Innovation Workshop 2018

Innovation Workshop is a unique month-long “boothcamp”-style course that unites the entire Skoltech incoming class with faculty and esteemed invited mentors to create a foundational experience in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (E&I) for all, as well as to instill a positive “can-do” teamwork attitude in the culture of the student cohort. Students engage in experiential project-based and inquiry-based learning to live through the entire technology innovation “cycle”, progressing from idea to product/prototype. This work is performed in cross-disciplinary teams that create real life experience of complex innovation project. In 2018, 24 esteemed businesspeople from Europe, Israel, USA, Australia, and Asia joined forces with dozens of Skoltech faculty to mentor student projects during the entire three weeks of project work.


The course is less about knowledge and more about developing skills and attitudes necessary to lead successful life in innovation.

Innovation Workshop puts together scientific, technological, social, and economical aspects of innovation in an intense hands-on setting. The course is less about knowledge and more about developing skills and attitudes necessary to lead successful life in innovation. Innovation Workshop opens with intensive practical work during uniquely designed “Quick Success” lab works proving that technology innovation can be done in five hours of diligent focused effort. In 2018, the most popular Quick Success classes put students into Arduino programming of the self-launched rockets, PCR study of paternity of anonymous donors, creating Stirling engine powered by the cup of hot coffee, and, of course, diverse applications of 3D printing.

Students projects

Importantly, IW is not a business accelerator or a business plan competition. Some student projects may remain very early-stage and even immature. The other student projects may become developed enough to be continued beyond IW into the student Skoltech tenure. The success of the IW project is measured in academic terms of diligently developing the projects along the three pillars of innovation that are taught at IW: (i) Impact (a.k.a. End User Need), (ii) Solution Prototype (provided and validated by good science), and (iii) End User Delivery (a.k.a. Business Model). In 2018, 360 (three hundred sixty) students developed 62 projects. Jury of mentors and professors awarded autographed books of keynote speaker Mr. Pekka A. Viljakainen. The best projects programmed robot for treating autistic children, developed sound detection system for unmanned aerial rescue vehicles, assembled electronic nose for industrial safety use, synthesized durable novel materials for industrial engines, programmed neural networks for e-commerce, and employed laser detector to enhance road surface maintenance. The superb group of mentors from Universität Innsbruck awarded the latter team with the free tour to Skinnovation Conference in Austria in February 2019.
The only way to fail in the Innovation Workshop, as well as in life in general, is to give up or to free ride. Any other route along the three pillars is success in the area chosen by the student. Students are free to choose any project and encouraged to reshape and even restart their projects as they find appropriate. There are no project failures in IW, only character and experience failures. Skoltech teaches to be productively wrong and strickingly right.