CORE Discovery Stage Content Library

mHUB Core Curriculum: Discovery Stage

Di-sco-ver-y: The act or process of gaining knowledge for the first time.
Business Track
Technical Track
Mastering Your Market: Market Research and Customer Discovery

Understanding your market and your customer is vital to securing your company's competitive edge. This class will explain the importance of market research/industry analysis and how they can inform your product development and cover best practices for outsourced and DIY'd research. Then, the conversation will shift to customer discovery and how to find and secure customer validation.

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Product Development Roadmap

Learn the necessary steps to take your prototype to commercialized product. A product roadmap helps you forecast the specifics of when and how to build product features and increase customer satisfaction.

Resources: v2 presentation 

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Customer Journey Mapping

Customer Experience Mapping is a key practice for businesses to be able to truly understand what customers care about and how they make them feel. The insights gained from this activity are critical to enable your organization to deliver exceptional experiences and succeed in the age of the customer. This class will teach you how you can produce valuable Customer Experience Maps that will fuel your team's insight and innovation.



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Design for Manufacturing: CNC Machining

Join Jim Shaw for an introductory class on the processes and technologies needed to successfully launch a product into production. Important Mass Manufacturing and Production-related topics include: Developing an effective Supply Chain, Engineering Documentation, Cost-Based Decision Making, and Assembly. Additionally, this class will give you an introductory understanding of several popular manufacturing processes: CNC Machining, Casting, Forging, Sheet Metal Forming/Stamping, and more!

Resources: Sheet Metal Presentation 

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Value Proposition Canvas

In this workshop, you’ll use the Value Proposition Design (VPD) canvas to explore the customer perspective and gain insight into how companies address customer needs. This will allow you to craft your own value proposition and understand how to relieve customers' pains and create customer gains.



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Initial Concept Design

The first in the "mHUB Hardware Product Development Fundamentals" Curriculum, this class cover an overview of General Project Management by explaining two different frameworks that have been successfully deployed across many industries: Traditional "Phase-Gate" and the more versatile "Agile." Taught by Jim Shaw, you will walk away from this class with a much better understanding of how to manage your team and tasks, and a framework to launch your product to market on time and on budget.

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Business Plan Basics: Business Modeling for Entrepreneurs 

One of the strongest tools in the entrepreneur's repertoire: Business Model Canvas. When used to its full potential, the Business Model Canvas helps companies align on their current state, ideate new paths forward, and design an impactful future. This workshop taught by Jarrod Lowery of Do Tank will help you understand the difference between your user, buyer and financer and how to craft a compelling story about how your solution addresses each of their unique goals.

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Design for Manufacturing: Plastic Injection Molding

This class will address a variety of failure prevention test methods, processes, and technologies. Requirements can vary greatly depending on the industry and the complexity of the product, so this introductory class will provide an overview of design validations techniques for: Quality, Safety, Compliance, Usability, Durability and Performance. After attending this class, you will have a greater idea of a realistic scope (and potential cost) of your testing program.

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Tax and Legal Considerations for Your Bussiness

C-Corp, S-Corp, LLC, LP - do you know the right entity for your business? Choosing the right entity for your business is complex and hard to navigate. This class will offer information and advice on both and the legal and tax implications of the most common corporate entities. Led by Zachary Fietsch, CPA, and Bill Angelo, Partner at Denkewalter & Angelo, this class will prepare you to make better informed decisions about your incorporation and properly handle the new tax act.

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Manufacturing and Quality Control

The term “Quality” can be a vague topic in the world of Manufacturing. In this class, we will provide guidelines on how to quantify the quality of your products, as well as give an overview of a handful of effective strategies, such as 5S, Lean, and Six Sigma. Whether you are building your product in-house, or leveraging a Contract Manufacturer, this class will arm you with the knowledge to hold everybody on the team accountable for shipping products at the level of efficiency, and quality.

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IP: Trademarks and Patents/Copyrights

This class will address a variety of failure prevention test methods, processes, and technologies. Requirements can vary greatly depending on the industry and the complexity of the product, so this introductory class will provide an overview of design validations techniques for: Quality, Safety, Compliance, Usability, Durability and Performance. After attending this class, you will have a greater idea of a realistic scope (and potential cost) of your testing program.

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Test Plan for Product Development

Now that your design is ready to prototype, you’ll need to think about testing, which can be especially intimidating. Whether your testing is focused on usability, performance, reliability, certification, or all the above, being ill- prepared for this phase of the project can be expensive or even fatal. Taught by Deborah Brown from Bosch Innovation, this class will show you how to design and execute a comprehensive product test plan.

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Contractor Agreements for Hardtech Development

Led by Director of Hardtech Development, Bianca Thai, this discussion will cover the need-to-knows of entering into a contracting agreement from the perspective of a company looking for paid assistance and a contractor wanting to pick-up work. This class will cover the necessary paperwork and sample legal agreements, process to hire and creating a work plan/payment schedule, and best resources to find contractors/contract work.

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Preparing for Product Launch: First Run

Now that your design is ready to prototype, you’ll need to think about testing, which can be especially intimidating. Whether your testing is focused on usability, performance, reliability, certification, or all the above, being ill- prepared for this phase of the project can be expensive or even fatal. Taught by Deborah Brown from Bosch Innovation, this class will show you how to design and execute a comprehensive product test plan.

ACCESS THE CLASS RECORDING HERE
Contractor Agreements for Hardtech Development

Led by Director of Hardtech Development, Bianca Thai, this discussion will cover the need-to-knows of entering into a contracting agreement from the perspective of a company looking for paid assistance and a contractor wanting to pick-up work. This class will cover the necessary paperwork and sample legal agreements, process to hire and creating a work plan/payment schedule, and best resources to find contractors/contract work.

ACCESS THE CLASS RECORDING HERE
Design Validation and Testing

This class will address a variety of failure prevention test methods, processes, and technologies. Requirements can vary greatly depending on the industry and the complexity of the product, so this introductory class will provide an overview of design validations techniques for: Quality, Safety, Compliance, Usability, Durability and Performance. After attending this class, you will have a greater idea of a realistic scope (and potential cost) of your testing program.

ACCESS THE CLASS RECORDING HERE
Contractor Agreements for Hardtech Development

Led by Director of Hardtech Development, Bianca Thai, this discussion will cover the need-to-knows of entering into a contracting agreement from the perspective of a company looking for paid assistance and a contractor wanting to pick-up work. This class will cover the necessary paperwork and sample legal agreements, process to hire and creating a work plan/payment schedule, and best resources to find contractors/contract work.

ACCESS THE CLASS RECORDING HERE
Designing for Product Launch Success

Join Jim Shaw for an introductory class on the processes and technologies needed to successfully launch a product into production. Important Mass Manufacturing and Production-related topics include: Developing an effective Supply Chain, Engineering Documentation, Cost-Based Decision Making, and Assembly. Additionally, this class will give you an introductory understanding of several popular manufacturing processes: CNC Machining, Casting, Forging, Sheet Metal Forming/Stamping, and more!


ACCESS THE CLASS RECORDING HERE
Minimum Viable Marketing Plan 

Before you capture market share, you first must capture mindshare. This class will help you create your MVMP (Minimum Viable Marketing Plan) to reach your target customer and an implementation strategy that will make you not only more visible, but more profitable overall. When it comes to marketing, the company with the most momentum wins.




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Business Track Continued
Financial Modeling Basics

Looking to raise money while running your business more efficiently? Financial Modeling Basics will explore how to build, manage, and scale your business's financial model.

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Leading Through Change

As evident through current events, uncertain changes can be scary. What should the leader of a company or team DO? Consultant and specialist Kirsten Ramos leaders a webinar on the implications of change for your business and how to be an effective leader against the uncertainty. Learn about the choices you have and the tactics to manage that change.

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Corporate Finance Structure: SBIR Grants

Learn about the opportunity for innovators, researchers, and startups to use the Federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) fund to help further the research and development for commercialization. Join us to learn more about the Women Business Development Center InventIllinois program and get a chance to meet the founders that are applying for SBIR grants to move their innovations forward.

Resources:  InventIllinois Presentation

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Corporate Finance Structure: Venture Financing 

Venture investing can be a way to launch or grow your company, but is your business structured for this type of investment? Join Jason Franklin, CEO and MD of WV Ventures, to learn how and when this type of investment is helpful, but most importantly, if your company is venture-backable.

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Corporate Finance Structure: Debt Financing

Learn what it takes to prepare a loan package, how your request will be evaluated by a commercial lender, and what is expected from your business and you as an owner in terms of repayment. How will your credit history play into the equation? What about a personal guarantee? Learn also how COVID-19 impacts all of this.

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Founders Agreements 
In this class, you will learn about the importance of founder agreements, how to divide equity among co-founders, and key terms that founders should consider including in such agreements such as vesting, acceleration and IP ownership provisions.

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Protecting Your Business with NDAs 
Are you a founder or entrepreneur with legal considerations in mind? Heard about Confidential Disclosure Agreements but don't know what they are? Join us for a Lunch and Learn with Heather Harper, where we'll get into ways of legally protecting your business, and why it's important.

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Negotiation Basics for Entrepreneurs 

During this webinar, Assistant Clinical Professor Emily Underwood of The University of Chicago Law School will provide participants with an entry level primer on negotiation. We will talk about how to prepare for a negotiation, what to expect during the negotiation process, and some negotiation strategies.

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