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UCL Remote Bootcamp – Remotely Generated 7 New Venture Propositions

We ran a 1-day virtual ideation bootcamp with 25 diverse students from University College London to generate new ideas and gain entrepreneurial skills entirely via Microsoft Teams.

Background

University College London (UCL) is consistently ranked among the top 20 “super-elite” universities in the world by the Times’ Higher Education University Guide, and aims to foster entrepreneurial capabilities among its students, staff, PhD, postdoctoral researchers and alumni.

Brief

UCL asked us to facilitate a 1-day virtual Bootcamp to help students, alumni and staff learn how to apply Lean Entrepreneurship principles to explore and launch their business ideas. At the end of the day, participants were expected to pitch their propositions to the rest of the cohort and make a plan for how they will validate their market need.

Approach

Studio Zao facilitated a virtual Bootcamp on the Microsoft Teams platform with 26 attendees distributed in 8 teams.

Bespoke Virtual Bootcamp Setup

The Bootcamp was open to students, alumni and staff with diverse skillsets, domains and experience — Neuroscience students, Biochemistry researchers, social policy lecturers, marketing specialists and computer science builders. As such, we sent attendees a pre-work survey in advance of the workshop asking about their background in order to help us effectively allocate them to teams with common themes.

We conducted a remote working design session with UCL Innovation & Enterprise to understand what digital tools have been adopted for remote working during the UK government-enforced COVID-19 lockdown. On the base of this, we set up a working space in the Microsoft Teams platform with private groups and an integrated series of online collaborative templates in Powerpoint (Office 365).

On the Day

At the start of the day, attendees were asked to self-register to ensure their remote commitment.

We kicked-off with a plenary webinar to educate the cohort on Studio Zao’s Lean Entrepreneurship principles, and explain the ideation sprint process.

Teams then went into breakout conference calls to introduce themselves, and work on their interactive templates. Throughout the day, attendees switched between teamwork and plenary webinar sessions to progress through their proposition development journey. Studio Zao’s expert venture builders went into each team to offer feedback and keep teams on the schedule. To ensure group cohesion, teams were given a chance to interact in their conference call breakout rooms during breaks.

At the end of the day, we hosted a virtual Demo Day-style showcase of propositions, where each team was given a chance to communicate the essential components of their proposition: Customer, Solution, Unfair Advantage and Validation Experiment Plan.

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Outcomes

By the end of the day, UCL students, alumni and staff learned the lean venture development journey, which can be applied systematically over and over again.


Teams also generated a baseline set of propositions which can be pursued further.

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What our clients say

“It was very well structured, with a high emphasis on putting theory into practice. I’m certainly more interested in entrepreneurship now than before!”

“Although online, I experienced a lot of interaction and the exercises that worked well.”

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