The experience of having accompanied some groups during the development of NOBI 2018 made it possible to detect a window of opportunity to create bridges between the so-called hard and/or technological sciences and the social sciences. In particular, because we can influence at different levels and degrees. One of them is in the formation of human resources, since, from our field of knowledge, we can create some modules in the courses that we impart, in which besides the teaching of methodologies and tools of qualitative research (such as those used in social anthropology), we can guide how to combine them with the methodology I-Corps, used in the NOBI.

Thus, from our own field of scientific training we could enrich the teaching by transmitting to our students a different way of
to approach reality – in a more structured and committed way, by making them see the benefit of carrying out applied research in which social problems are detected and at the same time feasible solutions are generated, always from the perspective of the social groups we work with. This would result in contributions and a greater commitment not only in a specific field of knowledge but also in society.

Dr. Elizabeth Juarez Cerdi –
Research Professor at El Colegio de Michoacán, A.C.

How can we trust what works today will work tomorrow, if we don’t leave the building? That was the first question I faced when I began my participation in the NoBI Bajío program. Experience as a leader
entrepreneur and leaving the lab, testing the concept idea of the proposal with different users of the value chain, learning to really listen, was a big challenge for each team member. Above all, accepting criticism of the idea in an objective way.

Personally, it was to learn to work under a lot of pressure and in reduced times, to network with other institutions, to take the best of each observation by mentors and instructors. Above all it was
understand that change is not loss, on the contrary it is a new opportunity for the development of new ideas.

Although in the end our decision was a no Go. The I-Corps methodology today has provided me with tools for professional life that change the way I do things, now from a focused and deeper creativity, with an innovative and really functional purpose. It is to leave the known and learn to generate interdisciplinary collaborative networks, to strengthen the projects to develop, and permeate an innovative culture in the development of science and technology of the country, and thus achieve a true economy of knowledge.

It is not only a change of vision in the professional, it is also in the personal. Strengthening resilience means recognizing and embracing fears in order to be able to see life with other eyes. But above all, the greatest learning is the fact that making mistakes is not the dangerous thing, the really dangerous thing is to miss the lesson and marry the limiting ideas.

To leave the building is to take action through empathy, it is to do
that things happen and don’t stay on paper.

María Olimpia Alonso Pérez –
Research Assistant at El Colegio de Michoacán, A.C.
Entrepreneur Leader

Personally, the I-Cops methodology has allowed me to take into consideration during the planning stage of my research projects if there can be a segment of clients in the industry or in society that can acquire the products derived from it, with the objective of taking the results of the research to a business model that allows to validate the commercial potential of the technological developments, extending my focus beyond the work inside the laboratory.

In the particular, because I find myself teaching subjects at the highest level.
engineering, where the main focus is to support students to identify the problems or needs of the market, which allows them to
to offer technological solutions based on the requirements of this one, the
methodology the meeting applying as a cross-cutting theme in most of the courses I teach with the aim of encouraging students the scheme of technological commercialization or generation of companies around the projects they undertake with the aim of working on solutions that generate solid business models with greater likelihood of success and identify the critical route that allows them to decide the next steps in the development, maturation or commercialization of their technologies from the level of technological maturity based on the TRL in which is the development of their project.

Dr. Gerardo Loreto
Professor at the Technological Institute of Uruapan
Principal Investigator

When I look at the programme in retrospect, they highlight some aspects that I do not appreciate during the process because of the programme’s own burden and individual responsibilities. I begin by commenting that there were several aspects that I am going to list without this representing any preferential order:

  1. The formulation of the client sector proposal. Of which I emphasize that I personally knew very little about the most “conscious” definition of the implications that this aspect represents for the other sections of the canvas, starting with the value proposition.
  2. The definition of the value proposition for each market segment. The novelty in this aspect for me is that it was considered as a hypothesis that had to be validated through interviews. In this aspect what is somewhat subjective (especially when one has in mind that we were working according to a methodology) is that pivots can occur at any time after “a certain number” of interviews.
  3. Channels of communication. They changed because we initially considered digital means to reach the potential market, however, through the interviews we realized that the farmer, even the second or third generation, or producers with an academic degree related to agriculture, do not make decisions based on digital information.

The program gave me some clarity on how to begin structuring the canvas. I am now aware that for each customer segment there must be a canvas, therefore a value proposition. Just as I now have more tools for obtaining information through interviews in order to validate and invalidate hypotheses, I nevertheless consider that for certain aspects of the canvas I would still have difficulty in elaborating hypotheses, perhaps because I need to dedicate more time for analysis and reflection (or to train myself in these subjects) especially in aspects that at some point will form part of a business model for a technology-based company, for example: income model (is it proposed and validated until it is implemented?).), key partners (how do I validate them without talking about technology), to name a few.
With regard to undertaking a new project, I have tools that, although their use must be perfected, I could consider that the beginning will be with a different perspective: need/problem – insight – idea. One of the tools that I need to improve is ethnography, to conduct better interviews. The same thing that I must pay more attention to the writing and testing of business hypotheses.

Personally, I didn’t have any conflict to give control of the activities to the entrepreneurial leader. I must admit that if I had known better the characteristics of the program and what it implied in terms of time, displacements, activities, I would have tried to form a team with more favorable personal conditions of LE and EA (place of residence, extracurricular activities, perhaps some skills). This is because the LE belongs to a very small community with difficulties of access to information, need to work in the evenings and weekends to sustain their studies. The case of AD is that it also has to generate its own income to pay for its studies. This is no justification, in the end both students appropriated the methodology and experience to the extent of their effort. In the end this situation was much more demanding for me, but to the same enriching extent, I only regret a little that I did not have more time for analysis and reflection during the process.
Finally, and this is not the most important thing, it does not cloud either the learning or the acquired experience but I want to share it, perhaps as an area of opportunity:

  1. Online sessions do not favour interaction especially in the part of presentation and feedback. If the interviews are to be face-to-face because they favour different aspects during the interaction, I consider that the presentations should also be face-to-face.
  2. During office hours, sometimes the start and end times were very strict, but towards the teams, this demand was not always adopted by the advisors.

All that remains for me is to thank the enormous effort made by the organizing committee, the education leaders, institutional leaders and all the support staff… my sincere gratitude to all of you.

Omar Jehovani López Orozco
Professor of the Institute of Apatzingán
Principal Investigator.