June 2012

I-Corps course information and materials


I-Corps is a National Science Foundation initiative to assess the readiness of emerging technology concepts for transitioning into valuable new products through a public-private partnership. 

In collaboration with the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), NSF offers select participants from US academic laboratories the opportunity to participate in a special, accelerated version of Stanford University's Lean LaunchPad course. 

The course engages participants in moving products out of the lab and into the market, through talking to customers, partners and competitors and encountering the chaos and uncertainty of creating successful innovations.

Questions? Email icorps@nciia.org.


What is I-Corps? 


Ann Arbor, Michigan

Kick-off workshop:
July 13-16

Online Classes:
Tuesdays, 1-4 EST July 22, 29 Aug 5, 12, 19

Closing Workshop:

August 25-26

Schedule at a glance


Course Syllabus


Arlington, Virginia

Kick-Off workshop:
July 22-25

Online Classes:
Wednesdays, 1-4 EST July 30, Aug 6, 13, 20, 27

Closing Workshop:
September 4-5

Schedule at a glance


Course Syllabus



(textbooks are included in your registration fee and mailed to the PI for distribution to the team)

The Startup Owners Manual

Business Model Generation

Business Model Canvas

Giff Constable, "12 Tips for Early Customer Development Interviews"

Steve Blank, "What’s a Startup? First Principles"

Steve Blank, "Make No Little Plans – Defining the Scalable Startup"

Steve Blank, "A Startup is Not a Smaller Version of a Large Company"

Conducting Customer Discovery Interviews

LaunchPad Central





Business canvas
I-Corps teams are asked to come to the I-Corps course having already completed a business canvas. This video was created by Alexander Osterwalder, co-author of Business Model Generation.


Sample Presentations and Videos

I-Corps Teams will conclude the course by preparing a final Lessons Learned Presentation (10 minutes), a 2-minute Lessons Learned Video and a 1-minute Technical Video.  Below are samples from a few 2013 I-Corps teams.  

Team 260: MobiPos
Final Lessons Learned Presentation
Two-minute Lessons Learned Video
One-minute Technical Video

Team 236: Ultrafast All-optical Shutter Technology
Final Lessons Learned Presentation
Two-minute Lessons Learned Video
One-minute Technical Video
Team 171: Blood MicroDevices

Final Lessons Learned Presentation
Two-minute Lessons Learned Video

Team 162:  Rapisense
Final Lessons Learned Presentation
Two-minute Lessons Learned Video
One-minute Technical Video

Team 152:  BioGel
Final Lessons Learned Presentation
Two-minute Lessons Learned Video
One-minute Technical Video


Customer Discovery Videos

To guide I-Corps Teams on the Customer Discovery Process, these instructional videos should cover the required planning, skills and tips for productive customer interviews.

Pre-Planning Customer Discovery
Pre-Planning Pt. 1 (4:55)
Pre-Planning Pt. 2 (3:25)
Pre-Planning Pt. 3

Customer Discovery Interviews
Interviews Pt. 1 (5:40)
Interviews Pt. 2
Asking the Right Question (2:37) 

Outside the Building 
Death by Demo 1 (2:18)
Death by Demo 2 (1:45)
Assuming You Know what the customer wants (1:56)
Understanding the Customer Problem (the wrong way) or Death by PowerPoint (1:42) 
Understanding the Problem (the right way) (3:22)
Customers Lie (2:37) 
The Distracted Customer (3:12)
Engaging the Customer (3:37)
Customer Empathy (2:25)
The User, the Buyer & the Saboteur
Multi-Person Interview (2:03) 
B-to-B to C (2:15) 
Existing vs. New Markets
Public Interviews

Back in the Building
Extracting Insight from Data (2:59)
Getting the MVP Right (3:34)
Pay Attention to Outliers (2:16)
The “Other 85%” (2:32)




This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 1220692, 1227296, 1239638, 1261806

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