Chicago State University
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What Is An Innovation Lab 

The idea behind an Innovation Lab is fairly simple, it is “an enabling center” where an individual student, or a group of students, can feel at ease in sharing their ideas and seek support, guidance, and, above all, interact with fellow students, faculty, student entrepreneurs and industry leaders who can act as peers to them to bring their innovative idea into reality. Innovation Lab is different from a co-working space where ideas that are already developed are being worked out in parallel. It is also different from an incubator or an accelerator, where people with developed ideas are looking for business, financial, and legal support. An Innovation Lab is a platform for students by students that harnesses the power of the human interactions for giving budding student entrepreneurs a chance to build a support network around themselves in order to create new innovators. Thus an Innovation Lab is fully aligned with the purpose of the grant: it will orient CSU students and yet-to-be students on a path of application of their science and towards entrepreneurship, rather than enabling existing entrepreneurs to further their ideas in the manner of an incubator or a co-working space.

Steps of Entrepreneurship vs Innovation

Figure 2: Steps of Entrepreneurship vs Innovation, an all inclusion criterion

The proposed Innovation Lab will be a friendly inviting space where innovators and students, community college students, and high schoolers will have opportunities to connect and discuss at various levels thoughts and ideas about any given field. By being open and accepting, our Innovation Lab will create an atmosphere of inclusion and creativity which can result in transformations of student issues into student ideas, and these student ideas into real enterprises, products, and services. When flourished these student ideas will give back to the program in resources and motivations.

Having engaging mentors and a no bar to participate policy, the Innovation Lab will encourage students who have a burning issue that they are concerned about, to come up with solutions for that issue via the interactions in the Innovation Lab. This will enable them to be productive members of the Lab even though they by themselves may not have the business and technical experience to bring these ideas to fruition.

Sequence of steps for initiation of Innovation Lab.

Figure 2: Sequence of steps for initiation of Innovation Lab

With this we hope that the Innovation process will have a larger foot hold in India via including the vast population that is not in the entrepreneurial mode, and programs such as Atal Innovation Mission will be a greater success.