Igniter is for teams further along in their journey who are ready to turn their research, technology, or idea into a product, service, or process that benefits society. Over the course of eight weeks, teams take part in iterative learning as they use the Business Model Canvas framework to develop and validate a plan for the infrastructure, finances, and operational aspects of how they will deliver their innovation to the world.

Like I2M, Igniter is driven by interviews with real customers and partners. If you haven’t yet spent time on customer interviews to refine product-market fit for your innovation, you may want to consider attending our Innovation to Market (I2M) program first.  During Igniter, teams will answer important questions that help shape the development of a sustainable business model to implement the innovation. What resources are needed to create your product or service and how will you acquire them? How will your solution get distributed to the people that need it? How do you communicate effectively about your idea to catalyze support and engagement? How will you be funded and how will you grow? The Igniter program provides the tools to navigate these questions and chart the best course for success. The Igniter course consists of eight classroom sessions and individual mentor coaching. All D2P programs are free and open to UW–Madison faculty, staff, and students.

Fall 2020 dates for Igniter coming soon.

Igniter Program Information


During the Igniter program, teams will:

  • Develop a better understanding of the core elements of a business model.
  • Use the Business Model Canvas to validate, create, and refine all aspects of the business model for their innovation.
  • Develop or refine the value proposition for their innovation.
  • Identify key customer segments for their innovation.
  • Develop or refine how they present their innovation to partners or investors.

After taking part in Igniter, teams will:

  • Have conducted 20-40 in-depth customer interviews.
  • Understand how to identify sales channels and do customer acquisition planning for their innovation.
  • Understand how to develop revenue and cost models for their innovation.
  • Understand what financing options they want to pursue for their innovation.



  • You have a well-articulated product, technology, or business model concept.
  • You can state what problem your innovation solves or addresses.
  • You’ve tested your concept by talking to at least 20 potential customers or partners
  • You’re confident that your innovation is technically feasible.
  • Your team consists of at least two people—ideally, a business lead and a technical lead. Additional team members make the project even stronger.
  • You are able to commit the necessary time outside of class (on average, 3-4 hours per week, which can be divided between team members) to conduct interviews and complete other assignments.
  • You understand that Igniter uses the “flipped classroom” approach, meaning that you will need to make time time to review instructional content outside of the classroom. When the cohort is together in the classroom, some time is spent to review and discuss the week’s assigned instructional content, but the largest portion of the time is spent on team presentations, including feedback from instructors and other course participants on various assignments that are completed between sessions.