An improvscience view on creating a startup company

On May 17th, I have the opportunity to participate in the Ph.D. Career Conference in San Diego representing Ph.D.s that have  a start-up company. I am excited to share the process of creating improvscience and what I have learned from colleagues along the way.

One of the main things I've learned is that there is no one-size fits all solution and that scientific disciplines differ in their understandings of what it takes to begin a business. Thinking of a software or mobile application service is very different than supplying antibodies or identifying unique molecular targets for pharmaceutical companies. As well the kind of public discourse on startups within a discipline or institution varies from non-existent to constant anxious focus. 

One thing is certain, the idea that the journey of developing a company is a solo process is as much a myth as the myth of an isolated successful scientist. Whether conscious of it or not, everyone makes use of resources that are brought by others. In fact, a company is dependent on building a relationship to the needs and wants of others. If there's no need for it, why invest in it, use it or work with it? 

I'm very proud that improvscience was created in direct response to fellow scientists saying, "This is useful to us. We want more of this way of interacting with one another and developing our skills." In the absence of that, improvscience would not have been created. And it makes talking about the usefulness of improvisation in our scientific research environments that much easier. Because, you don't have to take my word for it. You can look at the words of others.

The same process that led to the creation of improvscience is the process taught by improvscience

  • Listen to the people around you.
  • Let the words and actions of others inform what you do.
  • Leading is as much about choosing a path as it is seeing what would make your partners look good.

Our partners in business are those we serve or those who buy our products. There's a creative relationship there that involves building with others. 

We have the ability to create new things.  I'm looking forward to meeting new colleagues in San Diego, learning what they want to create, and what is needed to create it. 

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