Complications of Biobusiness Education

Like all entrepreneurship, biomedical entrepreneurial education is an experiment. The business model canvas includes critical underlying business assumptions that need to be validated for programs to be successful.

Like all entrepreneurship, biomedical entrepreneurial education is an experiment. The business model canvas includes critical underlying business assumptions that need to be validated for programs to be successful, scale, and be sustainable.

Here are 10 complications I've encountered and things I've learned doing experiments “from the classroom:”

1. You must understand your target audience, be they faculty, grad students, post-docs, or health professionals, and their unique needs and pain points.

2. When and how you offer information is many times more important than what you teach. Focus on the distribution channel, convenient locations and times that fit their adult working schedules.

3. At my place, face-to-face courses seem to work better than online or hybrid courses. I have observed that I can only accomplish so much with project teams virtually.

4. Students like to interact and spend face time with faculty who have a track record of success as biomedical entrepreneurs

5. There has to be the right balance or emphasis presenting material that is “too business-y or too scientifically technical.”

6. Scientists, engineers, health professionals, and business students live in different worlds, speak very different lingos, and have a hard time understanding each other. Spend some time early on teaching them "tourist biobusiness" so at least they can ask each other for directions to the bathrooms in words they can understand.

7. Don't expect successful bioentrepreneurs and service providers to necessarily be good teachers or adept at using teaching technologies and learning management systems.

8. Give very specific instructions and directions about learning objectives, course assignments, expectations, and formative assessments during the semester

9. Tell a story as the course progresses that mimics the Life Science Innovation Roadmap. It goes from research to development (IP, regulatory, reimbursement, bioentrepreneurial finance) to commercialization (legal, sales, and marketing) to adoption, dissemination and penetration, to exit. Require that they apply the information to a project team assignment and monitor progress.

10. Do continuous quality improvement making sure that you are integrated into other complementary or competitive offerings in your academic or regional ecosystem.

Every good experiment results in more questions than answers. The same holds true for educators.