Did you know that although in the Georgian calendar, March is the third month, it was the first month and named Martius in the early Roman calendar? It was not until later that the ancient Romans made January to be the first month. Along with this fun fact, The SearchLite has much to share with you for the month of March!
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– Christy Song
The SearchLite had the privilege of being invited to McMaster University to conduct an Innovators-in-Residence Workshop on March 3rd, 2016. The invitation was extended by the Graduate Student Life Team, part of the School of Graduate Studies. This event was made possible by a connection between Scott Phillips from The SearchLite and Catherine Maybrey from McMaster University back in 2014 when Catherine hosted a “CV to Resume Webinar” on behalf of The SearchLite.
Catherine began her career with dreams of the tenure track, and along the way discovered something much better – the ability to take the best of what she loves about academia and to apply it in practice helping others. Her approach to career development is grounded in labour market research, hiring practices, and innovative use of technology to make service available to all graduate students on their timetable. She previously served as the Alumni Career Coach, where she advanced services for graduate students including workshops and videos on Transforming Your CV to a Resume, The Academic Job Search, The Non-Academic Job Search, Transferable Skills, and Graduate Student Boot Camp.
The Innovators-in Residence (IIR) program is a community-based learning platform. The IIR program provides a unique opportunity for Ph.D. graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from all academic disciplines to gain experience in innovation commercialization, acquire insights into market risk assessment and build relationships with leaders in industry while trying to solve real-world problems.
The McMaster University Graduate Students who participated in the workshop learned about the principles of Product-Market Fit and Value Proposition Design through live engagement in case studies which represent real Market Discovery Challenges recently completed by The SearchLite. Value Proposition Design is one of the most critical skill sets needed to be a successful inventor or entrepreneur and a key element of the Lean Startup Process and Business Model Generation. Understanding Value Proposition Design will also be a valuable skill for academics in transition to industry with interest in various aspects of Corporate R&D, Engineering, Product Management or Marketing.
Students broke down into teams and were assigned a case study. Their assignment was to identify the best -Product-Market Fit given the Value Proposition for a particular invention. Inventions included (1) Portable Ammonemia Detector (Stanford University) – A low cost, portable, simple-to-use device designed to rapidly detect elevated ammonia in a drop of blood; (2) Rapid Decoupling & Isolation (Oakland University) – Concept with ability to sense a sudden event and rapidly decouple load-bearing, structural joints in order to isolate occupants from the shock of the event; (3) Mobile Power Generation (Diversified Solar) – Hybrid solar system for mobile stand alone and grid-tied solar-based power generation and other inventions.
The teams all did an amazing job. With no background on the principles of lean startup and only one hour to study their inventions, they all presented to a mock group of venture capitalists at the conclusion. It was amazing how they were all able leverage the individual strengths, skills and experiences of their individual team members. After the presentations, Scott had a chance to have lunch and visit with the students to learn more about their future plans and answer questions about The SearchLite and the Innovators-in-Residence Program.