Lessons Learned from NSF I-Corps Boot Camp

Muhammad S. Ahmed


Audience Response System, (ARS), has proven its values as a tool to enhance students' engagement and participation in the classroom. Since 2011, the author was working on to creating a web based application, Click2Text, to incorporate cell phones and smart phones in traditional and online classes to replace ARS. Several web-based solutions were tested and launched, however, it was hard to convince fellow faculty members for its adoption. It is also a known fact that most academic researchers in universities and college have little or no previous knowledge of entrepreneurial process nor do they possess the entrepreneurial mindset and related skills. So, when in the winter of 2016, the author was presented with an opportunity to participated in the NSF I-Corps introduction to customer discovery course, boot camp at Wayne State University, it was seen as a great opportunity to learn entrepreneurial process and skill. This paper documents how I-Corps boot camp helped in refining author’s research on Click2Text by identifying right customer segments and their needs and using them to create feature list that will eventually contribute to popularizing Click2Text within the university. The study also document lessons learned that would help new and young academic researchers making the intelligent decision of choosing to participate in I-Corps activities and how to get the most benefit of the boot camp.

Keywords: NSF, I-Corps, customer requirements, product design, commercialization

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