Model to Mine:
While not a new offering in the continually expanding startup investment ecosystem, Google Ventures is worth exploring as a model for potential "edcubation" efforts here at the EdLab.
What makes Google's incubation arm unique? What elements of the EdLab team and projects listed below is a rundown of the interdisciplinary team they provide to support each budding company in their "Startup Lab."
1) Design. A dedicated team of UX designers and researchers support each startup through "design sprints," mentorship, office hours and user research. UX Happy Hours are even offered and described as, "Just designers hanging out once a month."
2) Recruiting. Your team matters as much as your product and Google recognizes this with a dedicated team of expert technical recruiters who help founders to plan their "human capital." There is even a dedicated Google Ventures job board (ResearchBroker!).
3) Marketing. This is a Google-backed venture after all... analytics and deep market knowledge plays a big factor here. Startups are given a team of marketers that include industry veterans like this to coaching them through the often treacherous waters of launch strategy, social media promotion and even "crisis management."
4) Engineering. Scalability and infrastructure design make all the difference in the success or failure of your product, and as such Google ensures that their extensive engineering expertise is available to help companies make the most of machine learning algorithms, big data analysis and more.
5) Google Mentors. Actual Googler's like this are available to mentor founders and their teams in every aspect of management, design and development.
Now for the EdLab! Listed below is my first attempt to match EdLab resources, teams and offerings to the above startup incubation elements - please add your own take, feedback and ideas in the comments below!
1) Design. The EdLab has a talented design team with extensive experience creating streamlined, beautiful UX. Could we offer a day-long design bootcamp for startups in our new "design atelier?" Perhaps an mSchool course focused on UX design for the edtech space?
2) Recruiting. The EdLab's multi-talented, interdisciplinary team is a testament to the amazing recruitment crew here at the lab... how can we harness and share this insight? Perhaps again, a workshop or mSchool course on hiring the right team to fit your needs? ResearchBroker is our job board for edtech focused research opportunities and provides startups with tutorials and resources to guide their research team.
3) Marketing. We are an idea-positive group... we are literally brimming with creative "genius!" Just attend one of our seminars and find-out for yourself... Marketing is an evolving process, with new insight and tools available almost everyday, thanks to team members with deep analytics knowledge, experience marketing everything from textbooks to French fragrance. We have a unique perspective on marketing, analysis and out-of-the-box campaigns. Unique resources like Vialogues, our proprietary video discussion platform and EdTech Talk series give startups a voice. Take a look!
4) Engineering. The EdLab engineering team includes former Googlers, computer science students from Columbia University and many more talented "do'ers" (sometimes even "un-do'ers!"). These programmers span a wide variety of interests, backgrounds and specialties... from Python to Django we've got it covered. I wonder if we could harness this power to go beyond our internal "knowledge" shares for startups? Like a "Crash Course" (bad word choice there!) in building and assessing a technical team? Or everything you need to know to get yourself off the ground...
5) Mentorship. Mentors have a special place at the lab. We actively mentor each other to quickly scaffold knowledge and facilitate the free-flow of ideas and understanding. We truly embrace rapid-prototyping and that includes quickly getting each-other up-to-speed on new developments in the field and new information we acquire. Another EdLab-developed tool Ednode, connects entrepreneurs, scholars and alumni here at Teachers College and provides a great model for networked mentorship!
Knowledge transfer and diffusion is one of the most important elements of a successful innovation lab, incubator and startup. What can the EdLab "transfer" and offer to a educational technology-focused startup? This is the question I am excited to answer together in the coming months... Not only will we offer startups the expertise of our team, but we also have a few edupreneurship tricks up our sleeves including, a demo night and new mobile publication. Stay-tuned!