Scientific Method and Startups

  • July 29, 2011
  • Scott

It is just hard to see how this news, courtesy of Steve Blank, could possibly be bad news:

Today, the National Science Foundation (NSF) – the $6.8-billion U.S. government agency that supports research in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering – is changing the startup landscape for scientists and engineers. The NSF has announced the Innovation Corps – a program to take the most promising research projects in American university laboratories and turn them into startups. It will train them with a process that embraces experimentation, learning, and discovery.

The NSF will fund 100 science and engineering research projects every year. Each team accepted into the program will receive $50,000.

I feel sure that some will nay-say.  But Steve Blank has documented on his blog how the government has fostered a startup ecosystem before in his Secret History of Silicon Valley series, and this has some of the same feel to it – but with the added impetus of a better way to wrap scientists and researchers brains around the concepts of startup formation.

As a process guy, I’m really impressed with how much the process of “starting up” has been improved upon in just the last decade – and Steve Blank and Eric Ries and others in the Lean Startup movement are behind much of it (too many contributors to name in one post – because it really is a collection of ideas from many people and companies). I’ll continue to follow along as it informs our own growth as a “startup” consulting firm, but also because there are interesting cross-pollination opportunities with the process improvement work we do.

Congrats to Steve Blank, the NSF, and everyone else who was part of making this I-Corps program come true.

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