This is the fourth year of Top Gun Maine, my second running it and the third working on the curriculum. What keeps it fun for the entrepreneur in me is we keep refining it, keep experimenting, keep learning how to do things better.
Last night was week two, "Addressing Death Threats: Agile Acceleration." It was an evolution from last year's immersion experience of participating entrepreneurs in Innovation Engineering. Last year, all the companies went through the three-day Innovation Engineering Leadership Institute.
This year we are doing "Innovation Engineering Lite." We concluded that the ideation tool box ("Create") of Innovation Engineering isn't the most pressing issue for entrepreneurs, based on feedback. Learning to communicate their ideas is critical; I included a fair amount of those tools in Top Gun Prep.
What I realized during my Black Belt training in Innovation Engineering is that the Plan/Do/Study/Act ("Deming cycles") approach for addressing death threats rapidly could be extremely valuable. The notion is pretty simple:
1) identify the most critical issues that could impede your business or kill it entirely
2) come up with fast and cheap ways to get smart about these issues (I call it Learn Fast Learn Cheap, riffing on the Fail Fast Fail Cheap motto central to Innovation Engineering)
3) do it. study it. integrate the learning. repeat.
So that's what the dozen entrepreneur teams and 20 mentors were talking about last night. By the end of the evening there were a dozen very concrete steps to be taken in the next week or two, with progress to be reported to mentors. Then we'll repeat the cycle.
Here's what it looked like (video posted on the Top Gun Facebook page):