Featuring 240+ high school students from every corner of Montana,  The Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship, the MSU Blackstone LaunchPad and the LaunchCats helped organize and inspire big thinking for our future thought leaders. For a day long workshop, excitement and collaboration swept the student by surprise. 

Beginning with an introduction by entrepreneurship professor Gary Bishop capitalizing on the potential of everyone in the room, the day was underway. With the synergy in the room slowly building amongst anxious high schoolers, Les Craig took the stage to begin his creative workshop while MSU student mentors gave tours of the campus. The balloon game was a huge hit and great ice breaker.  Everyone was put into groups of about 8 students and then given a bag of 20 balloons. "Ready, set, go!" announced Les Craig. The groups raced to blow all the balloons up with the fastest team awarded prizes. From here, everyone was asked to write their name, passion, and favorite brand different balloons and then introduce their three balloons to their group. This exercise was used to teach the importance of communication and listening skills in the world of business. The fun had only begun. With all the balloons mixed in the middle, the group member with the longest hair was asked to give everyone back their specific three balloons with out using any conversation. Could they remember? The fastest team to do so won prizes. This exercise was concluded with a prototyping session in which each group now had to collaborate to invent an innovated product with nothing but their balloons and some tape. Sombreros, time machines, and snakes were some of the interesting ideas that evolved. This really got the students engaged. 

Lunch was served and the LaunchCats presented the "Power of an Idea." No idea is a bad idea and realistically, now is the best time to begin. Following their relatable presentation, they played groovy music to liven the vibes.

Gary Bishop implemented his exercise soon after. Groups were given paper, drinking straws and tape. Whoever could build the tallest freestanding tower in 30 minutes would win. This was very fun to witness and be apart of. Towers reaching heights of 15 feet competed for airspace. The day concluded with high fives, laughter and big thinking.

-Sam Lucas