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InnovateAthon HS ... coming early 2020!!

InnovateAthon HS is a program for high school students that focuses on creating potential innovative solutions to real-world problems and opportunities.  Participants apply creativity, entrepreneurship, innovation, science, engineering, economics, and business principles.

An InnovateAthon HS is typically a 3-day event but could be condensed or expanded to fit student, high school, or sponsor requirements.  The event can be held over three consecutive days, or spaced out over several weeks. 

A single InnovateAthon HS event is comprised of 9 to 12 high school students organized in 3 teams of 3 or 4 students each.  Three state-certified high school teachers with InnovateAthon HS training lead the event along supported by volunteer industry mentors. 

If more than 12 students are interested in participating, they could be supported by multiple simultaneous InnovateAthon HS events.

Individual InnovateAthon events are primarily funded by industry sponsors and grants from community organizations.  The funding includes scholarships for the high school student participants for furthering their post-HS education, and honorariums for the event teachers.

Each student team develops potentially innovative solutions to pre-selected real-world problems. The problems could encompass technology, business, economics, science, art, environment, communications, engineering, and other issues.

At the conclusion of an InnovateAthon program, each student team will have created a  6-12 page written executive summary for their innovation.  They will also make a 15-minute presentation to InnovateAthon HS event participants and individuals from the sponsoring organization.

As an aid in stimulating creative thinking, an Innovate-A-thon HS program is typically held in a "fresh" rather than a location "familiar" to the student participants.

A prime goal of the InnovateAthon HS program is to encourage the student participants to apply their current educational background, learn new skills and knowledge, and encourage them to continue their education beyond high school.

For further information, please contact Jim Jindrick (Jindrick@U.Arizona.edu)

Innovation Impact Roadmap



For 20+ years, I taught in the University of Arizona entrepreneurship program which, at one point, was ranked #1 in the world by several major business publications. 

On the whiteboard in my office, I drew a roadmap of the new venture creation process. It was, in essence, the syllabus for our entrepreneurship program in graphical form. [I was the keeper of the whiteboard, not necessarily the author of all that was there! I had some pretty wise and wonderful UA collaborators as well as entrepreneurship gurus from around the world from which the information was collected.]

Students and colleagues at UA would ask if they could take a photo of the whiteboard. Of course, yes! And I did the same. I took a photo, but ... I wanted to add a bit more here and there. And then I got carried away!! So ... the diagram you see today is the result.

One of the struggles we encountered, in teaching entrepreneurship concepts and building new ventures, is that the process is not particularly time-linear. It is often iterative, a back-and-forth process. Hence, a roadmap outlines the elements that need to be addressed, but not necessarily a hard path in doing so. At some point, the venture team should visit all the "attractions" on the map, but the order of the trip may vary depending on the nature of the venture.

The "main highway" is the mission statement, highlighted in yellow.

Essentially,this roadmap for innovation commercialization is an entrepreneurship checklist, ... the key elements that should be considered and addressed when putting together a plan for a new business venture.

PDF, JPEG, and PNG versions are available here: InnovationImpactRoadmap.com

--Jim

[7.26]

The Critical Success Factor

There are multiple factors that directly influence the health and wealth of any given business venture. These factors may be diverse and different depending on the nature of the business. The Critical Success Factor, however, is common to virtually all business ventures.

The Critical Success Factor: Earn a Profit Solving Customer Problems Better than the Competition. It is do, or die. A venture dies for one of three reasons: 1] It didn't earn a profit; 2] It didn't solve its customer's problems; 3] It wasn't better than the competitive alternatives.

Earn a Profit Solving Customer Problems Better than the Competition ... The Critical Success Factor for all business ventures.

Critical ... having the potential to become disastrous
Success ... attains prosperity
Factor ... a circumstance that contributes to an outcome

* Earn ... Teamwork!  A business employs a team of people working together to continually and profitably solve customer problems better than competing alternatives. Healthy, growing ventures follow a clear business model. An educated, experienced, collaborative, communicative team with key core competencies is paramount to success.

* Profit ... The monetary value captured by a business is appropriately called earnings. After all expenses are accounted, earnings become profit. Profit is a reward for doing a good job solving customer problems. A key source of growth funding for a business venture is earned profit. While the profit reward is "financial", the reward can and should have other elements, too. In a healthy venture culture it can actually be "fun" going to work and being part of the team, and their may well be some "fame" that results from delivering valued solutions to customers.

* Solving ... Solutions to customer problems are typically combinations of products, services, process, and methods. However, the world keeps changing as do customers and competitors. Solving customer problems, new and old, is a continuing process for sustaining a healthy venture.

* Customer ... Customers are the primary source of revenue for a business venture. Some business ventures may have only a few key customers, others may have many. A group of customers that share similar traits comprise a market segment. Many business ventures may serve multiple and varied market segments. A business venture exists to serve its customers.

* Problems ... Customer needs, wants, desires, and situations that can be adequately addressed  and resolved in a reasonable time and expense are good opportunities for a business venture.

* Better ... Continually improving value is critical to sustaining a competitive advantage. Scientists and engineers often think about innovative solutions in terms of the fit, form, function, features, and performance. The entrepreneur thinks in terms of the benefits customers will receive. Value is measured by comparing the benefits to the price. Value can be increased by delivering better benefits to customers, by lowering the price, or both. Customers decide what offers the better value. In the long run, the products, services, processes, and methods that deliver a better value win the business.  In short: Value = Benefits / Price

* Competition ... There are (almost) always competing solutions and ventures from other sources that are directly comparable to our solution. This competition includes indirect alternatives, substitutes, and replacements that could serve customer requirements. Best to assume we have competition, even if we don't yet know who or what. Competition is not always a bad thing ... competitors can help validate and build new markets, and sometimes competitors can become collaborative partners.

Potential Business Models

1. Design physical products/merchandise
2. Manufacture physical products/merchandise
3. Sell physical products/merchandise
4. Create information/content/data
5. Aggregate or distribute information/content/data
6. Provide personal or business service
7. Provide expert advice/consultation
8. Provide money/financing
9. Provide labor or human resources
10. Transport products/services
11. Provide infrastructure/telecommunications
12. Provide in-person or online marketplace for others to sell goods or services