Turning Dreams into Realities: The Creative Destruction Lab
Flashback to just a few months ago when Hanna Janossy was racing into U of T’s Rotman School of Management building to prepare for her presentation in a second-floor conference room. Janossy, the 23-year-old engineering graduate had just arrived from Rome, where she had been attending a medical conference.

Janossy was headed for an intense series of back-to-back interviews with Rotman MBA students to prepare for a session that would take place two weeks later with a panel of successful entrepreneurs from the Creative Destruction Lab. These members of the lab’s “G7” are responsible for selecting a handful of teams to enter Rotman’s three-year-old business accelerator.

In spite of her long flight and hectic schedule, Janossy didn’t suffer any of the traditional side effects of jet lag. That’s because she’s been immersed in developing a research-based technique for avoiding traveler’s fatigue for the past year. By studying the science of circadian rhythms, Janossy and her colleague, Ryan Love, hope to find solutions to help frequent business travelers and shift workers manage their fatigue.

Janossy and Love’s small company, Syncadian, was one of more than 130 applicants taking a shot at one of the 18 slots available in the Creative Destruction Lab’s annual incubator program. While some entrepreneurs simply get lucky enough to find themselves in the right place at the right time, those who have endeavored to reverse-engineer entrepreneurship have found that the innovation process isn’t as random as many believe.

Most successful entrepreneurs begin with a significant discovery, but they must then figure out how to refine a product or service that actually solves a real world problem, makes life easier, more efficient, or less expensive for their specific target audience. The search for unidentified problems and listening to potential customers are integral to the entrepreneur’s ability to reorient the use of their discoveries to reflect their growing knowledge of the market.

Facilitating Entrepreneurial Thought and Growth

While many startups still take hold outside of traditional university settings, U of T’s accelerator aims to create the perfect conditions for students to exercise their entrepreneurial creativity, become familiar with the “ideation” process, expand their network of potential customers, colleagues, and investors, and work with experienced entrepreneurs to gain useful insights into the nature of entrepreneurship.

Over the course of the last decade, U of T has invested in the development of facilities and resources that aid students in their pursuit of the identification and refinement of creative ideas, the creation of business plans, the establishment of new companies, and the launch of products and services. In October, the university received a grant from the Ontario government’s campus commercialization program. The grant, in the amount of $3.1 million, will help to further bolster the university’s burgeoning entrepreneurship ecosystem.

This is a great sign for aspiring entrepreneurs like Janossy, whose firm was indeed accepted into the Creative Destruction Lab’s program. The mentorship available from the Creative Destruction Lab will hopefully help Syncadian address their desire to solve the fatigue dilemma that afflicts so many. “Fatigue is a huge, growing, and solvable problem,” says Janossy, “We’re very excited to put in our two cents.”

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Posted by: DSR
Monday, March 2, 2015
Tag: Healthcare
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