Harvard Launches Innovation Laboratory (wsj, 2011)
A new laboratory for startups has started up.
Harvard University, in November, formally launched the Harvard Innovation Lab, known as the i-lab, intended to foster collaborative entrepreneurial endeavors within the Harvard and greater Boston communities
The $20 million lab, housed in a former public-broadcast building in the Allston neighborhood of Boston, is a 30,000 square-foot facility including 24 conference rooms, a workshop with a 3-D printer and power tools to create product prototypes, a 150-person classroom and more than 250 seats in a group work space. It also has a café and basketball court.
In the spring, the lab will pilot a student mentoring program to connect budding business leaders with experts in areas such as fundraising and market analysis. The lab also is also open to local entrepreneurs, allowing community members to attend school-sponsored workshops and speaker series, and boot camps run by business groups.
The laboratory is somewhat unique among Harvard programs because it is overseen by eight different schools. The coordinated effort allows members of all the schools – engineering and applied sciences, business, law, public policy, medical, dental and undergraduate – to participate and to get exposure to more experts and resources than any single school could offer, says Gordon Jones, director of the lab.
The hope, Mr. Jones says, is to expose more students to entrepreneurship and “germinate” their creative seeds earlier in their academic careers. That will allow business-minded participants more opportunities to collaborate with students who have technical skills or legal know-how, ultimately creating new products or companies and even adding jobs to the local market.