i6 Agile Innovation System

In 2010, Innovation Works (IW) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) won the i6 Challenge, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration aimed at identifying and supporting the nation's best ideas for technology commercialization and entrepreneurship.

During the two year award, IW and CMU are working together to develop an “Agile Innovation System” that will accelerate the commercialization of technologies being developed within the region's universities and small businesses, and can be duplicated throughout the nation.

The i6 Agile Innovation System is leveraging existing programs at IW, such as AlphaLab and the Executive in Residence program, and the innovation eco-system at CMU, which includes the Don Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, Project Olympus, CTTEC, the Open Fields Entrepreneurs Fund, and the Quality of Life Foundry.

The i6 Agile Innovation System is built upon these four pillars:

Each i6 workshop is designed to teach participants the tools of early customer interaction and validation and the methodologies for prioritizing that feedback into short cycle product development that leads to rapid-prototypes and Minimum Viable Products.

Teams accepted into this program receive three mentors with domain and functional expertise that can advise them in the development of their product, business model, customer acquisition and overall vision.

Meet the i6 Mentors

Through Translational Research Grants, i6 participants will receive “Funding to Meet with Customers” that will help build the long-term habit of engaging potential customers early and often—a habit that leads to more successful products and companies.

i6 teams are given access to accelerator space at one of CMU’s accelerators or through AlphaLab.



Press Release: U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Announces Winners of i6 Challenge

EDA’s i6 Challenge

Innovation Works values diversity in its programs and encourages women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans to submit applications or business plans for consideration.

Innovation Works is the Ben Franklin Technology Partner of Southwestern PA and is supported by the Department of Community and Economic Development.

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