Steve Blank and the NSF's Innovation Corps

  • January 15, 2012
  • Scott

Steve Blank consistently writes one of the best blogs.  His installment (at least 2 parts) on the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps is no exception.

Of course the knee-jerk reaction from most people is that government cannot help in such situations without screwing things up… but then you see things like this:

63 scientists and engineers in 21 teams made 2,000 customer calls in 8 weeks, turning laboratory ideas into formidable startups. 19 of the 21 teams are moving forward in commercializing their technology.

That’s a great result from what they set out to tackle.  And of course there are no guarantees that these ideas will work – odds are most of the 19 proceeding will fail. But if the NSF can get scientists thinking about commercializing the tech they produce, the economy (and the US) will benefit as a result.

And keep in mind Steve Blank’s “Secret history of Silicon Valley”:

The Scientists, the NSF and the teaching team were all going to go where no one had before.

Given that Silicon Valley had started with scientists and engineers not MBA’s, I thought this was a bet worth making.

Pretty cool.  But the crazy thing is that they’re going to keep going – doing cohorts of 25 going forward.  Have to applaud this program for trying to get the most out of government R&D dollars – and hopefully spawning some startups in the process.  Just another interesting test case for the “process” of teaching entrepreneurship (and as he put it, applying the scientific method to developing a business).

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