Everyone has good ideas but for some reason taking those ideas to the 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 that is available to connect ideas to the right people
- People are risk averse (perhaps due to ego and perfectionism) and lack experience with failure, which prevents them from making the "innovation leap."
We feel that we can validate this hypothesis and kick-start innovation by connecting various customer segments and supporting them in the discovery process.
The SDZ looks to grow your good idea into a great venture.
Our Zone runs like a Startup
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 that 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.
Connecting our Customer Segments
Our hypothesis: to become a successful science enterprise we'll require strong involvement from three customer segments; students/youth, mentors and businesses/industries.
Our innovation strategy will look for synergy between the customer segments and we'll direct our resources to fuel collaborative and mutually beneficial relationships.
- 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: with a wealth of expertise this group includes business leaders, entrepreneurs, faculty, staff, alumni, etc. They're here to provide you with the expertise you need to turn your idea into a venture. Learn more about our value proposition to this customer segment here.
- Industry: this includes innovative companies that have technological challenges or an interest in mentorship. They can help provide relevant opportunities for problem-based learning and entrepreneurship. Learn more about our value proposition to this customer segment here.
Supporting a Variety of Innovation Flavours
Science underpins nearly everything and our customers want us to focus our efforts on collaborative innovation that can be applied to our surroundings. As such, the SDZ will accommodate a mix of social and technological innovation.
- Entrepreneurial Activities - Whether it be a technological or social venture, the SDZ is here to help. From app development to product development, the SDZ will help startups to find their way to the market through keen mentorship and valuable feedback.
- Ideation and Exploration - Whether it be 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 than 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 with the 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, the SDZ will support and embrace social ventures and promote an incluse environment for all.