Spring 2022 Purdue I-Corps: Introduction to Customer Discovery
March 11 @ 12:00 pm - May 6 @ 2:00 pm ESTFree
This online workshop will help you explore the commercial viability of your deep tech innovation idea/IP. We teach the Lean LaunchPad approach (also called Lean Startup), a process to help you systematically test key assumptions about your technology and the customer problems it might be able to solve better than current alternatives. This assessment of “technology-problem fit” is the critical first step toward commercial success for any technology venture. The learning objectives are:
- Develop familiarity with Lean LaunchPad concepts and tools such as customer discovery, ecosystem mapping, and the Business Model Canvas
- Understand customers’ problems (“pain points”) from THEIR perspective
- Map your customer ecosystem to understand customer roles, requirements, and decision processes
- Build connections to the commercial ecosystem (i.e. customers, suppliers, funders) for your innovation
- Explore the size of your potential market, assess the competition, and identify a first target market
- Develop a commercialization roadmap identifying key milestones and required resources to move your idea forward
This course is for researchers and students with deep tech IP and a strong interest in commercializing their technology. Researchers from other Midwest universities are welcome to apply.
- Gain valuable market insight to inform the next steps for your idea
- Become eligible for the NSF I-Corps National Teams program and $50,000 grant for qualifying technologies and teams (only deep-tech, university-based teams who complete at least 20-30 customer discovery interviews)
- Get prepared for application to SBIR/STTR or other commercialization grants
- Receive up to $500 in funding for customer discovery-related expenses including but not limited to virtual conference fees and premium LinkedIn accounts (NSF qualifying teams only)
- Develop network connections and receive mentoring from experienced industry experts and entrepreneurs
- Develop the entrepreneurial mindset and toolset needed for a career in academia, industry, startups, or government
All course events occur on Fridays from 12:00-2:00PM ET
- Mar 11: Course Orientation
- Mar 25: Product-Market Fit
- Apr 8: Customer Discovery
- Apr 22: Market Assessment
- May 6: Commercialization Pathway
In between the formal course sessions, you will conduct 20-30 customer discovery interviews, complete online learning assignments, apply the tools to your own tech, and receive feedback and coaching from a team of experienced instructors/mentors.
This hands-on program takes work – 8-10 hours/week throughout the course. In addition to the course deliverables, you are expected to “get out of the building” (virtually or physically, if safe) to interview and observe customers and stakeholders. Direct market interaction is vital to fine-tuning your customer segment and value proposition.