Author Archive

Create Impact With Your Cutting Edge Technology. Introducing: Accelerated I-Corps Program for Data Science The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is pleased to introduce a new, accelerated version of the I-Corps program, designed for data scientists. The Accelerated I-Corps Program will span four weeks and provide teams with a $500 grant to support their customer discovery efforts. The program uses experiential education to help data scientists/researchers gain valuable insight into entrepreneurship, starting a business, and/or industry requirements and challenges. Participating data…

Join the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation on Friday, July 24, to learn about the wide range of programs and resources available to support scientists and researchers. During this online event, we will discuss: The technology commercialization process Programs to build entrepreneurial skill sets and explore commercialization Access to Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, who have experience in science and technology start-ups Polsky Center staff focused on supporting scientists Additional ways to engage with Polsky programming The Polsky Center bridges the gap between knowledge and practice, idea and action, and…

Calling all Fermilab innovators! Last chance to enroll in cohort 2 of the Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Practicum!   For this eight-week short course, the Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer has organized a program of instructors with experience in intellectual property and innovation at Fermilab as well as with the Energy I-Corps program through DOE.   The eight-week short course begins on July 9 and concludes on August 27. In the final module, students will learn about the resources available…

The Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer begins cohort 2 of the Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Practicum on July 9, and it will help new scientist-entrepreneurs think critically about what dynamic barriers exist to market entry, how they can adjust their customer hypotheses, and how their innovation can get a piece of the industry pie. Inventors typically think their invention can capture 90% of the total market, available everywhere and without competition. The inventor’s instinct is, “everyone should want this!” In…

While “If you build it, they will come” works great for Hollywood movies about things like fields and dreams, they leave out a fundamental step when it comes to an inventor looking for their customers. When an inventor hits on a new idea for innovation, the first instinct to build on the idea, thoroughly design the product and then look for potential customers. The only problem is this instinct doesn’t work favorably in almost all cases. A better way would…

Great work! Now that you’ve invented a new technology and understand customer demand, how do you deliver the innovation in the most cost-effective way? In order to address the supply side of business, you’ll have to answer questions such as: Are the components of the invention off-the-shelf or highly customized? What kind of human resources are needed? Do you need to acquire any licenses? While the right side of the Business Model Canvas addressed the demand for a product and…

Jon and Mark are twin brothers. Mark returned to the farm after college while Jon went to graduate school for computer science at the University of Iowa. While there, Jon worked for a year developing an app to help farmers optimize their inputs: water, fertilizer, herbicides, etc. He believes he’s ready to launch a startup. While proudly showing his app to his brother, Jon asked, “What do you think?”  Mark is speechless. He doesn’t want to tell his brother that…

Congratulations! You have invented a new technology that would benefit the world! …Now what? Among your list of tasks will be questions like: Who are your most important customers? How will you get your product to the customer? How costly are your customer relationships? These questions factor into the Business Model Canvas, a valuable template and the standard tool in forming new venture business models. Each section of the Canvas contains its own questions, and the sections have an interlocking…

As scientist-entrepreneurs navigate new territory in their value propositions and customer discovery, they can refer to a familiar tool: the scientific method. As much as a scientist’s hypothesis must evolve, so too will the entrepreneur’s. The difference comes in collecting insight instead of data. The customer discovery process helps entrepreneurs assess their understanding of current problems in an existing marketplace. They develop open-ended questions that give customers the chance to explain a situation in their own words: “What sort of…

When a scientist begins the journey into entrepreneurship, one of the first steps is describing how their innovation will benefit a customer. The specific and quantitative description is known as a ‘value proposition.’ But when it comes to articulating your value proposition, does it look like this?: “Company ABC should invest in Cool New Idea because its components quickly make a cheaper product.” Or more like this?: “In partnering with Cool New Idea, Company ABC will be able to directly…