Getting Lean in Education – By Getting Out of the Classroom

Steve Blank has an interesting article on how methods from the Lean Startups mode can be used in Education

The I-Corps program started when the U.S. National Science Foundation adopted my Lean LaunchPad class. Their goal was to train University scientists and researchers to use Lean Startup methods (business model design, customer development and agile engineering) to commercialize their science. Earlier this month the National Institutes of Health announced I-Corps @ NIH, to help scientists doing medical research take their innovations from the lab-bench to the bedside and accelerate translational medicine.

This week, the NSF is announcing the next step in the I-Corps program– I-Corps for Learning  (I-Corps L).  This version of I-Corps is for STEM educators – anyone  who teaches Science, Technology, Engineering and Math from kindergarten to graduate school, and wants to learn how to bring an innovative teaching strategy, technology, or set of curriculum materials to a wider audience. Following a successful pilot program, the NSF is backing the class with $1.2 million to fund the next 24 teams.

The main problem, according to the article, is that although there is a lot of innovation in education in the US, it is happening in localized pockets, and that innovation does not spread and catch on as it should. The program described above is specifically designed to help with this problem:

A year ago Don Millard of the National Science Foundation (who in a previous life had been a STEM Educator) approached me with a hypothesis that possibly could solve this problem. Don observed that educators with innovative ideas who actively got out of their classrooms and tested their innovations with other educators/institutions/students had a much better adoption rate.

Up until now there was no formal way to replicate the skills of the educators who successfully evangelized their new concepts. Don’s insight was that the I-Corps model being rolled out for scientists might work equally well for educators/teachers. He pointed out that there was a close analogy between scientists trying to bring product discoveries to market and educators getting learning innovations into broad practice. Don thought that a formal Lean LaunchPad/I-Corps methodology might be exactly what educators needed to understand how their classroom innovations could be used, how to get other educators and institutions to adopt them, and how to articulate their value to potential investors .

The rest of the article goes on to describe details of the program and is worth checking out.

Pune’s CSIR-URDIP Starts India’s first ever course on PatInformatics (Patent Informatics)

It has been argued that India’s education system creates clerks, not innovators, and as a result, our biggest export is software engineers and software services companies which do what innovators in the US and elsewhere tell them to do. Given that context, a focus on innovation, intellectual property creation, and patents is something that various educators and policy makers in India keep talking about.

Now comes the interesting (can we go so far as to call it heartening?) news that CSIR-URDIP, which is CSIR‘s Pune based Unit for Research and Development of Information Products, has launched India’s first ever Post Graduate Diploma Course on PatInformatics (i.e. Patent Informatics).

What is PatInformatics?

The participants will be introduced to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and the importance of patent information in research and business. The course will basically focus on Patinformatics and its applications which will enable the participants undertake  technology scenario analysis, white space mapping, competitive intelligence study, new product development, patentability, infringement analysis, freedom to operate study, citation analysis, patent valuation etc. This course will thus help participants develop their skills in patent searching and analysis and use this information for research and business planning. Thus the participants, after successful completion of the course will be capable of handling all the IPR related issues independently.


Details about the course:

The course will begin from August 4, 2014. The course will be of one year duration and will be full time. The lectures will be delivered by Scientists at CSIR-URDIP having minimum ten years of experience in the area for Patinformatics. It will consist of four quarters with 12 modules of theory classes and hands-on practical sessions working on databases and analytical tools including daily assignments and projects.

See full course details

Who can apply?

Basically, it is open for Engineering, Science, or Law graduates. The precise requirements are:

Minimum qualification required is a Post Graduate Degree from recognized universities. The candidate should have any one of the following:

  • Masters degree with minimum of 60% marks in any of the life sciences, chemical sciences and physical sciences..
  • M. Pharm. with minimum of 60% marks and GATE qualified
  • B.E ( Min. 60% marks) and GATE qualified
  • L.L.B with Science background ( Min. 60% marks at B.Sc. and L.L.B )
  • M.Lib Sci. with graduation in science ( Min.60% at each degree)


  • Application Fees: Rs 1000/ – to be paid in the SBI Power Jyoti account. 50% concession will be provided for SC/ST candidates.
  • Course Fees: Rs. 50,000/- to be paid at the beginning of the course.
  • Number of Seats: 30

For more details, see the PatInformatics Website