Innovation Acceleration Group Blog

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Yoda Ozan teaching startups

"Do or Do not, there is no Try" in Innovation!

“Do or Do not, there is no Try" - Master Yoda

I am quite late to reflect on my experience running the first fully English and International Accelerator in Turkey in partnership with UC Berkeley’s Innovation Acceleration Group; but hey I was trying to get to the ‘inbox zero’ Nirvana. Although I failed at getting the Nirvana of the Inbox Zero, I think I am as close as I can get to ‘We really made a difference’ Nirvana when accelerators are considered.

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Why You Should Ditch Your VP (at Least for a While)

In a December 2017 post, I observed that “misuse of the term ‘MVP’ frequently creates confusion and distraction” when launching new products, services, and business models. It’s worth taking a look at some of the causes of confusion, and why this confusion is destructive.


Everybody understands the concept of “minimum;” the troubles arise from what we mean by “viable” and “product.” For fun, I looked up the words using Microsoft’s Smart Lookup function and also the dictionary in my MacBook (they must be using the same source as their definitions were identical). I found:

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“MVP?” Your Name is “MUD”

In business launch processes, the “Minimum Viable Product” or MVP concept is powerful and useful. Unfortunately, misuse of the term “MVP” frequently creates confusion and distraction, wasting time and energy; these negative effects even hinder some projects’ forward progress or contribute to projects failing. To help solve this misuse problem, and the resulting confusion, I am introducing the concept of the “Minimum Useful Demo” or “MUD” in my programs.

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To Build a Bridge, Seek the Truth

On July 26th, 2017, I spoke on a panel in San Francisco called "Innovation Bridge: Technology, Startups and Europe’s Connection to Silicon Valley."

The Bay Area Economic Foundation organized the event.  I suspect they invited me because I was once CEO of a venture-backed European startup that moved its headquarters to Silicon Valley, and now I lead and teach innovation and entrepreneurship accelerators that span the globe.  

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IAG Innovator Highlight: Pure Carbon is Launching on Indiegogo

Aleda and Jonathan Schaffer are a power team. They built a startup by combining their maker minds and love for excerise. We met them about 1 year ago when we taught the America's Greatest Maker's cast how to develop a business model while they competed for the $1million prize and title of America's Greatest Maker. Making it to the Finalist round, the Schaffer's were (sadly) eliminated. However, their momentum kept rolling! They used their new entreprenuership skills to jump start their business, Pure Carbon. Within the past year, they've smoothed out their creation, the Delta Gloves (designed to provide smart coaching for gymer goers) and are now ready to launch! 

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IAG Innovator Highlight, Hakeem Javaid

Team BLOCKS with Andre Marquis and Mark Searle of IAG 

Hakeem Javaid met the Innovation Acceleration Group (IAG) in the first Intel’s Make It Wearable Challenge. Hakeem and his team, Blocks, set forth to make a modular smartwatch based on Intel's Edison Module. The competition invited entrants from 26 countries to create the most innovatove wearable products for a $500,000 grand prize. The IAG instructors and mentors pushed these global entrepreneurs to connect deeply with their customers to solve significant problems and rapidly create the best product with a scalable business model. In our Berkeley parlance - to iterate and pivot at the pace of a Silicon Valley startup. By the conclusion of Make It Wearable, Hakeem’s team learned that the conceptual prototype they originally walked in with had to be updated significantly to meet the desires of their customers. “I found myself struggling to define an ideal persona of each customer segment,” Hakeem told me on a Skype interview. “One of my favorite quotes was from Andre’s [Marquis] first lecture. He said something like, ‘It’s good to interact with your customers early on because then your customers are able to help build a product they love.’ Since then, I try to do this with all my products.”

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