Innovation to Market

The Innovation-to-Market course is intended as an entry point for innovators, seekers of a creative solutions, designers of novel approaches to social problems or makers of impactful products at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

You’ll begin by forming a hypothesis about your business concept. You will then test that hypothesis by interviewing potential users and customers of your product or service. The purpose of this is to identify a “product-market fit.” Simply put, is your proposed product/service addressing a real need or demand? Is the pain point sufficiently large that customers will pay money for your solution? If so, how much? Is it a big enough market for you to bother pursuing? If the answer to any of these questions is “no” you are better off finding out earlier and pivoting to a new value proposition, perhaps changing which customers you will go after or what product features you will incorporate.

Innovation-to-Market is designed to get you thinking along these lines and get you started actually doing some of this customer discovery by getting out there and interviewing potential customers. It is not just a theory-based lecture course. While there is some delivery of content and knowledge sharing, the most important aspect is to gain some experiential learning-by-doing.

All I2M programs consist of three classroom sessions and two individual team meetings with one of our mentors. Classroom sessions take place from 9am – noon, and mentor meetings are by appointment on course dates. All D2P programs are free and open to UW–Madison faculty, staff, and students.

Apply for I2M

2020 Program Dates

Spring 2020: Wednesdays, February 12 – March 25 (no class during spring recess)
Applications due: January 27, 2020
Open house sessions: 1/13, 1/17, 1/21, and 1/22. RSVP here

Summer 2020: Tuesdays, June 9 – July 21 (no class June 23 or July 14)
Applications due: May 15, 2020

Fall 2020 (tentative): Tuesdays, Oct. 6 – Nov. 17
Applications due: September 19, 2020

View detailed course schedules for I2M.

 

I2M Program Information

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

During the Innovation-to-Market program, teams will:

  • Be exposed to various business and social impact model examples that have scaled and sustained.
  • Be introduced to the Business Model Canvas to move your innovation forward.
  • Build customer discovery skills
  • Develop the core elements of a value proposition
  • Formulate and test hypotheses on their product/offering and value proposition through in-depth customer interviews
  • Learn in an experiential setting with other campus innovators
  • Become familiar with the concept of customer segments

After taking part in I2M, teams will:

  • Have conducted at least 20 in-depth customer interviews
  • Have substantially increased knowledge about product-market fit for their innovation
  • Be able to articulate next steps for developing their innovation based on evaluation of product-market fit
  • Have increased their skills and confidence with respect to communicating their entrepreneurial concept
  • Established connections and relationships with fellow on-campus innovators and mentors

 

 

APPLICATION GUIDELINES

  • You have a well-articulated product, technology, or business model concept.
  • You can state what problem your innovation solves or addresses.
  • You’ve done some preliminary research into your innovation, including customers, market size, and alternative solutions to the problem it solves.
  • You are committed to conducting at least 20 customer interviews within the course of five weeks. (Don’t worry; we’ll teach you how.)
  • You understand that I2M 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.
  • 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.
  • While a full team is not required to make an initial application to I2M, it could be helpful to your application to have identified a Business Lead at minimum.