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i6 Agile Innovation System

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In 2010, Carnegie Mellon University and Innovation Works (IW) won the i6 Challenge, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration aimed at identifying and supporting the nation’s best ideas for technology commercialization and entrepreneurship.

During the two year award, Carnegie Mellon and IW are working together to develop an “Agile Innovation System” that will accelerate the commercialization of technologies being developed within the region’s universities and small businesses, and can be duplicated throughout the nation.

The i6 Agile Innovation System is leveraging the innovation ecosystem at Carnegie Mellon, which includes the Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, CTTEC, the Open Fields Entrepreneurs Fund, Project Olympus, and the Quality of Life Foundry. The System is also leveraging existing programs at IW, such as AlphaLab and the Executive in Residence program.

The i6 Agile Innovation System is built upon these four pillars:

Each i6 workshop is designed to teach participants the tools of early customer interaction and validation and the methodologies for prioritizing that feedback into short cycle product development that leads to rapid-prototypes and Minimum Viable Products.

Teams accepted into this program receive three mentors with domain and functional expertise that can advise them in the development of their product, business model, customer acquisition and overall vision.

Meet the i6 Mentors

Through Translational Research Grants, i6 participants will receive “Funding to Meet with Customers” that will help build the long-term habit of engaging potential customers early and often—a habit that leads to more successful products and companies.

i6 teams are given access to accelerator space at one of CMU’s accelerators or through AlphaLab.

Contact Sonya Ford with questions.

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Press Release: U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Announces Winners of i6 Challenge

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