
50 minutes

The Biggest Engineering Mistake

Do your students have an appreciation for the types of errors made in engineering--and their consequences? Engineering carries a large burden of responsibility for effective and ethical solutions. But it’s easy to get caught up in the details of design and overlook the big picture. Help students see the consequences of assumptions as well as opportunities for new solutions.
9.5 hours over 5 weeks

Customer Pain Point Discovery and Online Product Redesign Project

Adopt this project in any discipline involved in the development of consumer products! Use online customer feedback to discover customer pain points to inform a redesign of an existing product. Students will enjoy making meaningful and realistic modifications and constructing prototypes based on their designs.

Cards are so much more! 

  • This set of Integrated e-Learning Modules helps develop an entrepreneurial mindset in students. 
  • Browse through CardDecks for a curated set of resources across a wide variety of topics and disciplines.

Share your own classes and projects.

Create your own cards! Share your insertable activities or full courses, upload lesson plans and instructor tips, display student artifacts, and more. 

Cards 101

Cards 101

Find out more about cards and how to create them in this primer.

Get a mindset mentor.

Need help creating or reviewing your first card, or want to learn more about what Engineering Unleashed has to offer? Would you like to unpack the entrepreneurial mindset with a faculty peer? 

Whatever you're looking for, we've got seasoned community members ready to help.


Get a mentor or coach

Let us know what you're looking for with the entrepreneurial mindset, and we'll match you with a faculty peer.

Take a workshop.

The Faculty Development National Workshop program delivers actionable, adaptable strategies and resources that empower you to create long-lasting value with the entrepreneurial mindset. You’ll receive expert facilitation and guidance in your workshop while collaborating with faculty from across the nation. 

Over the span of a year, you'll then work to bring a project to life on your campus with input and guidance from coaches and fellow participants. 

Faculty Development

Find your track

Great faculty development paths inspire great careers. In just one year, transform your teaching, research, or service!

Hear what other faculty have to say.

Here are a few of the many experiences from the Engineering Unleashed community and beyond that demonstrate exceptional use of the entrepreneurial mindset. Get ideas for your own classes and communities!

Why Unconventional Works in Engineering

"Technology cannot be developed in a vacuum," writes Aaron Sakulich of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. "The context of the social systems in which the technology is deployed is critical to whether or not there will be successful outcomes." When you think about it, there are almost no purely technical problems in the world. Do you agree?
AnnMarie Thomas

Surprise! How to Find New Ideas

AnnMarie Thomas of University of St. Thomas and director of Playful Learning Lab says we get ideas from the people we meet, the stuff on our desks, the things we read, the things we play with, and maybe even what we had for dinner. But her favorite way to find new ideas is to seek out and embrace the element of surprise. Sometimes the best ideas are hiding in unexpected places!
Connecting Industry and Students

Connecting Industry and Students

"You don’t have to change who you are as a company in order to bring in the entrepreneurial mindset," says Katherine Atkinson of Marquette University. "You just have to change your approach in what you’re doing." Here's how Marquette made their 100-year-old co-op program relevant in the 21st century. Hint: It's about ethics.
Pat Croskery video

What kind of person do you want to be?

Developing good character is a long-term process. So how do you get started? Pat Croskery (late of Ohio Northern University) used the entrepreneurial mindset to help engineers understand how ethics connects to creating value.
Building Faculty Buy-In for Entrepreneurial Mindset

Building Faculty Buy-In for Entrepreneurial Mindset

What happens when you try to expand entrepreneurially minded learning beyond your own classroom? Julia Williams of the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology shares tactics and activities to move people from resistance to adoption. Tackle the "change challenge" from a different angle!

Discover more ideas, opportunities, and actionable take-aways with stories from faculty, industry leaders, and students, such as: