After workshop one, RISE hosted the second workshop of BREAKit experiential learning itinerary last February in Stockholm. We continued the training to create T-shaped innovators through practicing key skills and learning concepts so researchers can develop into professionals more capable to boost innovations, generate new business ideas and take them to the market.
Objectives of this second event were:
- To prepare their value proposition to be contrasted not only with potential customers but with other stakeholders of the research area. Also, the participants detect what information from a potential customer is missing and learn to prepare either a problem or a solution interview. This is done under the process of customer discovery.
- One of the key elements in this workshop is the refinement of their lean canvas and value proposition, as the process they follow is iterative.
- Besides they could learn about new concepts that bring new knowledge to them as Open Innovation, presented by RISE expert in the field.
- Also, participants started to know about the Business Model concept and the different business patterns.
This second workshop also was about teams and the importance of creating effective and agile teams, and the importance of having different roles in the team. We used the Belbin team roles to work this.
We continued working in their individual research idea following the Lean Start-up and Customer Development framework. As we mentioned in the first workshop, it’s fundamental to accelerate 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. Ash Maurya, creator of Lean Canvas, says: Before you can build the “right” solution for your customers, you have to understand the “right” problem.
This is a very important shift in the participants’ mindsets, as we usually we don’t go deep into the problems and we start building a solution assuming that someone is going to be interested and that the solution will solve a specific user problem. Therefore, one of the main assignments after the workshop is to visit potential customers or other stakeholders that can help in understanding better the problems. To do that we worked in how to approach an interview with customers, and how to explain in a simple way (how to pitch) what their solution (value proposition) can do for the customers.
This pitching rehearsal was a very good exercise as they will have to repeat it in the third workshop. Understanding customers problems, testing and practice the pitching of their solutions is the best way to accelerate their learning process on orienting the research to a real problem-solving solution that can be introduced into the market.
Also, it was a very positive experience to listen to real examples of researchers-entrepreneurs. Babak Sadighi, founder of Axiomatics ABM, Peter Sandberg now in RISE but with entrepreneurial experience, and Anders Engström, RISE Technology transfer officer presented their experiences and promoted and interesting dialogue with the audience. Also, they listened to the participants’ pitches and gave some feedback, so participants will be able to improve their communication skills in future pitches.
Next step is to participate in a coaching session to follow-up the progress of each participant in March and prepare for the third workshop of this itinerary that will take place in May in Bilbao.