Everyone has good ideas, but for some reason taking those ideas to the innovative next step (validation, testing, etc.) is an insurmountable challenge. Our hypothesis is that this barrier exists for two significant reasons.
- There isn't a sufficient support network available connecting ideas to people with the expertise who can help individuals realize them, and
- Risk aversion (perhaps ego and perfectionism) and a lack of failure experience prevents certain people from making the "innovation leap."
We feel that we can validate this hypothesis and kickstart innovation, by connecting various customer segments, and supporting them in the discovery process. Our Zone looks to grow your good idea into a great venture.
To test and address these hypotheses, the Science Discovery Zone (SDZ) is going to run like a startup venture; as such, the Zone will be an innately entrepreneurial experience. As a startup centred in science, our venture will follow the Evidence-based Innovation process. This model should resonate with evidence-based thinkers, but will not be exclusive to them.
Our startup will follow a "platform-model" similar to ZipCar or AirBnB. This means we will connect, facilitate and support exchange between our various customer segments and leverage excess capacity. True to our motto "connecting science to value" we recognize that all of our customer segments must be graced with significant value propositions in order to retain them as customers.
It is our hypothesis that to realize successful enterprise building in science, we'll require strong involvement from three customer segments; students/youth, mentors, business/industry. Our innovation strategy will look for syngeries between the customer segments and we'll direct our resources to collaborative, mutually beneficial relationship building and innovation.
- Students - While it has been labelled as students, this is a diverse customer segment that includes; recent graduates, undergraduates, community members, etc. - Learn more about our value proposition to this customer segment here
- Mentors - a wealth of expertise group including business leaders, entrepreneurs, faculty, staff, alumni, etc. help facilitate and convert ideas in ventures. Learn more about our value proposition to this customer segment here.
- Industry - innovative companies that have technological challenges or interest in mentorship provide relevant opportunities for problem-based learning and entrepreneurship. Learn more about our value proposition to this customer segment here.
Science underpins nearly everything, and our customers want us to focus our efforts on innovation that is collaborative, yet both fundamental and applied in Nature. As such, the SDZ will accommodate the following mix of social and technological innovation foci (or flavours).
- Entrepreneurial Activities - Whether it be a technological or social venture the SDZ is hear to help. From app development to product development, the SDZ will help upstarts to find their way to market, through keen mentorship and valuable feedback.
- Ideation and Exploration - Whether they be a technological or social in nature there are great ideas everywhere. However, until they have been validated scientifically, they are far from being realized. This focus will help the young inventors explore their ideas, as well as support younger innovators in the ideation process.
- Public Private Partnerships - There is no better way to appreciate innovation then to help existing companies innovate and problem-solve. The SDZ is well poised to lend it's expertise to solve real world industrial and technological challenges, and engage in thoughtful collaboration will industry.
- Science Literacy, Policy & Leadership - Even the best science ideas will not be realized. Whether it be public opinion, education gaps, or a lack of policy leadership and vision, innovation can stall. To address this fundamental challenge support of social ventures leading to a more informed public will be embraced and supported in the SDZ.