Catalyzing the local innovation ecosystems 1st Cycle – September & October 2019, 2nd Cycle – February & March 2020
(Targeting Pitch Tuesday innovators and other interested entrepreneurs)
We will mitigate the connectivity gap by taking the accelerator cohort model to a new level. In the i-Fellowship class, we will recruit students, entrepreneurs, and graduates innovators with interventions at different stages of growth and equip them with innovation and business skills to steer their enterprises.
Throughout the program, fellows tackle challenges in peer groups, fostering strong community and collaborative action. We believe that dynamic learning and accountability for progress happens in peer pairs; we also invite experienced mentors and practitioners to draw field insights and best practices. We also mobilize complementary partners around them and build out ecosystem relationships. We will rotate our region of recruitment annually, building global networks around our Fellows. 2 cycles shall run every year as described.
Module 1: Problem/challenge identification and framing
At the start of each fellowship, we work with incoming cohorts, to diagnose and identify 2-3 common areas that require urgent interventions as a group. We tailor the 2-month fellowship experience around these challenges, energetically seeking the best solutions customized for the local ecosystem. Digging deep into the identified problems exposes the underlying phenomenon and helps to yield well targeting solutions to these challenges. Fellows with innovations at whatever stage get to re-think their interventions and incorporate key aspects that address the real challenge at hand.
Module 2: Solution generation and experimentation
Fellows engage in Intense brainstorming sessions on possible solutions to specific challenges identified. The rule of “quantity is preferred to quality” applies at this stage. Wild and weird ideas are appreciated at this level and judgment is deferred. Converging towards the most applicable solutions basing on the technological feasibility, the contextual need satisfaction and replicability for wider adoption and diffusion then helps in selecting out solutions with the most probable impact potential. These ideas are “brought to life” through rapidly crafting their components using the most available materials with an aim of envisaging how they would suit the need in the real problem domain.
Module 3: Telling it out there: Partners and customers
Solutions as raw as they may appear need to be built and refined on foundations of scalability and acceptability. For scale the fellows are taken through the core of stakeholder engagement focusing on potential scaling partners like CBOs, Investors and competitors. The acceptability component is biased more to the customers or beneficiaries of the products or services that these solutions offer.
This focuses on university students and graduate innovators with an aim of gaining attitudes, skills and knowledge required to tackle the challenges in the local spaces. We believe students and fresh graduates can be leaders of change by leveraging the principles of design thinking in day-to-day undertakings and their longer-term career prospects. The fellowship runs for 2 months annually following the following core steps