So, I shared the experience about the Pre-Seed Workshop a couple of weeks ago (If you missed it, you can read it here). Curious about what happened after that during the semester? Read on. . .
Three quarters of the first semester had passed when the workshop ended and now final exams were approaching in a few weeks. One course, “Screening of Technical Opportunities,” required a final project to be completed specifically on the basis of what we learned from the Pre-Seed Workshop.
Students had been grouped into teams ensuring a good amount of diversity and level of experience in each team. We were excited to explore the technical opportunities from the pool of university-generated patents and from other resources. During the semester, we were asked to quickly filter the opportunities using a special process developed by Professor Mark Wilson. Teams had reached their final selections before the Pre-Seed Workshop and they “thickened” their ideas during the weeks of the Workshop.
Now, I will explain what that final project is all about. So each team is now moving on with a final idea towards design and development of the business model and in some cases, the best possible product based on the technology they chose. During the idea thickening stage, teams think about the many ways that the technology could be delivered to market. These could be different products, different target markets, different value propositions altogether or different business models through retail, wholesale, service and/or consulting, or technology licensing. All these different ways of commercialization are then put together on a technology-to-market map flow diagram for the complete picture of the technology’s potential. However, it is impossible to realize all these ways at the same time. So teams then conduct market research to determine the best methods in terms of profitability, scalability and probability of success. The best option is then picked and the teams work on a tentative business model around this idea and present it in front of distinguished entrepreneurs from the Rochester community.
Just like the Pre-Seed Workshop, this project is a great real life experience and evaluation platform for students, and we gained confidence as future innovation managers or entrepreneurs!
– Shaival Desai ’14 (MS)