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I corps 245 mentor handbook rev 2


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I corps 245 mentor handbook rev 2

  1. 1. The National Science Foundation I-Corps Mentor HandbookI-Corps 245 Mentor Handbook Revision 2 page 1 of 9
  2. 2. WelcomeWelcome to the NSF I-Corps. Together we are working to build a unique andpowerful national network of seasoned commercialization-focused mentors that will,over time, greatly enhance our nation’s innovation capacity. This network is thecentral component of the Innovation Corps itself. As mentor, you are the essentialresource of I-Corps. Your experience, advice and connections to additional regionaland industry-specific resources will play a critical role not only in the success of thespecific team you are currently working with but in the I-Corps network itself. It is ourgoal to establish a long-term partnership with you.The United States faces unprecedented economic challenges across a broadspectrum, and we are calling on our science and engineering base to once againmarshal its vast resources to respond. Our nation has a long history of investing inand deploying advances in technology derived from the foundations of basicresearch. Historically this has afforded our country great advantage. But, often, thegap between fundamental research and commercial deployment is too wide.Opportunities are squandered; economic promise is dashed. To ensure successmoving forward, we need to develop and nurture a national innovation ecosystemthat can build upon fundamental research to develop marketable products andservices that benefit society in the most effective manner. This is where you come in.Over time and together we will build a network that itself becomes a nationalresource providing benefits for generations to come.It is well known that NSF serves as the basis for our nation’s international leadershipin technology, innovation, and education. NSF’s mission also includes supportingour nation’s economic leadership and national security. From its beginning, NSF hasbeen the well-spring of programs that have redefined the ways with which our countrysupports its research community. These programs include academic researchcenters, Industry-University cooperative centers and even grant programs to for-profitcompanies. We believe the NSF I-Corps will take its place among the other high-impact programs and has the potential to represent a transformative capability for ournation’s innovation capacity. As an NSF I-Corps mentor, you are entering into apartnership with us to fulfill this mission and it is our hope that you will be willing tocontribute now and into the future.If you are willing to join us as we grow our national network, we ask that you identifyyourself by joining the NSF I-Corps Mentor Linkedin Group here:I-Corps 245 Mentor Handbook Revision 2 page 2 of 9
  3. 3. Curriculum BackgroundNSF recognizes that transitioning technology out of an academiclaboratory requires different skill sets and knowledge than undertakingresearch does, and that these skills and expertise are much more commonin a start-up environment than an academic one. NSF has long supportedthe development of human capital, and NSF Innovation Corps will helpdevelop entrepreneurial knowledge and skills in an important new cadre ofscientists and engineers. Therefore, involvement in I-Corps requires acommitment to fully participate in the I-Corps curriculum. As an I-Corpsmentor, we look to you to reinforce the principles we are going to cover inthis curriculum. Also, as a mentor, it is our hope that you will be able tobring your unique experience to the table to help work through the team-specific challenges faced by the team with which you are currentlyworking.The I-Corps curriculum employs a formal hypothesis-validation approachto determining technology disposition. The curriculums approachrepresents the current state of the art in commercial opportunityrecognition, and its renowned instructors are entrepreneurs and venturecapitalists who are also experienced educators. Part of your role is bringthe education principles taught in the curriculum to bear on the uniquechallenges faced by the team you are supporting.The I-Corps curriculum is built on a special, accelerated version ofStanford Universitys Lean LaunchPad course (ENGR 245) and additionalelements designed just for I-Corp grantees. All I-Corps team members willbe required to attend a kick-off workshop at Stanford, to join a series ofweb-based lectures, and to travel to Stanford again to present theirbusiness pitches. All I-Corps team members also are expected to investsignificant effort in their projects outside of the university/laboratoryenvironment.I-Corps 245 Mentor Handbook Revision 2 page 3 of 9
  4. 4. Stanford University http://i245.stanford.eduInstructorsTom Byers tbyers@stanford.eduSteve Blank sblank@kandsranch.comTina Seelig tseelig@stanford.eduJon Feiber jdf@mdv.comCo-InstructorsJohn Burke jburke@trueventures.comKevin DeWalt kevindewalt@kevindewalt.comTony MakAlexander Osterwalder osterwalder@gmail.comTeaching assistants:Thomas Haymore thaymore@stanford.eduI-Corps 245 Mentor Handbook Revision 2 page 4 of 9
  5. 5. Course Goal: Lean StartupsThe I-Corps curriculum provides real-world, hands-on, immersive learning aboutwhat it takes to successfully transfer knowledge into products and processes thatbenefit society. Its not about how to write a research paper, business plan, or NSFproposal. The end result is not a publication or a deck of slides or even a scientificdiscovery.Instead the entire I-Corps team will be engaged with industry outside the classroomto test each element of their business model; talking to customers, partners, andcompetitors; and encountering the chaos and uncertainty of creating successfulinnovations. Getting out of the laboratory/university is what the effort is about.This curriculum requires full participation from the entire I-Corps team (consisting ofEntrepreneurial Lead, I-Corps Mentor, and Principal Investigator). Each teammember must commit to in-depth preparation, attendance at the lectures andworkshops, and at least 15 additional hours per week for Customer Discovery.StudentsI-Corps 245 is only open to NSF I-Corps students. Each class will have 25 teams.Each team will have 3 students; an Entrepreneurial Lead, Commercialization Mentorand Principal Investigator. We encourage the teams to recruit any and all resourcesto their teams. Nonstudents can serve as extra members of the teams.E 245 Course OrganizationThe course is organized around Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas andSteve Blank’s Customer Development process. (See the syllabus for details)I-Corps 245 Mentor Handbook Revision 2 page 5 of 9
  6. 6. Test Hypotheses: • Demand Test Agile Creation Hypotheses: Development Test Hypotheses: • Problem Test • Product • Customer Hypotheses: • Market Type • User • Channel • Competitive • Payer • (Customer) • (Problem) Customer Development Test Hypotheses: Team • Channel Test Hypotheses: Test Hypotheses: • Size of Opportunity/Market • Pricing Model / Pricing • Validate Business ModelEach week’s class is organized around: • a lecture on one of the 9 building blocks of a business model. • Students teams present their “lessons learned” from getting out of the building and iterating or pivoting their business model. The Eight (3 hour) Class Sessions: Session 1: Oct 10h - Course Introduction, Business Models, Customer Development at Stanford Session 2: Oct 11th – Value Proposition at Stanford Session 3: Oct 12th – Customer Segment at Stanford Session 4: Oct 18th - Channels Session 5: Oct 25th – Demand Creation Session 6: Nov 1st – Revenue Model Session 7: Nov 8th - Partners Session 8: Nov 15th – Resources and Costs Session 9 & 10: Dec 12th and 13th – Lessons Learned Presentations at Stanford Workshops will also be offered on Oct 10-12th and Dec 1thI-Corps 245 Mentor Handbook Revision 2 page 6 of 9
  7. 7. All mentors are welcome to attend any of the classes or workshops.ScheduleSessions 1-3 meet at Stanford in tbdSessions 4-8 Video broadcast 9am PSTSessions 9 &10 meet at Stanford in tbdOffice hours are held Tuesdays from 3-4 pm in TBD.Class details can be found on the class website.• Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur, Business Model Generation• Steven Blank, Four Steps to the Epiphany 245 Mentor Handbook Revision 2 page 7 of 9
  8. 8. Specific Role of Mentors in the curriculumAs a mentor, you are the advisor for one team. In ten very short weeks your teamhas to, 2) get outside the classroom and test all their business model hypotheses and3) if a web-based business get it up and running.Mentors and Opportunity SelectionAs NSF grantees they’ve been selected for the potential to commercialize thetechnologies they’ve been working on. Your goal is help them discover whetherthere’s a business. Remember, it was with you in mind that the team was selectedfor the I-Corps program and NSF is relying on you for “ground truth” on the team’sperformance. Projects will come and go but, your participation as an engaged I-Corps mentor is paramount to long-term success of the program.Mentors and Getting Out of the BuildingThe class is about teaching the students that the 9 building blocks of a businessmodel are simply hypothesis until they actually validate them with customers andpartners; and since there are “no facts inside the building, they need to get outside.”This means as part of this class they need to talk to customers, channel partners,and domain experts and gather real-world data – for each part of their plan.For scientists and engineers this can be a daunting and formidable task. To the bestof your ability, help them network, teach them how to send email and make phonecalls and run customer surveys. Open your rolodex to whatever level you feelcomfortable with.Mentor Time CommitmentThe wisdom and advice you give the grantees are invaluable. We’ve found thatsuccessful mentor/team interactions look like this:- Physically meeting with your assigned team a least every two weeks- Additional communication as needed by phone or email- The NSF I-Corps is a strictly a volunteer effort and your contribution to the team and (more here…)Mentor CommunicationsWe’ve found that keeping the mentors, teaching team and teaching assistants insync is the best way to ensure both a great outcome for the students and asatisfying experience for you. 1. We will hold a one hour Mentor orientation session h at the kickoff of the I- Corps workshop at Stanford. We ask you to send the entire teaching team an email summarizing the teams progress and dynamics each time you meet with them letting us know if we need to specifically help and intervene.I-Corps 245 Mentor Handbook Revision 2 page 8 of 9
  9. 9. 2. In addition, we will share all these emails with the entire mentor team and see if there are any common problems that need to be addressed class-wide.Thanks once again for your support and participation,Steve, Ann & JonMentor List for the Class of Q4FY11 I-CorpsI-Corps 245 Mentor Handbook Revision 2 page 9 of 9