D2P accepting applications for Innovation-To-Market program

Do you have an innovation or technology that may have a commercial application? Are you wondering who might buy it, what its value might be, or how big of an idea it could become?

UW-Madison is supporting the Wisconsin Idea when it broadens entrepreneurial opportunity — when students, faculty and staff can test their ideas for marketplace readiness, and when the best innovations can rise to the top and be successful.

Discovery to Product (D2P), located within the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, strives to catalyze more entrepreneurial activity on campus. One way of doing that is D2P’s new Innovation-To-Market (I2M) program.

D2P is offering a fall cohort of the I2M program, building on the past success of Igniter cohorts that helped start 19 companies over the past three years. Where Igniter covers the broad spectrum of Lean Startup and Business Model Canvas, I2M focuses on preparing teams to find Product-Market Fit, the fundamental building block of successful startups. Think of Product-Market Fit as the first step in the commercialization process: knowing who your customers are and what they want, whether your product fits their needs, and whether there is enough demand to generate sufficient profit.

The deadline for I2M program applications is Oct. 3 and the program begins on Oct. 16.

To apply to the I2M cohort:

The program begins with an overview of the Business Model Canvas as context for the hands-on customer discovery work that will be performed. The teaching team will provide training and materials to assist teams as they develop their understanding of potential customers. During the program, teams will interview customers and other influencers as they test the market need for their innovation. In a group setting, teams learn to incorporate startup tools and techniques such as the Business Model Canvas, customer discovery, desk research, in-depth customer interviews, and value proposition design.

The five-week series includes three classroom sessions, and two mandatory office hours meetings with the teaching team.

*Teams schedule 1-hour meeting with Teaching Team during office hours window.

Benefits of the I2M Program

  • Develop best practices for conducting customer discovery and identifying key stakeholders.
  • Learn, practice and hone your innovation skills.
  • Improve the odds for commercial success.
  • Understand market trends and needs in your technology area.
  • Expand your network.

Upon completion of the I2M program, teams will have the skills needed to continue exploring Product-Market Fit for their innovations. Each team will need to determine the most beneficial next-steps in their commercialization journey. For some, the D2P Igniter program could be an option to finalize customer discovery and develop their business model. For others, a more intensive NSF or NIH I-Corps customer discovery path could be pursued. The D2P team will assist you with planning your unique commercialization pathway, and connect you with resources to help move forward.

The goals of D2P and the Innovation-To-Market and Igniter programs are to mature projects on campus so that they become competitive for the funding needed to form a company, enhance their licensing potential, or fine tune their research objectives. D2P adds market readiness to your idea or invention.

If you have any questions regarding the program, please contact D2P at