BREAKit experiential learning itinerary: workshop one

Last October took place in VTT premises in Otaniemi (Finland) the first workshop of the BREAKit experiential learning itinerary. The itinerary is designed for creating and training T-shaped innovation champions trough practical train to develop such key skills and knowledge that will provide professionals capable to boost innovations, generate new business ideas and take them to the market.

Jarkko Antila presented the experience as researcher and entrepreneur in his startup company Spectral Engines

The learning objectives in each participant have two sides:

Self-development. It has to do with acquiring the capacity to take responsibilities, to take initiative and be proactive, to guide others, to work in teams, leading a project of personal/professional development itself, planning, learning to learn, connect and create networks, etc. This is itinerary is also a reflection time to think about the present and the future professional the participant wants to be.

Ideation for industry and society. This is about building the capacity of transforming knowledge into innovations. Taking research into the markets demands that researchers train the capacity to see opportunities and to take ideas into action, prototyping solutions (products or services) that can be transferred to the market, experimenting in real context, with orientation to get results (Value for customers).

In this sense, a practical training approach is very suitable, and therefore all participants come with a research project that will allow practicing and testing, and therefore learning in a real scenario. 14 participants have started the learning itinerary, all of them with a qualified technical profile in the Raw Materials research sector, coming from different universities and research centers across Europe.

To assure a practical training, they will follow the approach, so during workshop one the participants started knowing the main principles and tools. Understanding that the 14 participants have different interests and that they could be quite far from starting a company in the short term, acting as start-up developers helps them to learn how to take research results to the market in a more successful way.

This first workshop introduced the importance of accelerating the learning process when thinking of applications of a research in the market. Learning from customers by testing hypothesis, running experiments and getting insights is at the core of the itinerary.

So, participants had to these new concepts and started their application in their own project. Also, they had the opportunity to listen to real examples of researchers-entrepreneurs. Mikko Kumpulainen from VTT Ventures and Jarkko Antila from the startup company Spectral Engines, came to the workshop and presented their experiences in a very interesting dialogue session.

This workshop was a first step to change the mindset of the participants, so they start considering concepts as value proposition, customer need or business model as a complementary of their research development.

The work will continue individually until all participants meet again in workshop two in Stockholm. The coaching sessions in between will be also important to follow up the progress of the participants and their projects.

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