At Thursday’s peer crit, Henry & Mark practiced the elevator pitches they’d be giving that night at the CN Tower, for the International Startup Festival’s Elevator World Tour.
We’ve confirmed two events in the next few weeks: an Imagination Catalyst open house, and an event we’re co-hosting with FounderDating Toronto. Details forthcoming…
Rounding out the week, I had great meetings with Stephanie (who’s been writing her executive summary to submit to MaRS’ Up-Start competition), Greg Van Alstyne (from sLab), and Stacy from Ryerson’s DMZ.
It’s been one of those weeks where it feels like the most honest representation of progress would be by a count of the number of emails sent and received. The short update: project summaries are nearing completion, I’m making progress with the discussion paper and high-level planning, and we’re working on organizing a couple of upcoming events (details soon).
On the weekend I attended Harvard XDesign, co-hosted by the design and business schools there. It had a great lineup of speakers, great energy, and I met lots of great people. I hope to write a separate post sometime about that experience…
At this week’s peer crit, we heard from:
- Jess & Mark about teamWave: they’re working on demos, and continuing to search for a faculty advisor for their REB application
- Mandad about HealX: making progress with IP issues, and exploring funding options
- Henry about Revelo: he just gave an updated pitch presentation, and is working on an elevator pitch
- Loretta about SonicWear: prototyping with dancers, and doing market research
- Mark about Qualia: addressing the challenge of designing for a niche interface
My own work was mostly research and writing — for the IC discussion paper, and for the project summaries I wrote about last week.
I was also able to check out some interesting events this week:
One of the great things about being involved with the Imagination Catalyst in its current phase (I’ve been describing it as “in beta”) is that we have the space to prototype processes. The prototype I’ve been working on this week is about the way in which we’ll be communicating with our network of advisors. Specifically, what systems do we implement to ensure that our advisors have up-to-date information about IC-incubated projects, in order for IC participants to best benefit from the experience of our advisors and their networks.
Presently, the IC is operating at a fraction of its ultimate capacity. So as we develop these kinds of processes, our focus is on scalability: a system that’s slightly inefficient now might be completely impractical once the IC is running at full scale. Continue reading
Late December is always a bit of a blur, but there’s lots to report on the past few weeks.
Right before the holidays, a small team of us was working hard on completing a financing proposal for the IC. It’s a pretty great plan, significantly expanding the scope of the work that we’ve been doing, increasing the opportunities to develop strong relationships with industry/community partners, and implementing a viable sustainability plan.
Over the holidays I made good progress on the IC discussion paper. In particular, I reviewed OCADU’s recent major strategy documents — the Strategic Plan 2012-2017, the Academic Plan 2011-2016, and the proposed Strategic Mandate Agreement — to ensure that the discussion paper has a sound foundation.
This week was mostly “heads down”: working on the discussion paper. But I had a bunch of good meetings, too:
Sunil Sharma is spending the next several weeks helping OCAD build connections with companies. On Monday I gave him a brief tour of the main campus, and we had a great chat about the possibilities and potential. He sees designers having a critical role in startups, and anticipates that their contribution will come to be seen on equal footing with business and technical people.
I had another great meeting with Monica, in which we outlined ideas for a new financing initiative. I had lunch with Jesse on Friday, and we talked about the Urban Ecologies conference in June, which he’s leading. And I had coffee with Miriam on Wednesday — it turns out we have a lot of common interests.
And we had our second peer critique this week. Each project got a full half-hour, so we were able to get much more in-depth, and all of the teams got valuable feedback. Thanks to Loretta, Mark & Jess, Mandad, Stephanie and Henry!