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Innovation & Industry Engagement Academy

Course Description

This was an Innovative, first of its kind programme run in partnership with Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC). The programme had 3 main objectives:

  • Teach participants a reproducible system for identifying and implementing innovation projects with less time, risk and resources.
  • Bring industry and academia together to identify opportunities for collaborative research projects.
  • Develop ideas for addressing major industry-wide challenges.

We worked in partnership with and SAIC to conceive the programme in order to help support and stimulate more innovation in the aquaculture sector. We designed the programme, which included a 100-page workbook, 6 days of training/workshop materials and trainer notes.

The programme ran over 6 weeks, with 2-day residential workshops delivered at 2-week intervals.  Between the workshops, participants had specific “homework” activities related to their project. We also ran weekly coaching calls with the teams to help keep the projects on track.

The project involved the following key stages:

Stage 1:  Team Creation & Challenge Selection – 4 teams were formed, each with 1 representative from a different company and 1 PhD student. Each team selected a different industry challenge.

Stage 2 (2 Days): Idea Generation, Selection & Refinement – Each team created 15-20 ideas, selected the top 4 and further refined those ideas.

Stage 3 (2 weeks):  Idea Discovery – Each team member conducted specific discovery activity to learn more about the unknowns associated with their idea.

Stage 4: Making it Real (2 Days) – Teams selected one idea they would develop further. They then worked to bring it to life through prototyping, financial modelling, further research and creating initial marketing materials.

Stage 5:  Idea Discovery (2 weeks) – The teams conducted further discovery activity related to the one idea they were developing.  This included running live tests, connecting with experts and conducting customer discovery activities.

Stage 6: Industry Presentations (2 Days) – Teams created presentations for their ideas.  On the final day, a group of 25 industry representatives attended a live pitching event where the teams presented their ideas.

The programme was laser-focused on real-world applicability.  The programme included the following modules, with the skills applied to the specific challenge:

  • Idea Generation
  • Rapid Prototyping & MVP
  • Customer Discovery
  • Intellectual Property
  • Pitching Skills
  • Customer Discovery & Market Research
  • Sales Forecasting & Financial Planning
  • Project Planning
  • Revenue Models
  • Marketing Communications

Bi-weekly coaching for the innovation teams was built into the programme, with a focus on actions, learnings and critical next steps required to move the project forward with limited resources.

The programme was seen as a fantastic success, delivering:

  • 60 raw ideas to solve 4 industry challenges
  • 16 ideas explored
  • 4 ideas prototyped
  • 2 ideas field tested.
  • 1 of the ideas is currently being implemented, the other 3 are being explored further by the participating companies and SAIC.

Most importantly, the participants learned a collection of valuable tools and skills they continue to apply back at their respective workplaces.

Course Info