Back in October of last year while talking to two senior administrators at OU’s College of Medicine, I was walking them through what I wanted to be doing on the venture development front. Out of the blue I declared “I’m tired of talking about what I want to do…so why don’t we just DO something? Why don’t I solicit our researchers and offer to take then through an ideation and strategy building process for those wanting to see their innovations commercialized?” And thus, Innovation Pathway was quickly born put into the hands of our first cohort of researchers. We have since initiated the concept with a second cohort.
What is Innovation Pathway? In just a few words it is a process to help a scientific researcher articulate the business value of their innovation. But it is so much more! It’s all about understanding the value of markets in getting innovations in the hands of users. It’s about briefly and succinctly explaining the application of the innovation to investors, customers, future employees and others who can lend aide on the journey to the market. It’s about designing a workable strategy to obtain capital for commercialization activity and ultimately market presence. It’s even about learning how to leverage the knowledge of mentors and investors in realizing your dream of market impact.
Originally named Innovation Pathway, now shortened to iPath, this program held its inaugural installment in the first half of 2022 at OU’s Health Science Center Campus. The program has now been expanded to accommodate faculty, students or staff innovators from any of the OU campuses. Any OU founder – faculty, staff or student – with an idea to test in the market is encouraged to apply. You can apply by clicking on the IPath Application link on our Office of Innovation and Corporate Partnerships website at https://ou.edu/oicp
On our website, you can find the entire list of things you will learn in the program, including market validation, customer discovery, finding the right investors, the components of a pitch, why investors say “no,” presenting your opportunity, identifying funding needs, what investors look for, insights from entrepreneurs, developing your plan, and importantly, refining your financials.
We have refined the content down in such a way as to bring you all this via an online learning ideation program that lets you progress through it at your own pace – you just commit to six weekly hour-long sessions for review. And all this culminates in a two-full day commitment to attend the closing workshop focused on mentorship, capital strategy development and investor pitches.
But perhaps the most exciting part of the program is the speakers, investors and mentors that come in to spend time with us. It is these treasures that make us realize how networking, teamwork and joint efforts are what make the difference in successfully taking the pathway to the market.