Watson is simply the way of the future for higher education: I walk away with the most meaningful friendships I have in my life, the courage to aim for the sky, the depth of reflection required to live a balanced yet cutting-edge lifestyle, and a renewed vision for my social venture Umbiyozo.

Jason Woolf, South Africa

Watson University is simply the place to be. Although I already have 2 degrees, my experience at Watson far tops any of my previous educational experiences. At Watson, I found the courage to really go for what I want and was able to craft the vision for the future that I want for my life, my community and my country.

Omotola Akinsola, Nigeria

My time at Watson taught me two things: That within me there is an endless source of possibility waiting to happen, and that there are people who fiercely believe in the good in the world and are passionate about making a lasting positive impact, just like me.

Allyson Ann Carpenter, US

Watson has effectively created an environment of active learning, mindfulness, and vulnerability unparalleled in my educational experience. Together, the scholars made deeply personal discoveries and came to recognize a comprehensive awareness that will serve us for the rest of our lives.

Mark Etem, US

Surrounded by a peer-group that has big hearts and even bigger dreams, it is not hard to come to Watson and dream BIG! From the scholars to the preceptors to the global Watson community, I feel truly connected to a community of passionate dreamers and doers.

Ryan Singh, US/India

Upon graduation after four year at a mid-ranked university I felt lost, misdirected, and used. After just one semester with Watson University I feel utter confidence in my convictions, complete compassion for my work, and a support network to help protect my courage.

Schuyler VanSickle, US

Watson has been the most transformative and inspirational experience of my life. Never have I been in a place full of changemakers who have dedicated their lives to making a difference in the world. It's surreal how everyone I've ever met through Watson embodies strong values and fosters an enabling and empowering culture.

Nicole 'Andy' Rapista, Philippines

We are Watson

Watson is built on the belief that the university should be a place for students to accelerate ideas that will shape the future; receive mentorship from the world’s foremost leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, and thinkers; and where the investment students make in their education is not only affordable, but will also pay off the rest of their lives. Watson aims to be a new university model to launch and accelerate the ideas of student innovators, leaders, and entrepreneurs.

Watson is a new model of higher education in Boulder, Colorado for student innovators aged 18-23 that includes short master courses from the world’s foremost leaders, entrepreneurs, and thinkers; intensive mentorship; and training in the entrepreneurial skills of empathy, creativity, resilience, grit, bootstrapping, team building and fundraising. Watson helps students develop and advance solutions to the toughest challenges facing the world. Students can come to Watson for either a semester or a 2.5 year accredited Bachelor’s of Science in Entrepreneurship through our collaboration with Lynn University.

Program Highlights

Each Watson semester is an intensive fifteen week program in which scholars receive weekly mentorship and coaching sessions, free international legal support (through a partnership with Thomson Reuters), training in the hard skills and frameworks to take their ideas to the next level, and a community of peers that will last far beyond Watson.  We aim to be the Olympic training ground for next generation changemakers and you can expect the experience to be both challenging and fun.  Below are four key elements of each semester.

 

Venture Week

1 week in which scholars register their ventures and team up with fellow scholars for an intensive week focused on venture development.

Scholar Trip

For 1 week, scholars are tasked with a series of challenges that involve local and regional travel.

Funder Week

1 week intensive with real funders for both non-profit and for-profits – funding is awarded to the strongest proposals at the end of the week.

Watson Summit

The culminating event of the semester in which scholars pitch to a packed crowd of supporters, partners, mentors, funders and friends. The Summit is Watson’s equivalent of a ‘demo day.’

Semester by Semester Overview

Fall Semester

TE 1: Ideation

lightbulbScholars complete modules focused on ideation including in the stakeholder map, innovation matrix, root cause analysis, theory of change and impact metrics, messaging platform, and post-Watson plan.

See Syllabus

Leap of Faith

skydiveScholars complete a semester workshop focused on personal development and transforming obstacles to social change into solutions on both a personal and societal level.

See Syllabus

Watson Lab

watson-labScholars work side by side in a co-working environment to accomplish structured goals in the development of their ventures with weekly hard skills workshops in areas such as: legal considerations, time management, fundraising, and leadership vs. management

TE 3: Funder Readiness

funders(this class led by Unreasonable Institute) Scholars complete modules focused on funder readiness including financial projections, funder type identification, building relationships with funders, and pitching.

Transformative Team

teamworkScholars go through the process of building and strengthening a transformative team, completing modules on recruitment strategies, roles and responsibilities chart, functional organization chart and organizational structures, interviewing, optimizing collective intelligence, team alignment, creating a cult-like culture, and organizational values.

See Syllabus

Mentorship and Coaching

mentors-iconEach scholar is paired with a team of 2 mentors who each meet with scholars twice per month. Each scholar is also paired with 2 coaches (one focused on their venture and one focused on their personal development)

Meet the Mentors

Core Classes

core-classesIf on the degree track, then scholars complete a series of core classes simultaneously to the Watson experience from either Lynn University or Naropa University.

Spring Semester

TE 2: Business Model Validation

biz-validation(This class led by Unreasonable Institute) Scholars complete modules focused on rapid prototyping, customer discovery and validation, lean model canvas, and financials.

See Syllabus

The Virtuous Entrepreneur

virtuousScholars complete a semester workshop focused on personal development and identifying and then strengthening the virtues necessary to accomplish their purpose.

See Syllabus

Watson Lab

watson-labScholars work side by side in a co-working environment to accomplish structured goals in the development of their ventures with weekly hard skills workshops in areas such as: legal considerations, time management, fundraising, and leadership vs. management

TE 4: The Thesis

thesis

Scholars complete an in depth, research backed thesis over the course of the semester that analyzes the problem they are solving, pre-existing solutions, and makes the case for their solutions. Through developing the thesis, scholars reach a level of mastery in their fields.

See Syllabus

The Portfolio

portfolioScholars participate in weekly sessions with leading practitioners, experts, and entrepreneurs while together they answer a series of probing questions about their past, present, and future. Scholars walk away with a greatly expanded network and in depth portfolio of their lives.

See Syllabus

Mentorship and Coaching

mentors-iconEach scholar is paired with a team of 2 mentors who each meet with scholars twice per month. Each scholar is also paired with 2 coaches (one focused on their venture and one focused on their personal development)

Meet the Mentors

Core Classes

core-classesIf on the degree track, then scholars complete a series of core classes simultaneously to the Watson experience from either Lynn University or Naropa University.

 

The Campus

Watson is located in Boulder, Colorado, a city full of innovation, entrepreneurship, nature and passion. Watson Scholars are housed in the beautiful Columbine Lodge at Chautauqua Park, a national historic landmark nestled against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Chautauqua’s founding in 1898 as an intellectual retreat is aligned with Watson’s vision – we are honored to partner with Chautauqua.