Teach the 1K Workshop

Before we get into the workshop itself, we should set a few expectations:

What this is and isn't about

Our course does not focus on typical 'entrepeneurship skill' like building a MVP, raising venture capital, or even how to run Kickstarter campaigns. Rather, it centers around how to take iterative steps towards a goal.

One of the first things we show our students, to set expectations clearly.

Generally, when we think about "teaching entrepreneurship", we often assume it's in the context of how to build a venture-backed business, or how to build an MVP. Similarly, when people hear about the $1,000 Project, they often assume our class is a primer on how to run a Kickstarter project.

Rather, our course is focused much more upstream: how to get started when you have an inkling of an idea.

Fundamentally, we have been exploring the question: "What enables artists, entrepreneurs, and activists to be successful in today’s networked world?"

After 10 iterations of teaching it, our current best answer to this is:

  • the ability to confront and navigate uncertainty, and
  • the ability to grow and sustain relevant networks.

Teaching through challenges

The best way we have figured out how to teach these two skills is through something we call the $1K Challenge, which we first developed at the School of Visual Arts’ MFA in Interaction Design program. In 2018, we framed the $1K Challenge to our students at SVA as:

Design, launch and complete a crowdfunding campaign that benefits a community you’ve worked with over the course of the semester. The campaign should raise at least $1,000 from 50 different backers.

―$1K Challenge , Entrepreneurial Design, 2018


In response to this prompt, our students made things like:

In the last 7 years, we have taken over 100 people through this program, who have collectively raised more than $340,000 for their ideas.

But it’s not really about the money. Instead, the money is a carrot that lures them through an obstacle course that forces them to learn real, valuable, lessons.

"This class has taught me to have confidence in my opinion, curiosity, and (burgeoning) expertise on design."

―Sarah Henry, '15

"One of the key things I learned is the huge gulf between theory and practise."

―Tony Chu, '13

"...I embrace the possibility of failure as a learning opportunity..."

―Leroy Tellez, '15

"I’ve learned that we are worthy of other people’s support..."

―Song Lee, '17