“You are all here because you are the best in your respective disciplines.” With these words the Deputy Director of Mobile World Capital, Mónica Fernández, welcomed participants to the Collision Weekend of The Collider, the new venture builder launched by MWCB Foundation that addresses the challenge of transforming scientific knowledge into technological solutions.
Over the course of 48 hours, Silicon Valley’s most cutting-edge work dynamics were put into practice in order to stimulate creativity and foster unity among participants. ”Be open to new contributions” was the first piece of advice the organisers gave on Saturday morning— a piece of advice that participants accepted and implemented with great success.
Divided into teams of three (two entrepreneurs and one scientist per group), the participants carried out a simulation exercise for the creation of a technology startup. Challenges, ideas, observations, definition, correction, data, information, analysis… Trial and error. Correction, testing, acceptance and repositioning. This is how the two days were spent.
It’s not just innovation—it’s disruptive innovation
The challenge that these teams face will be more than creating an innovative company. Their real challenge is to create disruptively innovative startups. “A disruptive innovation is one that uses technology to serve the sectors that the largest corporations have cast aside”, she explained to the participants.
This is exactly the objective of the Collider: to improve people’s lives by taking sustainability and proper use of resources into account; make use of technology to create a housing system that’s accessible to all; respond to social justice issues creatively; resolve weaknesses in transport and mobility and contribute to building a healthcare system that is increasingly smart and prevention-oriented.
Know the customer you’ll be working for
To focus on the idea of a future startup, entrepreneurs must detect a need. And so work dynamics led the attendees to put themselves in the customers’ shoes, getting to know the audience and understanding customers’ likes and hopes, and imitating their behaviour and routines over a trial period.
That’s why the Collider teams have been on the ground, getting to know their potential customers, asking questions and assessing their needs. Then, they draw conclusions and compare that information with the environment. Because, as noted: “It is necessary to understand how your customers act, but keep in mind that what they tell you and what they do may be very different.”
Listen to those who came before you
An smart way to start a project is to gather information about those who have already succeeded in fulfilling objectives similar to your own. That’s why Jaume Rey, CEO of Nexiona, attended Collision Weekend to share his experience as an entrepreneur.
“We have a great fear that if we share ideas someone will steal them. Share them. It is better to have 33% of a company than 100% of a PowerPoint”, was his first great piece of advice.
Rey also spoke about the most common difficulties for startups when it comes to getting customers, formulas to focus your business and how spending more time on gaining investors than clients can cause you to lose your business perspective. “You can spend your whole life searching for investors, but there is no better way to finance your business than with customers.” Rey explained that bringing together expert profiles who execute ideas with business profiles who sell those ideas is a great way to begin a startup.
Collaboration is necessary, but so is execution
And that’s what the the participants have done. They not only worked to develop ideas; they also put the ideas into motion, carried them out and retested them on the ground and with an MVP already in place.
Using this model, they were able to extract a number of conclusions from these exercises. They made an initial assessment of their idea (does it fulfill a need?); they determined whether the product has value for the customer (that is to say, would they pay for it?); and they redirected their idea (if they determined that the idea is good, but not quite the direction in which it was initially focused).
They spent 48 hours simulating the steps they’ll need to take in the next few months to create their business. These were two days of divergence and approach, a weekend spent combining two fundamental profiles in order to confront the most important industrial revolution to date. As Mónica Fernández said: “It has been difficult to find you all, so thanks for being here.”