Innovation i-Teams (formerly Technology i-Teams) is the original i-Teams which has been running at the Institute for Manufacturing at the University of Cambridge since 2006, when it was adapted from the MIT i-Teams course by Amy Weatherup.
Innovation i-Teams can work with any type of technology, innovation or product concept, at any stage of development, from initial experimental results through to prototype products or services. i-Teams investigates the best market approach for commercialising an innovation, and asks the key question of whether it addresses a real market need.
According to a recent article by the Harvard Business Review, this is “the simple question that can make or break a start-up”, and 42% of start-up failures were caused by there being “no market need”.
Multi-disciplinary teams of 7 work together to identify the possible markets for their project, and contact relevant industry experts to gather their feedback on the project and how it might be used. The final results are presented to an audience drawn from the university and the local business community.
Participants gain the hands-on experience and satisfaction of “learning by doing”, working on a real project where their ideas and conclusions will influence future directions and outcomes. Skills gained include:
- Teamworking & team management
- Identify the key commercial benefits of a technology or product innovation
- Identify relevant competitors and potential collaborators
- Identify and contact relevant industry experts
- Use and develop your own network of contacts
- Cold calling and extracting useful information from commercial contacts
- Application of Human-Centred Design, Design Thinking and Lean Startup methodologies to technology commercialisation projects
- Analyse incomplete data from a variety of sources to draw a justifiable conclusion
- Presentation skills (for a non-expert audience)
Key question asked? What is the best market or route-to-market for our innovation?
Which terms does it run? Michaelmas, Lent and Easter
What day does it run? Monday evenings from 7pm-10pm
Where is it held? Either online or at the IfM, depending on latest guidance
How long does it last? 9 1/2 weeks, usually from the first week of Full Term until the week after Full Term (Easter term course will usually have an initial session at the end of the Lent term)
Who can apply? Any post-graduate student or post-doctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge, Babraham Institute, Sanger Centre or the British Antarctic Survey