Empowered genomics scientists to translate research into tangible innovations

We enabled Wellcome Genome Campus scientists to develop entrepreneurial skills to translate research into tangible innovations to solve humanity’s greatest challenges.


The Wellcome Genome Campus is home of the world’s foremost institute in genomics and computational biology. They are committed to delivering life-changing science with the reach, scale, and imagination to solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges.

The Genome Campus is part of Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation that exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. The aim of the Trust is to “achieve extraordinary improvements in health by supporting the brightest minds”, and in addition to funding biomedical research, it supports the public understanding of science.
It had a financial endowment of £25.9 billion in 2018, making it the fourth wealthiest charitable foundation in the world.


Wellcome Genome Campus wanted to explore how to deliver impact from research by fostering an entrepreneurial approach for their 2,000 top-class researchers resident at their Cambridge Campus.

We have been asked to support the first edition of the Wellcome Genome Campus Startup School, an upskilling programme aimed at embedding entrepreneurial capabilities within scientists to unlock the potential of research to be translated into tangible social benefits.
The Startup School programme was a ten sessions online curriculum. Each of the modules needed to be designed to help researchers step out of their comfort zone so that they could begin to validate and test their ideas.
The ultimate objective was to inspire through peer to peer interaction as well as provide them with an opportunity to put their thoughts into practice.


We designed and delivered a practical training session for Wellcome Genome Campus’ Startup School to develop genomics and biodata innovations.

Curated Design Process

We designed the content considering the maturity of the team’s business ideas and the peculiarities of the healthcare industry to ensure we addressed the most pressing challenges entrepreneurs would face in that precise stage.

The workshop provided scientists with a solid foundation to:

  • Apply a scientific approach to entrepreneurship
  • Structuring a new business idea using the Lean Canvas
  • Plan the next steps to validate assumptions through Lean Experimentation and Customer Discovery.

Immersive and hands-on workshop

We have delivered a two hours remote session which combined theoretical concepts with engaging case studies and practical hands-on activities.
Each team has been actively supported by our facilitators while working on their projects in their team’s breakout rooms in Zoom.

Participants had the chance to put in practise these new concepts and apply them to their business idea during the workshop. A group of mentors and expert innovation strategists were present throughout the practical session to guide teams through the process. 

Their intrapreneurial journey will continue being supported by field experts thanks to a collaborative Slack community created for mentoring and thanks to the entrepreneurial resource pack that contains resources and templates to help teams prepare to take the big leap.


Using our bespoke journey, teams learned the fundamentals of Lean Entrepreneurship and practically applied them to their business ideas. 

Out of 12 teams, the following 5 ideas are developing further into internal innovation projects: Lineage, PGE and CRISPR SANTA, Onco Target Discovery, PhenomeX, Biosythesize.

What our clients say

“Studio Zao helped us to deliver a great Lean Canvas session for the participants of our Startup School- it was stimulating, instructional, fast-paced and interactive. We will definitely look to work with Studio Zao again to help inspire and develop tomorrow’s genomics and biodata founders.”

How to launch an intrapreneurial initiative?

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We’ve gathered our learnings from upskilling 2000+ Intrapreneurs and compressed them into 6 lessons valuable to both; senior leaders and innovators.

Internal Innovation & Intrapreneurship Guide

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