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SEI Inventor Digital 2020: training for young entrepreneurs goes digital for the first time

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The first workshops, talk, and training course dedicated to tomorrow’s Digital Inventors has been successfully completed. Despite COVID, 42 students generated a business project and a working prototype in 10 days. All this, for the first time, online.

SEI Inventor Digital is a ten-day prototyping bootcamp where students and enthusiasts have the chance to transform their business ideas into working prototypes supported by mentors and experts. After the success of the previous editions, which saw the participation of dozens of university students passionate about technology and innovation, this year’s edition ran from May 22 to June 1 but it was no longer in a makerspace. Rather, for the first time due to safety requirements related to COVID19, 90% was carried out digitally. An event for all those who want to experiment with the conception, prototyping, and presentation of a business idea. Throughout the course of the initiative, participants have experienced ideation processes, worked in groups, interviewed experts, all online.

“We won’t deny it: so far 2020 has been a challenge for SEI. Due to the crisis caused by COVID19, our action-learning programs have suffered severe limitations. When we realized that this period would last much longer, we had to reinvent ourselves quickly and for this reason, we proudly launched the first digital edition of Inventor, our 10-day prototyping Bootcamp.”

Diyala, SEI Program Manager

From SEI Inventor to SEI Inventor Digital: a Roadmap

  • For the 42 students divided into 8 teams, connected from all over Italy and Europe, SEI has provided a virtual space in which general classroom interactions can take place for frontal input and open discussions as well as classrooms dedicated to group work. 
  • SEI worked to readjust its framework/process to the new needs and, as always, started with the problem, organizing interviews with industry experts and asking students to become experts themselves. 
  • Then, they moved on to the conceptualization phase: during brainstorming, the students wallpapered their virtual children with hundreds of post-its.
  • After a week of virtual meetings, we safely met some of the teams for the prototyping phase. Between masks and social distancing, the students were able to program and print the prototypes in 3D.
  • Finally, the last two days were dedicated to the Business Model Canvas and pitching.

Outcome

Among the ideas developed by the Digital Inventors, an app dedicated to making shared urban mobility smarter, a platform for research and quick distribution (thanks to AI) of certified scientific documents, an alternative energy collection system for agritech uses, an app to make money transfers independent from the user’s virtual account, a service to identify and correct the security vulnerabilities of SME sites, an app that focuses on improving management skills, a sustainable development project that through the use of a biodigester aims to reduce the global energy shortage, a self-test app for sexually transmitted diseases that allows users an anonymous diagnosis. 

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