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Unit outline_

SIEN2001: Validating Ideas and Building Ventures

Semester 1, 2023 [Normal day] - Remote

In order to be a successful innovator or entrepreneur, it is necessary to have knowledge of several fundamental business and organizing processes. The most effective way to master the critical skills and concepts of innovation and entrepreneurship is by developing a pitch and a business/social venture plan which simulates, as much as possible, the real world processes of launching a business or social venture. In this unit, students learn how to investigate customer/user needs as well as stakeholder concerns to generate an innovative idea for a start-up or social innovation initiative. Students also participate in a realistic simulation of the creation of a start-up/social innovation initiative, selected from the best student-submitted ideas, and develop these ideas into a responsible, sustainable business model. All students join a team that remains together for the duration of the unit, creating and pitching sections of a business plan as well as drafting the final version. This unit brings together skills acquired across other disciplines of study and requires active participation.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Krithika Randhawa,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Project Portfolio (Part 2)
Infographic slide deck
20% Formal exam period
Due date: 26 May 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 07 Jun 2023
10-slide infographic deck
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment Reflection
Video interview in student pairs (10 min maximum - 5 min per student)
15% Formal exam period
Due date: 07 Jun 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 14 Jun 2023
Video (5 min per student)
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4 LO5
Participation Participation and Professionalism
Participation and professionalism
10% Ongoing
Closing date: 26 May 2023
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Project Portfolio (Part 1)
20% Week 06
Due date: 31 Mar 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 07 Jun 2023
5-min video
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Presentation group assignment Pitch Presentation (Part 1)
Interim pitch
10% Week 08
Due date: 21 Apr 2023 at 13:00

Closing date: 26 May 2023
10 minutes (5min oral pitch + 5min Q&A)
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO4
Presentation group assignment Pitch Presentation (Part 2)
Final pitch + pitch deck
25% Week 12
Due date: 18 May 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 26 May 2023
15 minutes (10min oral pitch + 5min Q&A)
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

Pitch Presentation: In this assignment, you will work as a team of innovation consultants for a real-world startup to propose an entrepreneurial strategy, including two distinct ways to innovate the startup in the short term (the next two years) and the medium term (two to ten years out). To do this, you will apply the concepts and frameworks discussed in the unit, and conduct in-depth research and analysis of your startup, to develop recommendations that are desirable, feasible and viable. Your team is required to pitch this strategy to the startup founder and potential investor. The objective is to convince them of how and why your team's entrepreneurial ideas are the most likely to help the startup scale successfully.

This assessment comprises two parts. In Part 1, which carries a weightage of 10%, teams will present a 5-minute interim pitch to their client (followed by 5-min Q&A) during the Week 8 tutorial, focusing on the front-end of the entrepreneurial process i.e., ‘problem-customer fit’ and ‘problem-solution fit’. Teams will get formative feedback after this interim pitch from the client, tutor, and peers to help develop their final pitch.

In the final pitch, which forms Part 2 of this assessment and is worth 20%, teams will present their fully developed entrepreneurial strategy, addressing all phases of the entrepreneurial process i.e., ‘problem-customer fit’, ‘problem-solution fit’ and ‘problem-market fit’. The 10-minute oral pitch presented during the Week 12 tutorial, will be followed by a 5-minute Q&A session. The live oral pitch will be supported by an annotated pitch deck containing extensive comments (in the notes section) to support the key points in the slides, and is to be submitted through Canvas by 18 May 11:59pm.

The remaining 5% of marks is dedicated to the individual component, which includes each student’s contribution to the team’s outcome and the quality of feedback they provide to their teammates. Peer evaluation will be considered when assessing this individual component.

Participation and Professionalism: Lectures and tutorials in the unit are designed to be collaborative and participatory. The grade for participation and professionalism includes class attendance, punctuality, in-class contributions, and feedback to peers. In addition to basic attendance at both lectures and tutorials, students are expected to come to class prepared having reviewed the weekly online modules and completed the online primer discussions. They are required to contribute actively to class discussion, team activities and their group project work, and also provide constructive feedback to their peers on their individual project and reflection videos through the online discussion boards.

Project Portfolio: This assessment asks you to act as an innovation consultant to an existing real-world business of your choice (or as a founder of your own startup, if relevant). Applying the concepts and frameworks introduced in the unit, you will develop two innovative business models for your chosen organisation centred on: (1) open innovation (e.g., crowdsourcing, digital platforms, and ecosystems), (2) social innovation (e.g., circular economy, sustainable business models, social enterprises) or (3) a combination thereof. You will present concrete ways to implement the recommended business models, supported by a strategic analysis to arrive at these recommendations.

This assignment comprises two parts. Part 1 carries a weightage of 20%, and is to be submitted in the form of a 5-minute video via Canvas by 31 March 11:59pm. This task will include in-depth insights and supporting evidence from the first phase of the entrepreneurial process i.e., ‘problem-customer fit’ only. Additionally, students will reply to at least two peer videos with constructive feedback. This is an essential component of the ‘Participation and Professionalism’ assessment of this unit.

Part 2 of the individual portfolio carries a weightage of 20%, and will take the form of a slide deck based on infographic content to be submitted via Canvas by 26 May 11:59pm. This infographic slide deck will present the two recommendations of innovative business models backed by insights from all phases of the entrepreneurial process i.e., ‘problem-customer fit’, ‘problem-solution fit’ and ‘problem-market fit’.

Reflection: This assessment is a reflective review of your journey as an innovation consultant/entrepreneur in your projects, and is worth 15%. You are required to critically reflect on your personal experience in the projects and benchmark these insights against your learnings from the: (1) concepts and theories introduced in the lectures and primer discussions, and (2) interactions with your group project client and other real-world innovators and entrepreneurs during the unit of study. There is an intersubjective element in the format in that each student video interviews one other student in your group project team and, in turn, is interviewed by this student. The video interview to be presented via Canvas by 7 June 11:59pm should contain in-depth reflective insights and a critical assessment of how the learnings can be implemented in your own (current of future) professional context. Additionally, each student replies to at least two other peer videos with a meaningful response to their reflection. This is an essential component of the ‘Participation and Professionalism’ assessment of this unit.

Additional details and resources for all assignments will be made available in Canvas and discussed in class.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an exceptional standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


75 - 84

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a very high standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


65 - 74

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a good standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


50 - 64

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

This unit follows the University policy for late submissions. Please refer to the policy online. Failure to submit peer evaluation for the group assessment would result in 0 mark for that individual.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction & Kick-off - Lecture: Entrepreneurial Creativity and Innovation: What, Why and How? Tutorial: Scope your Entrepreneurial Opportunity Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 02 Problem-Customer Fit - Lecture: Innovation Strategy in Turbulent Environments Tutorial: Opportunity Discovery and Key Megatrends Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO5
Week 03 Problem-Customer Fit - Lecture: Innovation and Customer Co-creation Tutorial: Problem Definition and Reframing Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 04 Problem-Solution Fit - Lecture: Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing Tutorial: Creative Ideation and Problem-solving Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 05 Problem-Solution Fit - Lecture: Digital Technologies, Platforms and Ecosystems Tutorial: Prototype and Test your Value Proposition Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 06 Problem-Solution Fit - Lecture: Business Model Innovation Tutorial: Develop and Validate your Business Model Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 07 Problem-Solution Fit - Lecture: Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship No tutorial: Good Friday (Public Holiday) Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 08 Problem-Solution Fit - Lecture: Developing the Minimum Viable Product Tutorial: Interim Pitch and Check-in Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 09 Problem-Market Fit - Lecture: From Minimum Viable Product to Minimum Marketable Product Tutorial: Iterate your Value Proposition and Business Model Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 10 Problem-Market Fit - Lecture: Entrepreneurial Finance and Capital Raising Tutorial: Develop your Go-To-Market Strategy Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 11 Problem-Market Fit - Lecture: Entrepreneurial Pitching and Storytelling Tutorial: Craft your Final Pitch Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 12 Innovation Beyond Uni - Lecture: When Innovation meets Entrepreneurship in the real world Tutorial: Pitch your Entrepreneurial Idea Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 13 Innovation Beyond Uni - Lecture: Professional pathways in Innovation and Entrepreneurship Tutorial: Final Assessment Consultation & Wrap-up Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Identify trends and opportunities in the social, technological and market/business landscapes, including understanding users and formulating new venture ideas that have not been explored before
  • LO2. Construct a market analysis and assess feasibility of a new venture, and design a new business model
  • LO3. Discuss what an empathic understanding of users and stakeholder is and apply it to their problem in order to identify new value propositions that satisfy user and stakeholder needs and wants in an ethical and responsible manner
  • LO4. Discuss and apply cognitive strategies that define the mindset of innovators and entrepreneurs
  • LO5. Demonstrate proactivity in talking with potential users and stakeholders to understand their needs and then testing your proposed solution

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Adding ULOs and Assessments as endorsed by the UoS Subcommittee.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.