Innovations, an initiative of Penn State’s Clinical + Translational Science Institute, is designed to support the translation of biomedical research by providing early-stage education and strategic guidance to faculty, staff and students during the ideation phase of technology development.
The four week course, designed specifically for the biomedical researcher at Penn State, guides interdisciplinary teams through a hands-on process of understanding the market for their technology or idea utilizing the iCorps (National Science Foundation/National Institutes of Health Innovation Corps) methodology of customer discovery. The Center for Entrepreneurship in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan provided assistance in the development of the Innovations Program.
The program is designed to provide participants with;
- education on the customer discovery and technology commercialization process,
- answers to critical market questions at an early stage,
- where a technology has value, what problem it solves and understand the pathway to transition into a real world application
- a clear decision to move forward with a technology, wait for further development or abandon it.
Who should participate?
Faculty, staff or students who are interested in learning more about the process of customer discovery and how it can improve their research. Participants should be able to commit to attending all sessions in the four week course.
- Learn to identify needs from the customer perspective through the “customer discovery process”
- Enhance and accelerate your research and competitiveness of funding proposals by developing a compelling business case for your research, focused on value propositions, customer segments, revenue and costs.
- Define the clinical utility for a technology now before spending resources on development. Gather data essential to customer partnerships and collaborations before doing the science.
- Understand and further define the commercial market for a technology.
- Build relationships with essential partners within the Penn State University innovation ecosystem and external stakeholders.
- Strengthen your self-confidence and presentation skills through weekly presentations.
- Understand where your research fits into the world and why it is important.
- Understand the needs of the world from the customers perspective.
- Develop a greater appreciation for the barriers that industry faces in implementing a new idea.
- Understand the core and tertiary customers and the sales/marketing process required for initial clinical sales and downstream commercialization.
- Assess the intellectual property and regulatory risk before designing and building a prototype.
- Identify financing vehicles before they are needed.
- “But my research is not ready for commercialization…” Perfect! The best time to participate in the Innovations Program is during the ideation phase (very early stage) of technology development. If a prototype has been built, it’s too late.
- “But I’m too busy…” Participation in the program requires a minimal time commitment in comparison to the time and resources that could be wasted on a misdirected technology. The purpose of the program is to accelerate a project by asking the most important questions up front in order to save significant time in the future.
- “But what about disclosing any intellectual property…” All information shared during the course should be considered public. You should not share any proprietary or confidential information. HOWEVER, the program is not interested in the details of how the technology works, therefore, any confidential information can easily be omitted. If a conversation leads to participants sharing proprietary information the discussion is covering the wrong topics. Participants should be “listening” rather than “selling”.
- “But I already know how to do this…” Then you have already filled a need in the marketplace? If not, this course is for you!
- Four week course. Attendance is required at each session.
- Participants and teams are expected to commit approximately 15-20 hours per week for the duration of the program.