Editor’s note: Elaine Hamm, Ph.D., is Director of the Oklahoma Proof of Concept Center.
What does a quantum cryptography for highly secured data transfer technology and innovative Roll-to-Roll manufacturing guide system technology have in common? They are both participants in the Oklahoma Proof of Concept Center, which has kicked off the second class with an intense commercialization workshop.
The focus of last week’s bootcamp workshop was to learn about developing and testing a business model for the team’s technology or startup.
Justin Briggs gave the teams a crash course on how to develop a business model and how to listen to their customers, “fail fast,” learn from their mistakes, and make key pivots to their commercialization plan.
The teams learned that the scientific method is just as useful in the business world and how to take what they learned doing scientific research and create and test business hypotheses (ie… “I hypothesize that the value of my technology is that it helps this customer segment do X faster”) and how to test that hypothesis by obtaining valuable market/industry feedback and data.
To learn just how to obtain that important data, Catherine Brown, President of Initial Call, worked with the teams on how to do customer validation, how to find the person who will give you the best information, and how to learn the things you don’t know that you don’t know. Then the teams broke out into groups and developed a plan of action.
Using Post-it notes and a whiteboard, the teams, i2E staff, university technology transfer gurus, and their industry mentors brainstormed the future of their technology. Post-it notes littered the ground as customer segments were rejected and a colorful white board of ideas and a new business model emerged.
But this is just one of many whiteboard sessions that the teams will conduct during their time in the POCC. As more conversations with customers and industry experts occur, more post it notes make it to the board and more are tossed in the trash.
After 10 short weeks, the teams will present a more refined, industry-vetted business model and hopefully a more refined, industry-vetted technology and give their recommendations on the future of their technology. And then, it begins all over again as the next group of future scientist turned entrepreneurs are selected for POCC Spring 2014