Innovation Acceleration Group Blog

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Lean Startup

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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IAG Innovator Highlight: How Embr Labs reached 5x their Kickstarter goal

For the past 4 years, Sam Shames has transformed his position from CTO to the Chief Enthusiasm Officer at Embr Labs. In the fall of 2014, the IAG team worked with Sam and his co-founders from MIT during the Intel Make It Wearable Challenge. This challenge was based on IAG's Enterprise Startup Engagement program. The goal was to create a global challenge for startups to create wearable technology by implementing the, then newly released, Intel Edison chip. IAG worked with the startups to teach them how to validate and pitch their businesses, while Intel worked with the engineers to develop a working prototype.

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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, 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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Does Your Innovation Process Assume You (Or Your Bosses...) Can Pick Winners?

The Bad News

You can't pick winners. The data from investing is overwhelming:
  • 12% of venture capital funds outperformed the market.(1)
  • 7% of angel investments account for 75% of returns.(2)
  • 0.6% of 2,100 actively managed US equity funds tracked between 1975 and 2006 outperformed the market. (That is, none….)(3)
The data from product development is just as bad:
  • 87% of university patent licensing offices lose money.(4)
  • The probability in the US of a pharmaceutical progressing from the first Phase 1 clinical trial to FDA approval is <10%.(5)
  • Of the 1,900 new CPG brands that hit retail shelves across the U.S in 2011 almost 70% accrued less than $7.5 million in year-one sales (aka lost money).(6)
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