The NICR I-Corps workshop guides participants through the process of conducting unbiased interviews with real-world stakeholders. Stakeholders can be end users of planned research or potential customers of a tool or product that is being developed. These interviews allow researchers to test the hypothesis of their problem statement and usability of the product to ensure that the results of their research will be transferrable, providing researchers an opportunity to rapidly iterate on ideas and obtain valuable early feedback.
“By engaging stakeholders that will use the proposed research output early in the project, the I-Corps program helps avoid the ‘valley of death’ for research,” said Sean Barbeau, associate director of technology transfer for NICR. “We know that it’s not just theoretical work—stakeholders are actively involved in the research process and waiting to use the results. This ensures that the research translates into solutions for real-world problems.”
One participant wrote, “In the end, I found the act of interviewing over multiple weeks extremely valuable, both in gaining increased comfort with the method and using it as a tool for customer discovery. I now see how important it is and I think having the biweekly meetings to review the results was very constructive.”
NICR I-Corps is patterned after the successful National Science Foundation I-Corps program (https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/i-corps/).