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New shoe for the physically disabled - working with a college

Discussion in 'Product Creation, Inventing, Importing, Sourcing' started by Mikkel, Nov 1, 2018.

  1. Mikkel
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    Mikkel Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Howdy! :cool: It seems I have been MIA for nearly a year on this site! As a student physical therapist, I have just had my head in the books and there seemed to be no time to look up and forward to new business opportunities...

    UNTIL LAST MONTH

    I received an email from a business and technology school asking if I wanted to participate in what is called an "IdeaLab." Basically, people in the medical community provide problems that need to be fixed and the people at IdeaLab will try and come up with solutions.

    Here is the catch.

    They only give you 24 hours!

    Long story short, my team came up with a concept to redesign a shoe to help certain people with physical disabilities. We got a lot of people talking about the potential of our idea as we were able to create a prototype and showed a working demonstration on the specific problem we were trying to solve.

    By the end of the 24 hour period, I decided I wanted to take this concept to the next level and create a team.

    There was only one problem...

    I'm not a student of their school. So I have been getting stonewalled from trying to join their team. They kept saying, well you have to be an undergrad student(I'm a grad student) to be able to transfer into an extracurricular class. However, I don't care about the credit from school. I just want in on the project.

    I decided to go a bit rogue. I know. I know. Bad a$$, right?

    I contacted one of the team members that has a degree in industrial design and asked her if she wanted to team up and forget about going through the college. She agreed.

    She ended up sending me a email about joining a 2-3 week class that helps validate business concepts. At the end of the class, they offer UP TO $50,000 in grant funds if they find a business that is a good concept. That starts tomorrow... I'm incredibly excited!

    Anyways, here is my problem. The school is now asking me if I want to join their team... not sure if this guy even knows I'm not apart of their college. So I will be having a meeting with him tomorrow, hopefully. The problem is, the majority of the team members won't be providing any incredible value to the team. Their majors don't even line up with the product we want to create. For instance, we could use a mechanical engineer and a shoe designer... not a biomedical engineer and an illustrator.

    I don't want to start working with a bunch of people that are unnecessary as that just slows things down. I ended up emailing the girl who I was going to work with... she now says she doesn't seem to have much time for this project.

    I am torn, having access to the school is incredibly important because I will be able to use their equipment to help build further prototypes and I will have access to some of the teachers or coaches if I wanted.

    A possible outcome is if I work with this team(if they even allow me to join) they probably wouldn't want to continue after they finish up the semester, but I also have no clue what will happen. Also, hypothetically, if I do win any sort of grant money, I have no idea how that money will be divided up. Will it be tied to the business or to me and the business I take on.

    Anyways, I don't know what the outcome will be but I will try and keep this thread updated on my journey. This is new territory for me so I will be doing a lot of learning on the way. If you have any questions or suggestions, just shoot away! If you want to just follow along the journey, welcome aboard!
     
    Scot likes this.
  2. jasoncuellar123
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    jasoncuellar123 I’m probably awake. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Can't you do both?
     
  3. Jeff Noel
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    Jeff Noel Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Just be careful not to get caught doing something you shouldn't be doing. The lab's equipment has restricted access for a reason, and there might be consequences to using this equipment without being a part of the school.

    Could this even be considered as trespassing ?
     
  4. Mikkel
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    Mikkel Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I could, that's what I will find out tomorrow when I meet with one of the professors. I am concerned about the problems that may occur when having a college be the center of planning and how things ultimately run. For instance, if myself and others believe that a person shouldn't be on the team, can we kick them off the project, or will the college intervene and tell us this is apart of "their extracurriculars?"

    I realize I may be over complicating things for a product we aren't even 100% sure will be successful. Maybe I should just take on this potential problem if and when it shows up.


    That's definitely a good question. I'm assuming everything is all good since I have been talking with their professors and they allowed me to use their facilities prior. I can bring that up tomorrow when I met with one of the professors.
     
    Jeff Noel likes this.
  5. Bekit
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    Bekit Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    It might be worth asking for some of the names of people who have successfully created products through this program in the past. Talk to those people. Were they allowed to continue with the business after they left the school? Did the school claim all the profit, or did the student get to run it as a business owner? Some of your unanswered questions may be able to be answered this way, and it'll give you light for your decision making process.
     
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  6. Mikkel
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    Mikkel Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    This is a great suggestion. I'll see if I can get in contact with any of these people.

    Thank you :smile:
     
  7. Mikkel
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    Mikkel Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    UPDATE:

    Lots have been learned this week. Currently, I am on my 2nd day of a 16-day short course. The main point of this class is to take the concept we have and do customer discovery. Does anyone even want our product?

    Through the course, I now have:

    1. The problem I am solving. It will actually be two main problems that are solved.
    2. Our top 5 assumptions that we are making that are important to determine if our product is desirable by other people.
    3. Three solid questions to ask people that we will be interviewing.

    Action Item: By this Wednesday, November 7th, I will have 10 in-depth interviews completed. My goal is to better understand my problems and to test my top 5 assumptions. I won't even talk about my product? Just asking the question and listening.

    My Team: Still in the air with this. It seems that my industrial designer will not have time to work on this project after this 2-week period. That is okay though. I'd rather search for a dedicated person than find someone quick. Luckily for me, as stated in a previous post, the school I am working with has every skill set this product needs.

    Facilities: I have been talking with people at RIT, though not the specific person I want to talk to, he should get an email back from him soon. However, the faculty is fine with me using their "stuff." As of right now, I am technically working with this school due to me being apart of this short course.
     
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  8. Sheens
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    Sheens Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Thanks for keeping us updated!

    Did they provide you with insight or legalities of the relationship after your short course ends?

    Could you then take sole responsibility for this idea/business and ask those providing you insight to be consultants developing into an advisory board?
     
  9. Mikkel
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    Mikkel Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    The short course is merely a course. They own zero part of the idea or concept. Their benefit is to send myself and others to the national conference and get our projects funded by others. Our funds received, from my understandings are grants, rather than a typical investment. All the products being created is at least partially apart of Access Technology, which this organization wishes to push.

    As for the school, I have talked with our students who have started businesses in similar fashion through the school, the school only supported them. They don't own any portion of their company.
     
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  10. Mikkel
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    Mikkel Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    UPDATE:

    Zonked. That's how I'm feeling. Been running around all week trying to schedule interviews and ended up conducting 10 of them in the past 3 days... while going to Grad classes. I'm fortunate enough to have my target customer walk through my school doors each day, as it makes it easy to find interviews.

    The majority of my interviews in the first few days were professionals including OT and PT teachers. In the next few weeks, I'd like to schedule and conduct more interviews with the actual customers, which would be a specific population of PT patients.

    What is nice is, when talking to only 3 "PT patients," I was able to figure out the important descriptive value propositions, for instance, their "loss of dignity." If my product and hypothesis become validated, these value propositions can be used to market my product.

    ACTION:
    • By this Friday, I will be interviewing AT LEAST 7 more customers/professionals as I have them already scheduled.
    • I will keep on pushing to get in contact with a specific healthcare organization(I'll call them ABC Health) that has access to a lot of these patients. Right now, I've been having difficulties trying to get in contact with the facilities director, already visited her office once without luck, but I will just keep repeating until I get to talk with her.
    • Constantly updating my business canvas.
    • Looking for important trends during interviews.
     

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