Cognopsi – NSF iCorps Lessons

In the summer of 2015, I was selected as the Entrepreneurial Lead to represent the Design Intelligence Lab for an  NSF iCorps grant. Our team was shortlisted and attended the 6 week Arlington cohort starting July 2015. Using the iCorps program, the National Science Foundation encourages researchers and scientists to broaden their understanding of the impact of NSF funded research they are conducting. The program aims to translate research done in the Universities into entrepreneurial technologies that can be made available with near-term benefits for society.

In order to do this, the shortlisted teams are enlisted to conduct over 100 in-person interviews over a period of 6 weeks while delivering a weekly report of the findings to the NSF iCorps teaching team. Our team was immersed in the industry and conducted user research with over 104 professionals from the design, artificial intelligence, law and finance industry. Over the course of the 6 weeks, we pivoted from our initial hypothesized use case of our lab’s artificial intelligence technology in the design and architecture field to the finance industry. The concentrated timespan of the customer discovery interviews allowed us to focus on key pain points that the industry professionals at Big Banks we interviewed were facing and how our AI technology could solve this pain.

Technical Video

The team created a brief video summarizing our technical vision. The video has been linked in below.

Lessons Learned

As per the NSF iCorps curriculum, we were asked to create a fun video that summarized our journey through the iCorps process as well as explained the pain points we discovered to the other iCorps teams.