The Collider by Mobile World Capital Barcelona was pleased to announce this week a collaboration with Generalitat de Catalunya (Ministry of Business and Knowledge), to train the game-changers of tomorrow.

Flying from Silicon Valley, we were thrilled to welcome UC Berkeley’s Emeritus professor Jerome Engel to boost the scientific entrepreneurship in our territory. Over 60 representatives from Tech Transfer Offices and Research Centers have attended an exclusive seminar to foster the commercialization of our most-valued technological assets and knowledge. By training the trainers, this initiative aims to spread and prompt an entrepreneurial mindset among the whole scientific community.

The Lean Launchpad methodology is an evidence-driven entrepreneurship guide, crafted by Steve Blank and Jerry Engel at Berkeley’s Business School, which combines three key elements: the flipped classroom, the experiential learning and teamwork. This method is particularly effective in the tech transfer process, to validate the opportunity and the product market fit of a certain technology.

How did Engel end up directing the Haas School of Business at Berkeley? How did he associate with Blank and pulled together the Lean Launchpad? And why does tech transfer matter so much to him? We took the chance during Engel’s stay in Barcelona to sit down and hear his story from his own voice:

Tell us about yourself, your methodology…

For 20 years I worked at an important global consultancy called EY. As a young consultant I had the opportunity to help the youngest, smallest and for many, uninteresting companies to start and fundraise. We developed a specialty with increasing potential and the company made me responsible. By the end, I created an area that was as big or bigger than the large company’s service.

I gained a reputation in the business community and so they invited me to join the University of California at Berkeley. While there, I recruited Steve Blank to come and teach with me when he did not have teaching experience. He was simply a bright, friendly and successful businessman, and he transmitted to students what he really knew, which was in essence business development and product market fit.

Through time he refined his thinking and developed an experiential course for students that evolved to become the Lean LaunchPad Method which we taught together. Later on, the government asked us to deploy it nationally and I became trainer of trainers.


Which is the state of the art of tech transfer and were is it heading?

We are really at the beginning of seeing the benefits that will come from tech transfer. Tech transfer happens constantly; we see it every time there is a new discovery based on scientific research. But now we are going a step further, it is an institutional resource, the acceleration and training of this process.

We have been forcing it for the decades, while learning best practices to implement it. There are centers of excellence distributed around the world and we aim to learn from them. That’s where we find The Collider. The Collider is the next step in tech transfer, it rewards successful technologies by marrying them with great entrepreneurs and building big businesses.


What makes a city innovative?

There are many factors that contribute to creating an innovative ecosystem in cities. These components have a lot to do with the creativity and with the freedom of thought, design … and that’s what makes Barcelona a home to innovation. Gaudí, all the design history becomes a natural talent that citizens breathe.

But we must highlight that the city also has an importance in technology transfer, since the major components of an innovative society are its renowned universities with important research centers, entrepreneurs who think creatively, investors and large corporations willing to participate.

And that’s what The Collider is doing, putting all the components together: researchers, scientists, entrepreneurs, capital and large corporations. And that’s where the secret lies, in involving the big corporations. Why are large corporations the magic component? Because they have access to the market.


Recommended Literature by Jerome Engel:

Core texts include:

  • Business Model Generation by Osterwalder and Pigneur
  • The Startup Owner’s Manual by Blank and Dorf


Additional published resources include:

  • Lean LaunchPad Educators Guide by Blank, Engel and Hornthal
  • Value Proposition Design by Osterwalder, Pigneur, Bernarda and Smith
  • Talking to Humans by Constable and Rimalovski
  • Lean LaunchPad Educators Handbook by Blank, Engel and Hornthal