I am teaching entrepreneurship to technology teams that come from academia who have been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation ICORPS organization. These teams bring sophisticated technology from different sources and now are required to attend a 6 week training session taught by ICorps trained instructors who teach lean launch customer discovery entrepreneurship. The University of California Berkeley has been awarded a teaching grant for this program. I am a member of a 3 person teaching team responsible for the training to these academic teams.
Through a rigorous program of customer discovery, these teams follow a lean launch entrepreneurship program that was developed by Steve Blank a professor at both US Berkeley and Stanford University. The class requires the academic teams to define customer targets and value propositions for their technology and during the course interview at least 100 different customers to find a significant problem/solution fit that will move the team toward commercialization. In most cases, the teams end up pivoting toward better fit products and services that customers have a real interest in.
Hundreds of teams have been through this class and the ICorps program is making a significant impact on the use of the NSF grant moneys toward the creation of jobs and ultimately improving the economy of our country.