It’s not all fun and games here at the Harvard Innovation Labs.
But some days, it can be quite exciting.
To wit, we recently undertook a guerrilla marketing campaign to get Harvard students excited about the sixth annual Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge, a startup competition that will award $300,000 in grant money to student-founded early-stage ventures.
Innovation is often deeply personal.
Because of that, it shouldn’t be surprising that passion has been the prominent quality and driving force behind most of the successful ventures, teams, and founders that have been — and are continuing to be — built at the Harvard i-lab and Launch Lab.
Ventures founded on personal passion are most often formed by a compulsion to solve a personal pain point; this is especially true in cases where the founder feels that he or she is uniquely qualified to solve the particular problem. …
Too often, individuals who start ventures aimed at solving social problems make the false assumption they can build a great business anchored mostly on the inherent “goodness” of their idea. They — incorrectly — believe that being values and mission-driven is sufficient to produce widespread interest in their product or service and attract attention — and money.
Regardless of whether you’re a for-profit or non-profit, unless you are creating a product of comparable or superior value to what currently exists, no one is going to be invested in your offering outside of your friends and family. …