Charles Cooney - Skolkovo Tech's Innovation Workshop underway at MIT
August 23, 2012
On Aug. 6, the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skolkovo Tech), and MIT kicked off a four-week intensive workshop called the SkTech/MIT
Innovation Workshop 2012. The workshop is teaching participants how to bridge the gap between scientific and technological prowess and creating
innovative solutions with broad impact.
During the first week, participants plunged into Information and Energy Technologies, the workshop’s primary areas of focus, with a series of hands-on
projects. Already the cohort, which include 20 participants from Skolkovo Tech, eight from other Russian universities and six from Asian and European
universities, have formed the teams they will work with to solve problems in the fields of energy and/or information over the coming weeks.
The four-week intensive workshop provides a model for future courses that embrace science, technology and innovation. Skolkovo Tech views
innovation as the distinguishing feature of a new kind of university.
“Technology is the most fun when we get to play with it,” says Dr. Luis Perez-Breva, MIT lecturer and research scientist who led the team organizing the
Innovation Workshop. Perez-Breva worked closely with Skolkovo Tech’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and with Charles Cooney, the
Robert T. Haslam Professor of Chemical Engineering, faculty director of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation and SkTech/MIT faculty lead
of entrepreneurship and innovation, to create a workshop that would provide students with a chance to prototype innovations and explore the ways they
might influence Information and Energy Technology.
“The workshop is intense, but the lectures and labs have inspired me to have a can-do attitude, even if at times being an entrepreneur is daunting,” says
Marina Morozova, a participant from Skolkovo Tech.
Participants will learn how to take a concept and transfer it to the market through startups and listen to guest lectures in leadership and ethics so they
understand the tradeoffs of the technology they develop.
“The mentoring, coaching and networking has already helped me see that, no matter how good my idea is, I’ll probably have to go back to the drawing
board a few times. That’s just the nature of innovation,” says participant Peter Fankhauser from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
The curriculum is structured around four types of activities that fuse innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership, including lectures that reconcile
technology with systems and impact, hands-on projects that demonstrate prototyping, teamwork and team building, and networking to enhance
communication skills. Each team will present their final innovation project to an audience from MIT’s innovation ecosystem.