Curiosity: The Pop-Up Startup

How to innovate inside of the box

Matthew Murrie
4 min readMar 5, 2022


Picture of a utility shed
Photograph by Matt Murrie

Learn how to use curiosity about entrepreneurship to test startup ideas with this entrepreneurship education activity using Curiosity-Based Thinking.

What if all you needed to test and drive innovative action is an idea and $500? The utility shed in the image above may look like an ordinary, 6' x 3'8" utility shed with 105.9 cu ft of storage for a mere, $449.99, but what if, in the right minds, that same shed (with all-weather construction on the outside and adjustable shelving on the inside) is a laboratory, a factory, a storefront, a printing company, a design firm, a marketing group, mission control?

Remember Sir Kenneth Robinson’s call for Changing Education Paradigms in which he gives the paper clip example of divergent thinking? The idea is, as we get older, we lose our ability to think divergently, thus there’s a need for creating educational experiences that encourage greater divergent thinking.

What kind of innovator are you? What kind of educator are you? What kind of learner are you?

Do you watch animations? Or do you take action?

If you’re the type to take action, here are eight steps to turn your curiosity into valuable learning and actions using $500 and an idea.

Pop-Up Startup 8-Step Process

  1. Get a building for your Pop-Up Startup to operate out of (size and style really doesn’t matter — you can use a shoebox). The building, while an essential component of the project is the dressing for the Pop-Up Startup’s larger ambitions. It will serve as a designated space to help a different group of students or colleagues to “startup” a new business (non-profit or for-profit) every 3–4 months.
  2. The first step after the building is secured is for teams to submit ideas for a product or service that addresses a specific issue to use the building to test and deliver that idea.
  3. Once a team and idea have been selected, they familiarize themselves with the What? to Wow! Curiosity-Based Thinking process and Business Model Canvas and create one of each to help guide them during the coming months. *Note to educators/leaders: depending on the experience of your



Matthew Murrie

Author of The Book of What If…?, Founder of What If Curiosity, and Creator of Curiosity-Based Thinking and Curiosity-Based Learning, turning ideas into actions.