Artists and Designers: Entrepreneurship - RISD Summer Programs course

Artists + Designers: Entrepreneurship

Artists and designers are highly likely to become entrepreneurs, but often are not given the fundamental tools to design a business concept and develop a practical, sustainable and ethical practice. In this course, students will learn to identify and evaluate a range of business opportunities. They will investigate conceptual frameworks for understanding entrepreneurial opportunities, including critical resources, organizational culture, contributions of key stakeholders, and how nonprofit and for-profit firms build brand engines.

The course traverses 3 core assignments:

  • Industry Analysis: Students select an industry sector to research and discuss–from inception to present day–analyzing its success, failures, working environment and culture, resources and the role the founders played in shaping its trajectory.
  • Benchmarking a Brand: Students choose an actual product to purchase and then dissect the entire customer experience with that brand. Examinations include how it is marketed, perceived market positioning, “unboxing” experience, usage and storage.
  • Entrepreneurial Challenge: The course culminates in a creative problem-solving exercise of a real-life experience. In this customer discovery phase, students delve into how to turn an annoyance or dissatisfaction with a specific item, service or situation into an opportunity to rethink and reframe it in a new way.

Students come away from this course with the ability to analyze their own service or product from a customer standpoint, and develop a core set of principles they want for their own business.

Image by Henry Spuria 23 ID/GD

RISD degree students: This course offers 3 transfer credits with pre-approval from your department head or major advisor using the Prior Approval for Transfer Credit Form. Submit the signed form to the Registrar’s office and then complete the online course registration.

Technology Requirements:

  • This class will be taught through our online course management platform (CE Link).
  • Please visit our Registration FAQ for additional information and resources.

Course #4085
Sandra Potter

Online Course
June 22–July 31, 2020

Tuition $2,200
3 Credits


Sandra Potter

Sandra Potter brings a background in high-tech consulting and research to her course teaching. She founded and managed her own consulting and research firm, Micro Tech Research Inc., for over twelve years. Additional industry experience includes posts at Dun & Bradstreet, Honeywell Information Systems, International Data Corp (IDC) and Aberdeen Group. At Aberdeen Group, as research director for Linux Services, she is credited with having the fastest ramp of an entrepreneurial practice in the company’s history. Her practice assisted both established and startup firms with market positioning issues. She is chair of the System Board of Governors at TANRC and serves on the board of directors of AFRILINK Entrepreneurs International. A critic in RISD's Industrial Design department, Potter has also shared her expertise in classrooms at Brown University, Bryant University, Providence College and Eastern Connecticut State University.