Idea Accelerator Program Overview

Application Overview

Throughout the 10 weeks, you will be taught innovation techniques to create a new project based on a core problem identified by our corporate sponsors. You will start by obtaining a core task from your company. Then you will begin customer validation by interviewing potential customers who might have this problem. After your interviews are complete, you will consolidate your data to understand the root problem and customer pain points. From here, your team will develop a new innovation concept, product or service. You will then have the opportunity to pitch this idea back to the sponsors for further funding and potentially future opportunity.

The Fall 2020 Cohort will be hosted by Honda R&D and J.M. Smucker

OnRamp is a one-of-a-kind, low-risk opportunity to innovate and develop new business concepts. You are getting paid to learn how to create an innovation initiative or start-up for a corporate sponsor. You are working and building a relationship with employers for potential internships and full-time opportunities. You’ll gain great experience for your resume and develop valuable leadership skills and a growth mindset.

A lot of students feel as if they cannot come up with good ideas. OnRamp will teach you the innovative process of product development and creating concepts. You will learn the steps it takes to create your own million dollar ideas.

The OnRamp program focuses on creating viable ideas based on customer insights from the data you collect. You will not be expected to create fully functioning prototypes or products.

All majors are encouraged to sign up! The most innovative creations come from a diverse background of students.

Responsibilities & Desired Skills

  • Mandatory Cohort meetings on Monday
    • The entire cohort will have a 2 hour meeting time every Monday
  • Mandatory Individual meetings on Wed / Thurs. depending on your availability
    • You will indicate your available times on Wed (1 hour sessions between 4:30pm - 6:30pm) in your application
    • If accepted, you will be notified of your scheduled 1 hour time slot
  • Commitment to working 10 hr./wk. on your project with your team members
  • If you miss more than 3 meetings you will be subject to termination
  • Data collection in the field by obtaining customer validation through interviews
  • Learning innovation skills to transform your given problem into an MVP (Minimal Value Proposition)
  • Lead within your team and foster an innovation environment for futuristic concept
  • OnRamp is a competitive environment. The expectation of your acceptance into this program is that you will go above and beyond what is asked of you.
  • Ability and desire to work in a fast paced start-up environment
  • High communication skills with peers and future customers
  • Comfortability with approaching and talking to strangers
  • Amazing work ethic, interpersonal, and leadership skills
  • Able to operate with minimal direction and supervision
  • Self-driven motivator that goes above and beyond what is asked of them

In your team of 4 students:

  • 50+ Customer Interviews
  • Organized Validation Data + Data Insights
  • 1-Page Project Abstract
  • Final Presentation Deck

Job Logistics

Yes! Students accepted into the program will be hired as an Innovation Analyst for the Center for Innovation Strategies and be paid an hourly rate of $9.55 during the 10 weeks of operation (with a weekly cap of 10 hrs/wk).

If you are already employed by the university, the 10 hrs/wk for the OnRamp will count towards your maximum number of hours per week. Please check with your supervisor if applying for the OnRamp would be acceptable.

You will be working in a team of 4 students that will be selected from your scheduled 1-hour meeting times on Wednesday.

The OnRamp program will be delivered 100% virtually.

Unfortunately you will be unable to participate in the program for this semester. Luckily, the Center for Innovation Strategies has many more opportunities for you to get involved. Please sign up for our Mailing List if you wish to obtain more details on future innovation sprints (We promise we only send 4 - 5 emails per semester).

OnRamp Schedule

Mandatory Monday Cohort Meetings.

Individual Team Meetings will be on Wed/Thurs depending on your availability

MonSept. 21stGoals & Ideas
Indiv.23rd / 24thBrain Dump
MonSept. 28thInterview Prep
Indiv.30th / 1stValidation Plan
MonOct. 5thPersona + Journey Maps
Indiv.7th / 8thOOO Validation
MonOct. 12thLearning Development
Indiv.14th / 15th OOO Validation
MonOct. 19thResource Day
Indiv.21st / 22ndTeam Check-In
MonOct. 26thData Assumptions
 Indiv.28th / 29th (DA) Customer + Journey
MonNov. 2ndMVP Creation
Indiv.4th / 5th Insights Review
MonNov. 9thConcept Mapping
Indiv.11th / 12th Veteran’s Day
MonNov. 16thDeliverable Creation
Indiv.18th / 19thMock Presentation
MonNov. 23rd Presentation Week


If you're ready to start innovating

If you are unable to participate in this OnRamp or have any questions

Contact Us Page

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