Format & Timeline
Prior to the Start of the Program
Graduate students, professional students, and postdocs who wish to participate must apply and be accepted into the program. The deadline for the application is midnight on September 10, 2019, and you will be notified of your acceptance into the program within a couple of weeks.
Kickoff Meeting: September 27-29, 2019
The E(I) Lab will begin with a two-day kickoff meeting that shares many common elements with a traditional hackathon (see Wikipedia, MIT Hacking Medicine). On the morning of the first day, participants are given an overview of the E(I) Lab program as well as an introduction to the Business Model Canvas and Lean LaunchPad/Agile Engineering methodologies, followed by a social lunch hour. Immediately after lunch, there will be a presentation of 8-12 problems that have been vetted and deemed appropriate for the program. The participants will then have the opportunity to organize themselves into teams based on individuals’ interests and skill sets, and begin initial brainstorming of potential innovative solutions. This process will also include two 30-minute informational sessions about customer discovery and development of minimum viable products. After dinner, the participants will continue to develop and fine tune their ideas.
The second day begins with teams developing a detailed execution plan including timeline, budget, distribution of tasks and key deliverables surrounding the proposed innovation. Each team will condense the information into an 8 minute presentation in the early afternoon following lunch. The hackathon will conclude with logistical arrangements for the remainder of the program.
The Next Five Months
Teams will immediately begin to develop their prototypes as well as undertake the customer discovery process to help ensure that the proposed innovations do indeed address needs in the marketplace, without potential hurdles in gaining market entry. It is entirely possible that the proposed innovation does not work or there is no marketplace for the proposed product; each team must learn how to quickly pivot and either re-develop the proposed product, or shift the focus to a different problem. During this eight month period, all participants will meet twice a month on Tuesday evenings. The first meeting of each month consists of a didactic module covering a variety of topics in entrepreneurship and innovation, followed by a “fireside chat” session with experienced entrepreneurs. Teams are encouraged to meet and continuing working afterwards. The second meeting of each month will focus on progress reports, where each team will be required to give a 10-minute update of its progress followed by 10-12 minutes of questions and feedback from faculty and other participants. Our expectation is that before the eight month period is over, each team will have successfully developed a minimum viable product, with the needed IP filing, that is ready to be transitioned to an industry partner or startup company. Some teams may accomplish this in even less time.
Finally, at the last gathering of the program, all teams will make a final presentation to a panel of faculty, physicians, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to determine the winners of the monetary prizes ($3,000 first place, $1,500 second place, $750 third & fourth place). We are currently exploring with potential donors the possibility of a grand prize that will provide non-dilutive seed funding for a startup company based on the winning team’s innovation.