News at Ocean School of Innovation

New start for Ocean School of Innovation

On February 26th,  Ocean School of Innovation hosted a meetup for young researchers on the topic “Essential Innovation”. This is the first meetup arranged by OSI for some time, and we were very happy to see so many promising new researchers turn up.

New start for Ocean School of Innovation

On February 26th,  Ocean School of Innovation hosted a meetup for young researchers on the topic “Essential Innovation”. This is the first meetup arranged by OSI for some time, and we were very happy to see so many promising new researchers turn up.

The meetup focused on challenges and rarely discussed topics that are very relevant for innovative researchers:

  • How does innovation relate to alternative carrier options after PhD defence? What does different “innovation” pathways look like? What does it actually mean? And why is it worth efforts?
  • How can we identify innovation opportunities in our research?
  • How to refine our fuzzy ideas to something that is interesting in the market?

The participants got an introduction to research driven innovation by Oceans Innovation Leader, Kjell Olav Skjølsvik, a long time veteran of innovation in Ocean-based industry, who clarified the term innovation, and explained that there are many different ways for researchers to innovate.

The participants also got excellent advice from Kim Lynge Sørensen, Kasper Trolle Borup, and Stian Skjong who talked about their experience with innovation.

Skjong works for SINTEF and has implemented his research in ongoing innovation projects with established industry, while Sørensen and Borup have established their own start-up company.

For Sørensen and Borup, one of the most important thing to remember when starting a new company is that it needs to add value. They think that many scientists are so focused on their research that they forget that the product needs to sell.

– Your success depends on the value your tech adds to someone, not the level of ingenuity involved in the creating the tech. You may have the most neat and clever mathematical proof for why it should work, but the truth is that nobody outside your field is going to care. This also goes the other way around, you can create tech that is not based on mind-boggling research that can result in a very successful company. If you take a step back and try to understand what value it will bring, then maybe shifting your focus by a few degrees is enough to have a large impact, says the two entrepreneurs.  

They also told the participants that they should be prepared for failure, and that investors will reject you, often again and again.

– If someone rejects you or turns you down it has probably has nothing to do with you personally. It simply means that either your pitch wasn’t good enough, that your tech isn’t where it needs to be, or external factors that you have no control over got in the way. Get back up, evaluate, refine, and go at it again. It’s an iterative process, where a rejection is good, because you get the chance to incrementally learn something new and do something better, says Sørensen and Borup.

They also advised budding entrepreneurs to team up, as it is impossible to be good at everything, and you need great staff and partners to succeed. Despite all of these challenges to new start-ups, their final message for the audience was to go for it.

With respect to the questions raised prior to the workshop Sørensen, Borup and Skjong definitely provided new insight for our young researchers. Although innovation comes in many shapes and forms, finding the benefit for someone of your research is a key to establishing the first interest from industry or investors.

Translating your research to an innovation will introduce new challenges and others will have a different view than you. Test your thoughts and ideas about the usefulness of your research on your closest resources and network to refine and improve your idea. The fun part of innovation is the creative process, and this could be an exciting starting point for the next step in your career.

In the end, the speakers all emphasised one important point, if you have a chance to push forward your research after PhD, then you should do it!

– It will be the most excruciating, frustrating, rewarding, fulfilling, hopeless, euphoric experience of your life. Take the chance, as it is definitely worth it, says Sørensen and Borup.

INNOVATION AT NTNU OCEANS

From research to impact:

Innovation in the ocean space

Research outcome from NTNU Oceans will support innovations for a sustainable oceans development.

The objectives for innovation activities in NTNU Oceans are:

  • Development of competence and culture for innovation
  • Identify business opportunities for new and existing industry based on results from our research
  • Share our contribution to the development of the ocean industries

Sustainable Oceans need creative ideas, new research,
innovations and people that see possibilities.

  • Is your research related to the oceans?
  • Can your research help you do something noone has done before?
  • Will you like to see your ideas develop into a future innovation?

 

Take a chance!
Be part of Ocean School of Innovation that supports your innovative thinking, personal and research-idea development. Contact us: krzysztof.j.zieba@ntnu.no