When we think about our FLL Trash Trek Research Project we should think in terms of creating a technical product and/or service that can serve as the foundation of an economically viable start-up company.
In fact each year one FLL team is awarded the Global Innovation Award (this year’s contenders announced here) of $20,000 first place (+ two $5,000 runner up teams) for the best Research Project. Any FLL team can apply for this award independent of the Robot Competition and FLL Tournament System results.
These 3 prizes are awarded at the FLL Globals Tournament in St. Louis this year and there is an award ceremony in Washington, DC at the US Patent and Trademark Office afterward. The prize money is intended to help teams commercialize their FLL Research Project in the real world. Elon Musk’s X-Prize organization helps support this FLL entrepreneurial contest and lists previous year winners on their website.
To help us visualize and align our FLL Research Project with the FLL Global Innovation Award we’ll be learning a number of business methods to identify, describe and quantify entrepreneurial opportunities that our Research Project opens up for us.
One of these organization techniques is the Business Model Canvas which I’ll discuss early on in our Spring Meetings. It visually enumerates the major factors our team needs to consider as we weight our various options for our Trash Trek Research Project and evaluate each alternative’s entrepreneurial potential.
Using yellow Post-It Notes…
Finally, the Business Plan Canvas has been adapted specifically to Gamification (pdf template available here).