Mixing ideals with ambition and business

Kaospilot is a Denmark-based hybrid business and design school which combines idealism with business insights. They train young ambitious people to become gamechangers: highly capable professionals with the intention to create a better tomorrow.

Challenge

Train young ambitious entrepreneurs for a successful future.

Solution

Teach students the principles of design thinking especially to visualize their value proposition and to test it.

Danish hybrid business and design school Kaospilot offers a three-year course for the leaders of tomorrow. Students learn to combine business with social value creation, thereby stimulating them to build a better world. Although students are very motivated to get started, getting to grips with the business side of things can be daunting, says Team leader Tora Sefeldt Weltzer.

Kaospilot was founded in the nineties, springing forth from youth organization Frontloberne (Frontrunner). The organization was involved in youth activism and supported young people in getting an education. “We aimed at young adults who were trying to initiate change. Many of them didn’t feel like they would fit in with the more traditional academic world”, says Weltzer. “In a way, we were early adopters in the world of alternative education. In time, we developed our content, adding business aspects and consulting skills.” Today, Kaospilot has become one of Denmark’s most prominent training courses for ambitious students. Its concepts inspired multiple business schools all over the world.

Students arrive from all over the globe, but they all share the same ambition: to build a better world. “Most students are in their early twenties, but we find a lot of diversity”, explains Weltzer. “Some already own a business, others don’t. A few of them already have a business degree, while others, who traveled the world after they finished high school, have no college-like experience whatsoever.” This broad range of backgrounds creates a fruitful atmosphere, fostering both creativity and business.

Skepticism

Students are encouraged to really think about the added value of their business by using the Business Model Canvas. This allows them to translate their abstract ideas into concrete solutions. “Some students take a skeptical approach as soon as we talk business. They see it as a ‘dirty’ word, ridden with connotations of evil multinational corporations.” Weltzer tells about the idealistic students’ reactions when they realize that yes, their ideas are great, but they have to make a budget. “This is where the consultants who give the workshops come in. They present their ideas with high energy and enthusiasm, thereby taking away much of the fear for the business world. Even the most stubborn skeptics end up seeing the benefits of the Business Model Canvas.”

Learning to think

For many students, learning more about their business can be difficult. Weltzer: “Students learn what it means to truly add value, which can turn out to be quite challenging. You basically ask: what good is your idea? Some students enter the course full of ambitious ideas, only to realize that just an idea is not enough. They may have closed themselves off from the outside world and are now forced to find out if people even want their solution. At the same time, it is one of the most valuable things they learn: They start to think like their potential customers. It might even mean that they, on their path of discovery, realize that they are actually interested in something else than what they initially thought. For instance, say a student comes in with the idea of opening a webshop for a certain product. In time, he or she might discover that they are actually interested in researching consumer behavior. In that case, we may advise to drop the idea of the webshop and design a different business model, based on their interests.”

Since 2010 Business Models Inc. trains the Kaospilots in Denmark on design thinking and business model innovation. We love our Kaospilot students because of their diversity in design and business background.

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