Global Venture Catalyst’s Real-World Innovation in a Virtual Environment with Mike Grandinetti and Iklaq Sidhu, PhD

Global Venture Catalyst’s Real-World Innovation in a Virtual Environment with Mike Grandinetti and Iklaq Sidhu, PhD

Mike Grandinetti and Dr. Ikhlaq Sidhu first appeared on the show in November 2020 to discuss their plans and the then-upcoming launch of the Global Venture Catalyst (GVC) platform and community.

The GVC initiative is aligned with a number of COVID-19 innovation-focused podcasts that I collaborated on with Mike in the Spring and Summer of 2020 to highlight how a number of institutions, from Mass. General Hospital to Georgia Tech to Rutgers to the Smith College Picker School of Engineering were breaking down silos and bringing together previously disparate groups to create critically needed ICU-class mechanical ventilators, incubation boxes, and face shields to overcome supply chain bottlenecks and life-threatening shortages of this critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

In this promised follow-up episode, Iklaq and Mike provide an update on the key take-ways of the GVC event, which operated on five continents simultaneously between January 9-17, 2021

Here’s a quick executive summary of this exciting – and groundbreaking – initiative:

  • 170 students participated with representation from the top 25 research universities globally and the top 20 MBA programs globally
  • Successful global corporate collaboration with Medtronic, Dassault, Next Era Energy, Applied Material, Celonis, Elkem, Axel Springer, and others 
  • Successful participation of global VC funds and tech accelerators, including LearnLaunch EdTechAccelerator, Blockchain Founders Fund, Amazon LaunchPad, and others
  • Successful participation of global advanced tech startups

Major learnings

  • Tested AI algorithms for creating student teams
  • GVC’s project-based team collaborations/spring are the new job interview
  • GVC is creating the education program of the future by:

– Unlocking latent potential of students

– Providing project – based learning in real life situations (STARTUP ventures and firms)

– Developing a professional profile for tech skills and also for proactive team behaviors (IQ/EQ/collaboration skills)

– Delivering a benefit to all stakeholders

– Helping students unlock potential, learn on real projects, and meet industry leaders and learn about industry players they likely would not have otherwise encountered

– Participating companies get visibility with a sought-after talent pool, targeted recruiting opportunities, and can benefit from the solution of, or progress towards resolving, actual problems

– Nurturing emerging ecosystems, diversity slate, and CSR

GVC major take-aways

1. Global community of innovators across 5 continents came together very quickly

2. Validated huge gap between companies and young, hyper-current skilled students

3. Great tech talent is truly globally dispersed

4. Undergraduate students can make huge contributions

5. The design sprint methodology, infused with the innovation-engineering methodology – is powerful and effective across many “use cases” (AI/ Machine Learning; tech assessment; UI/CX; Minimum Viable Product)

6. It’s remarkable what can be achieved in a 4-day focused sprint to unleash innovation

7. Some students hired to be interns, for example:

– Czech student with strong hired as intern by Boston EdTech company led by MIT CSEE grad)

– US MechEng student with career goal to work in auto industry to be hired as intern by a European company building next gen EV lithium ion batteries

Going Forward Plans

Build a platform and a community

Continue to grow global community

Provide additional opportunities for students to realize their professional goals and ambitions through a range of programs, including:

– Short term consulting projects – funded by scholarships/ stipends / etc.)

– Fellowships to contribute to building GVC community

– Create additional opportunities for companies to hire the very best students (both EQ/IQ) to support access to critical talent (including racially and ethnically diverse talent) and innovation activation goals through a range of programs

– Leverage hybrid faculty, students

– Launch more sprints, short-term consulting projects

– Provide developing countries and regions with opportunities to help advance their students educational STEM skills by transcending limited local resources and expertise and integrating these participants them into a larger global digital ecosystem

Relevant Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

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