Meadows professor takes home prize in national competition

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James Hart, Director of Arts Entrepreneurship Program in Meadows School of the Arts

Professor Jim Hart, director of the Arts Entrepreneurship program at SMU, grabbed the gold and a cash prize of 750 dollars in the recent USASBE Spark! competition for his effective entrepreneurial classroom exercises.

Hart, a graduate of the SMU theatre program, has been teaching at SMU for about two and half years after coming back from Olan Norway where he had started a theatre conservatory.

To win the competition, Hart entered an exercise focused on producing customer centered products and services.

“It’s important, if you want to profit, that your audience, wants what you are offering,” said Hart

The exercise he uses to drive home this idea for students and that won him the award is called “speed dating market feedback.”

“The idea is that each individual has a concept,” said Hart, “They [the participants] are in two rows…each person is sitting in front of someone, and there is a total of six minutes between the two people. In my three minutes, I pitch my idea to you as quickly as I can, and you give me feedback…in an hour class you get nine to 10 points of market feedback.”

Market Feedback Speed Dating

Hart said that he believes having a background in arts entrepreneurship can make students more profitable out in the real world because they can think “entrepreneurially,” for themselves, or, “intrapreneurally,” as a contributing member of any company they may find themselves working for.

Hart said, “what I found is about a 90 percent success rate [for customer centered ideas]. When you know who you are creating for specifically…there is a much higher likelihood that that person is going to be interested in what you are offering.”

“I encourage them [students] to build it in their dorm room, if you can. Start now,” said Hart.

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