Working so closely with our innovators allows us to gain insight to the critical institutional, educational, and financial gaps they face between concept and first product. Over the coming months we will be working with several partners to pilot a number of new initiatives that are designed to address the most severe of these gaps.
As we alluded to in our 2016 Annual Report, a major area of focus will be addressing knowledge and educational gaps in science and engineering training. Through a new collaboration with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and building on our partnerships with the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission, we will be working over the next year to create publicly available tools and training resources based on our program at Cyclotron Road, and making them broadly accessible to science innovators the world over. Our hope is that this will create a virtuous cycle that encourages more scientists and engineers to pursue commercial application of their research and increases their chances of success.
Specific resources that we are currently developing include:
- Sharing the Cyclotron Road innovation framework—educational curricula, mentorship programming, and resources for science innovators
While resources to support software or consumer product innovation are abundant, there are few existing educational tools or curricula tailored specifically to hard tech innovation. The scarce resources that do exist can be difficult to find and hard to interpret without guidance from experienced technologists. We have found that the lack of such educational resources and guidance can lead to costly, unproductive, and unnecessary diversions and delays for our innovators.
To address this need, we have been piloting our own innovation framework and corresponding training curricula and mentorship programming with our teams. Our framework builds upon elements of various traditional and modern innovation models to systematically provide hard science innovators with the tools they need for success at the concept-to-prototype stage. Unlike other models, our framework
provides a strong coupling between technical and business development, and supports a wide range of commercialization pathways.
In the coming months, we will integrate this program into a formalized educational curriculum, mentorship program, and resource database (see Playbooks below). Ultimately, we aim to provide innovators with every tool they need to maximize their chance of success. We plan to share these resources openly in hopes of more broadly accelerating the translation of hard science into commercially viable products.
- "Techonomics"—technology economics for scientists and engineers
For new industrial technologies to have widespread impact, they must operate at enormous scale and at competitive cost. Yet most scientists lack the training to evaluate the economics of new technology adoption and production. To address this gap, we have created educational content covering everything from back-of-the envelope manufacturing cost estimates to quantifying the customer's unit economics. The goal: equip our innovators with the key tools needed to develop a product that succeeds in the industrial market.
- Founder's Playbooks—the go-to resource library for hard tech innovators
Our team has found that there are certain "gold standard" references and examples of excellence that we repeatedly share with our innovators on topics ranging from finance to customer engagement, team building, technology development, and more. The Founder's Playbooks will be an open source online library that represents our go-to knowledge repository for hard tech innovators and entrepreneurs. Cyclotron Road, along with a community of educational partners and practitioners, will serve as a living laboratory for these resources, continually building upon and refining the content contained within the library based on their day-to-day engagement with leading hard tech innovators and entrepreneurs.
Keep an eye out for these new resources to be released over the coming months—as well as several other exciting special projects—by signing up for our newsletter.