Innovation Ecosystem Ideas Lab
September 23-27, 2013
Skoltech and MIT are looking for people interested in innovative ways to stimulate innovation.
The 21st century will see the boundaries of traditional innovation ecosystems blur and dissolve with greater openness and transparency of collaboration. Innovation happens everywhere: how can it be captured and focused as solutions to interesting problems, even around the world? How can one prepare for and even advance the orderly and deliberate disruption of technologically driven innovation to address important problems? How can one promote broad innovation to problems with economic and social impact?
How can an institution or government seed, grow and maximize technological innovation and entrepreneurship?
We seek to address this question through a facilitated Ideas Lab workshop that will promote a team approach to design experiments to drive innovative and entrepreneurial behavior. The intent is to fund one or more of these experiments.
Skoltech’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is chartered to create an innovation ecosystem that supports and sustains a culture of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (E&I) across the entire institution and is connected to an external ecosystem that can both support and absorb technological innovation and its commercial impact.
Core to this mission are the development of innovation programs for Skoltech and the recruitment of early- and mid- stage company/venture protagonists and business mentors to act as catalysts in accelerating innovation. This role has proven critical to the E&I activities of research universities in Cambridge/Boston and Palo Alto/Berkeley (US), Cambridge (UK), Singapore, Bangalore (India), and other areas that have experienced rapid technology-based growth.
An innovation ecosystem includes the network of interactions among its members (people, companies, and institutions), and between its members and the commercial and policy environment. Ecosystems are constrained by internal and external factors. External factors, such as federal policy concerning intellectual property, taxation, company formation, and labor rules, can affect—and sometimes control—the function and efficacy of an ecosystem, but are not influenced by the ecosystem.
In the context of this workshop, an innovation ecosystem is a community of people, companies, and institutions operating in an environment to accelerate the translation of ideas evolving from the university to impact in the marketplace. The goal is to create and open up an ecosystem, and explore how it can operate more broadly on a country or regional platform.
Our core challenge asks: “How can an institution or government seed, grow and maximize technological Innovation and Entrepreneurship?” We intend to select and fund research, through the Ideas Lab process, to address this question.
Many places exist worldwide wherein governments have partnered with national and international institutions to jump-start an innovation ecosystem. Our Ideas Lab focuses on multidisciplinary academic research to identify the critical elements of an innovation ecosystem (the Reference Model) and explore methods and practices applicable to the Russian Federation in general, and to Skolkovo in particular.
An Ideas Lab (or Sandpit, as it’s sometimes known) is an intensive, interactive workshop designed to produce radically different and innovative research proposals. This workshop is organized in collaboration with the MIT Skoltech Initiative and will be facilitated by KnowInnovation.
Used by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the US National Science Foundation (NSF), and others, the process is a facilitated, multidisciplinary approach to solving complex challenges.
Participants from diverse disciplines come together in a creative environment, away from their everyday responsibilities, and are invited to immerse themselves in a collaborative process around a complex problem in need of novel, and often radical, solutions.
Through five days of facilitated brainstorming, ideas emerge and new teams of Principal Investigators coalesce. These discussions aim to result in a small number of draft funding proposals that address Skoltech objectives.
Selected research projects are eligible to receive up to $500,000 per award per year with a possible extension for up to 4 years. Skoltech expects to make several awards.
At the end of the Ideas Lab workshop, proposals, including budgets, will be submitted to Skoltech, after which:
This is an open call. We invite and expect a broad response to our question, and welcome participants to join us in pursuing academic research into sustainable ecosystem formation. Approximately 25-30 applicants will be invited to join the September workshop.
We welcome an expression of your interest to join us, especially if you are:
The Ideas Lab will take place in the Russian Federation from September 23-27, 2013. Participants are expected to attend in entirety.
Travel, lodging, and related expenses, as well as letters of invitation, will be provided. Due to the intensive nature of the workshop, including evening and networking activities, travel companions are not permitted. Workshop dress is casual.
The deadline for expressions of interest is July 5, 2013.
Please read the above call (or pdf version below) before completing your application. Each application should be no longer than the limits specified and in a readable and reasonably sized font. Hint: we are not looking for your academic publication or research track record, but rather how you might approach cross-disciplinary problems in this area.
Note: The Ideas Lab will be conducted in English.
Submit your completed form and CV in PDF format, with ‘Ideas Lab Expression of Interest’ in the subject line, to email@example.com.
Selected participants will be notified by email in mid-July.