Free Resources & Strategies for Higher Ed Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Building. The C•CUBE Toolkit from UWO & Venn Collaborative sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation

Ideate for Value Creation

Brainstorming Ecosystem Opportunities

Value & Purpose theme and the Developing stage

At the crossroads of the Value & Purpose theme and the Developing stage lies a pivotal topic: “Ideate for Value Creation.” This stage represents the creative engine of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, where stakeholders come together to brainstorm and innovate. It’s a stage that fuels the future prosperity of the ecosystem and the realization of its purpose.

When ecosystem stakeholders and partners, including colleges and universities, work together to ideate for the value their ecosystem should create, they build important foundations for ecosystem building, strengthening, and growth, namely:

Innovation Catalysts: Ideation is the driving force behind innovation. It encourages ecosystem builders to think beyond the status quo and explore fresh approaches to address the needs of stakeholders. This creative process fuels the ecosystem’s capacity for innovation and adaptation.

Competitive Advantage: In a rapidly changing business landscape, staying ahead requires continuous ideation and value creation. Ecosystems that embrace a culture of innovation gain a competitive edge and are better equipped to respond to evolving market dynamics.

Alignment with Purpose: Ideation can help the ecosystem be purpose-driven. It can ensure that the innovative solutions generated are directly aligned with the ecosystem’s defined purpose, creating a strong connection between innovation and impact.

The “Ideate for Value Creation” topic is where you understand value creation as the dynamic force that propels the entrepreneurial ecosystem forward. Ideation encourages creative thinking, problem-solving, and innovation, all in service of the ecosystem’s defined purpose. By fostering a culture of ideation and providing the necessary support structures, ecosystem builders can nurture a vibrant ecosystem that thrives on innovation and delivers tangible value to its stakeholders.


As ecosystem partners work on ideating for value creation, consider the following:

  • Diverse Participation: Encourage diverse participation in the ideation process. Bring together entrepreneurs, experts, investors, and other stakeholders to foster a rich exchange of ideas and perspectives. Find ways to encourage underrepresented voices to participate.
  • Problem-Centric Approach: Ideation starts with identifying real problems and unmet needs within the ecosystem. Begin with what you know are the challenges that ecosystem participants, and particularly entrepreneurs, are facing.
  • Create Innovation Spaces: Establish physical or virtual innovation spaces where ecosystem participants can collaborate, brainstorm, and experiment freely. These spaces foster creativity and ideation. Use various creativity techniques such as brainstorming, design thinking, and ideation workshops to stimulate innovative thinking. These methods help in generating a wide range of ideas.
  • Iterative Ideation: Ideation should be an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Continuously revisit and refine ideas as the ecosystem evolves and new opportunities arise.

Conversation Guides

Use these conversation guides to help your institution and its ecosystem partners ideate for value creation.

Conversation Guide: Define Success Metrics — PDF | Word

Conversation Guide: Converge and Prioritize — PDF | Word

Conversation Guide: Determine What Initiatives and Activities Are Most Needed — PDF | Word