Real companies, real problems, real solutions

Design Thinking, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
March 10, 2020

Problems find solutions — that’s what happens when entrepreneurs bring their real-world challenges to Denison students during ReMix Immersion events.

Entrepreneurs Elizabeth Pryor ’02 and Fitz Totten ’95 have very different business models, but they both found value in bringing their challenges to Denison students to workshop.

Pryor, co-founder of Chill Pop, a natural frozen fruit pop, was looking for a product brand re-fresh. Totten, co-founder of Find the Right College, a client-focused business that helps high school students find the college that’s the right fit for them, was testing user engagement.

Students worked in teams, using the design-thinking process — Listen, Reframe, Imagine, Prototype, and Inspire — as they wrestled with the issues. Over the course of the weekend, mentors and coaches were on hand to help them think through specific challenges as they developed proposals and pitches.

Students learned a lot in a short period of time.

Working with Find the Right College, Christina Saliba ’21, an educational studies and communication major, learned marketing strategies, and more. “I learned what it is like to strategize with your team for a business project, as well as strategies that are relevant to my age group.”

Being mentored by current entrepreneurs was hugely valuable to Chill Pop team member William Riffe ‘21, a physics major, who was motivated by working on a project with impact outside of the classroom.

“Our team was passionate about the project because our ideas were designed to be implemented in a real startup,” says Riffe. “I learned so much about the challenges and obstacles that an entrepreneur faces and how to conquer them. ReMix Immersion gave me a lot of insight into the startup world and helped me develop my professional skills.”

On the flip side, Totten and Pryor appreciated the opportunity to connect with students in a meaningful way, while giving them practical, hands-on experience. “I think it demonstrates how Denison is embracing progressive strategies while preserving a commitment to the liberal arts,” says Totten.

Pryor was happy to access constructive feedback and insights from a vital demographic. “The enthusiasm and focus that students brought to our project, in a limited timeframe, was impressive,” she says. “The analysis and subsequent impressions shared will certainly help shape some of our decisions going forward.”

About ReMix Immersion

ReMix Immersion began in 2020, as a follow-up to ReMix, the Denison Entrepreneurship Summit, which brings together alumni entrepreneurs and current students for inspiration, knowledge-sharing, and networking. During ReMix Immersion events, students are exposed to real-world challenges faced by entrepreneurs. They apply design thinking approaches and act as consultants as they workshop solutions with mentors, coaches, and business owners.

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