When it is difficult to see which business model can be employed to commercialize an invention, Imperial Innovations sometimes rely on the IED-program
IED stands for ‘Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Design
A specific program to screen ideas and formulate a suitable business model around them
IED: What ?
The programme gives organisations the opportunity to join students on an entrepreneurial journey designed to provide them with insights into the challenge of introducing novel products and services to market.
The initiative is aimed at a diverse community of participants who are planning on starting, entering or leading both small and large organisations in the private and public sector. It is particularly interesting for those who have, or need, a business innovation strategy
The IED students become part of a multi-disciplinary team in which they intensively interact with key researchers as well as practitioners
IED: What ?
The business idea comes from the students themselves, OR from Imperial Innovations’ partners (< public/private)
The postgraduates are taught and coached by leading faculty and practitioners.
The IED program uses an integrated web based application, called the IED dashboard, which supports the entire process from idea to investor ready business plan.
This tool provides a comprehensive breakdown of the stages and activities one should go through when starting a business and provides resources and advice on how to proceed
IED: What ?
4 pillars of the IED dashboard, corresponding to 4 phases of the IED programme:
1 st stage “Business Idea”: putting together the founding team, analysing current trends, generating ideas, draw up a technology/application matrix and do a novelty assessment ;
2 nd stage “Value Proposition”: determining the value chain or value network, making a competitive analysis, checking appropriability, doing entrepreneurial market research and instigating the development of the business model
3 rd stage “ Market testing”: building the prototype, identifying potential lead users, organizing focus groups and doing in-market testing
4 th stage “Business Case”: designing technical roadmap, drawing up the financial plan, covering the valuation and looking for sources of finance
IED: When ?
Organized for the first time in 2008
IED: Who ?
TTO’s: They make the final business model decision; the program was designed to lift some weight of their shoulders; it saves TTO’s a lot of work, time, effort, energy
Participants of the IED program: a diverse community of postgraduates who anticipate starting, entering or leading both small and large organisations in the private and public sectors with particular relevance to those who have, or need, a business innovation strategy
IED: Where ?
The IED program is organized at the premises of Imperial College London (ICL)
Even if there are industrial project partners involved, the workshops are still given in an auditorium or a meeting room of the university
This seems logic as the initiative is specifically aimed at postgraduate students of ICL
Pro’s & Cons
Students who are entrepreneurially minded get the chance to write a business plan and think of a suitable business model in a facilitating environment ;
new light on the interpretation of business models
Nonlinear approach towards business planning ;
Participating students and technology transfer officers might have a difference of opinion on how to develop the business model
Why ? Rationale IED
Make the TTO’s’ task easier: Although this group is rather large – the entire team exists of 15 persons in total – the human capital can still be described as limited. Even more so, the rationality of these people – as with any other individual – is bounded. The IED program allows them to draw upon more resources to define the business models.
Foster creativity with respect to business models: If the same people are always in charge of thinking about business strategies, this may hamper the creation of new ideas. Therefore, the IED program may offer the possibility of new ideas, alternatives; next to the strong connections with the industry which keeps them informed about new trends
Why ? Impact IED
The IED program was included in the part around business models because technology transfer officers often experience difficulties in defining and developing it
The IED entrepreneurial journey is one of the tool s that can be used to facilitate the business model definition process
Outcome of IED: plans for the future
The program was only launched last year, so it’s a fairly new initiative
It’s still too early too soon to come up with impressive figures about the impact of this program
In general: the first impressions are very optimistic !
Looking back now, what would you …
This type of program – in which entrepreneurially minded people with a technical background, like engineering students, university researchers, and doctoral students get the chance to learn about how to develop a business model – is highly recommended to other institutes !