What I learned working with research scientists at a startup bootcamp.
At Pollenizer, we believe that everyone has the potential to transform ideas into world changing businesses. Before anything becomes a business, there are moments of discovery that inspire you to keep going. There are ups and downs and sometimes it takes a while to break through, until you arrive at something that works. This is the same for scientists.
We work with scientists that are developing projects with the capability to change people’s lives. Often, these projects don’t make it to market fast enough and miss out on vital funding. Startups are notorious for hitting the market fast. So, what if we could get new science technology to market with similar speed? What if we could get scientists to think like entrepreneurs.
Our job was to guide these great minds to the market, assisting them to visualise their tech innovation as tangible, and aligning this to a current customer need. We wrap a new business model around a world changing solution, giving these concepts the oxygen they need to make them commercially viable.
I learned a lot from working alongside these fantastic teams. As they shared with me, I’ll share with you what I learned across the 2 days.
HOW DID YOU GET TEAMS TO ACT?
At Pollenizer, we sometimes obsess over execution. ‘Doing wins arguments’ – Operating in a world of assumptions does not last long in the process of Startup Science®. We are flung into reality pretty quickly, which can really affect how we see the world. The quicker you launch and learn, the less time wasted working on something that may never work.
So, how did we get them out of the building? Approximately sixty faces looked at me in disbelief, at the thought of going out to speak to strangers about their health problems. Telling our group, that without engaging with customers to understand where their pain points lie, we run the risk of developing a solution that doesn’t quite fit the need.
Speaking with people to uncover problems and confirms what you’re working on, giving you more scope to explore this further. This is the vital proof that can fuel your next stage and allow you design the next part of your path to market.
WHAT SURPRISED YOU?
Spending 2 full days unlocking the future of health with these incredible minds, I began to uncover all the similarities and differences between entrepreneurs and scientists. Both follow process to its core. This is second nature to our scientists.
They appreciate other people’s skills and backgrounds
We acknowledged the differences we had. We have a different set of skills. We explore another science that arrives at very different conclusions. It didn’t matter. There was an open energy that allowed cross collaboration, driving change in the science. They delivered epic discussion and insights, while we helped them connect the dots.
Our appetite for learning is aligned
As a group, they were soaking up as much content as possible. Moving through our modules, the groups applied themselves to the process without any objection. They embodied entrepreneurship, absorbing every aspect of our startup methodology. This enabled them to level up, clean and fast, seamlessly moving between topics with ease. It was great to be part of, a pleasure indeed.
They are focused on impact
The key driver for our scientists was determined by how this will change lives and how we can find people that would benefit this solution most. Establishing their team’s ‘WHY’ came easy for some, many having personal association to the concepts being worked on. There was passion in spades.
They think facts over vision
We think #massive from the start of our sessions. The driving force behind innovation is a clear vision and imagining what is possible. As entrepreneurs, we admit to not knowing all the answers. We are taking a punt and things almost feel completely uncertain. Scientists find it tricky to make things up – there is less room for fabrication in this world. Factual arguments win every time. But even if it doesn’t exist now, we need to believe it will. Imagination is key to innovation, especially for our scientists.
Our scientists left feeling like entrepreneurs. Reaching into the market, they discovered that their customers were not too far away. They took a giant leap in proving there is a problem. And importantly, it was their job to solve it. We shared a new iterative process that allowed the teams step forward and advance. Creating something that has never been done before. They left transformed, with courage to take on the world. And us more fortunate, knowing the difference they will make.