On Friday, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business announced a new collaboration to foster innovation with Stanford University and UC San Francisco, made possible thanks to a a three-year, $3.75 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Aimed at commercializing university research and fostering innovation locally and nationally, the goal of I-Corps is to increase the impact of NSF-funded research by setting up innovation ecosystems within universities that will train the next generation of entrepreneurs, encourage partnerships between academia and industry, and commercialize science and technology.
The San Francisco Bay Area/Silicon Valley Node is coordinated by UC Berkeley. The node is headed by Richard Lyons, dean of Haas School of Business, and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Blank, entrepreneurship lecturer at Berkeley and Stanford. André Marquis, executive director of the Haas School’s Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, serves the role of Node manager.
“Our three universities are the source of so many ground-breaking discoveries that can be put into service of society and this grant will allow us to develop next-generation processes to tap them and bring them to market,” says Dean Lyons. “Getting better at this means more jobs, more economic value and better lives.”
All of NSF’s I-Corps nodes will teach the Lean Launchpad framework, a training program developed by Steve Blank that focuses entrepreneurs on developing business models, rather than business plans, and on iterating their models quickly and frequently based on customer feedback.
The framework grew out of an earlier customer development course Blank taught at Berkeley-Haas after observing that few business plans ever survived first contact with customers. Blank teaches the Lean Launchpad framework in the Berkeley MBA Program and at Stanford’s School of Engineering. At UCSF, where Blank also will begin teaching this fall, this will be the first time the framework will be used in a bioscience setting.
“The NSF has built an incredibly smart program to bring together the best of science and technology invention with all the advances we have made in teaching entrepreneurship over the past decade,” says node manager Marquis in a statement. “Given our unique location within the national network for entrepreneurship, we have a great deal to bring to the I-Corps network.”
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