Innovation & Entrepreneurship 2019 IAP Offerings

A listing of courses and activities during the January Independent Activities Period


6.906 StartMIT: Workshop for Entrepreneurs and Innovators

(Subject meets with 6.936)
Prereq: None
Units: 4-0-2 [P/D/F]
Final presentation TBA. Meets Jan.7–23. Lecture: MTWRF 9–11 am, 1–3 pm (26-100). Recitation: TBA

Designed for students who are interested in entrepreneurship and want to explore the potential commercialization of their research project. Introduces practices for building a successful company, such as idea creation and validation, defining a value proposition, building a team, marketing, customer traction, and possible funding models. Students taking graduate version complete different assignments.

For the most up-to-date information, see the official subject listing



Sponsored by: Student Activities Office

LeaderShape has been a program provided to MIT students for almost 30 years. This four-day premier leadership program occurs during IAP from January 13–16, 2019 and is open to current undergrads and grad students.

This FREE program helps students develop their personal leadership identity via discussions, simulations, and activities facilitated by high-profile MIT faculty and staff. Each participant is grouped with peers across the Institute to learn and enhance their leadership skill set during the four-day experience. During the program, students will create a vision and develop skills to bring that vision to fruition. Have you ever heard of Kahn Academy? That vision started at LeaderShape!


  • Application deadline: January 2, 2019
  • Enrollment: Registration required. Limited to 60 participants.
  • Attendance: Participants must attend all sessions

If you have any questions, please contact Joseph Granado, Associate Director of Student Activities and Leadership at

For more information, and to apply, visit the application page

The Right Legal Steps When Starting Your Company

Sponsored by: Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation

What legal steps do you need to take as you spin your technology out of MIT? How do you divide the equity between founders? When should you incorporate and in what form? What contracts do you need to have in place? How do you ensure the right legal protection as you proceed? What minefields should you avoid?

Come and discuss these topics with a panel of legal experts and MIT entrepreneurs who have spun out their Deshpande Center projects into companies.


Wednesday, January 9, 2019
12:00–1:00 pm

Lunch will be served

Advance sign-up required. Space is limited to the first 100 registrants.

Contact: Amy Davis, 617 253-8987,

To sign up, please register here

Developing Leadership in Yourself and Others

Sponsored by: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science & Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program

A workshop series designed for MIT graduate students interested in “making a positive difference” in their chosen fields. Grounded in research but experiential and engaging in delivery, these workshops will build practical skills for future engineers and technology professionals.

This series is offered through the Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program in collaboration with a group of leading graduate engineering students. Graduate MIT students are encouraged to attend the entire series and those doing so will receive a special recognition.


January 14–28, 2019

Workshop schedule:

Leading New Teams

Monday, January 14
12:30–4:30 pm

How do you turn a smart group of people into a committed and effective team? This is not easy to achieve and our workshop will help you learn to build real teams, right from the start.

Leadership Development

Tuesday, January 15
12:30–3:30 pm

Grad engineers are expected to have technical mastery of their chosen fields, but are they prepared with the professional and leadership skills to put the expertise to work? Attend this town hall session alongside alumni and MIT representatives to critically examine MIT’s leadership development for grad engineers. Attendees have a chance to provide feedback on upcoming leadership programming in the School of Engineering.

Motivating and Developing Others

Tuesday, January 22
12:30–4:30 pm

At the heart of leadership lies the ability to inspire people without relying on authority. The goal of this workshop is to build practical skills for motivating and developing others.

Mastering Constructive Conflict

Thursday, January 24
12:30–4:30 pm

In a safe and open environment, conflict can serve an essential role in building collective capacity for creativity, innovation, and group learning. Learn how conflict can achieve these constructive outcomes.

Discovering & Developing Your Strengths

Monday, January 28
12:30–4:30 pm

In this final session, you’ll learn how to discover your leadership strengths and invent career pathways for putting them to work. We’ll be joined by John Strackhouse, who advises some of todays top leaders in technology.

Limited to 35; participants are encouraged to attend the entire series. To enroll, email Lisa Stagnone at

Contact: David Nino,

For more information, visit the IAP website

Swarm Leadership, Deep Learning, and Social Quantum Physics

Sponsored by: MIT Sloan School of Management

Do you want to change the world and create your own social movement? This course empowers you to build your own swarm interacting on social media and face-to-face by analyzing email, social media, and by tracking emotions with smartwatches using machine learning and AI.

In this course you will learn:

  • How to create Collaborative Innovation Networks (COINs), intrinsically motivated groups of people working towards a shared vision by collaborating over the Web
  • How to identify virtual tribes, groups of people sharing similar profiles and preferences on online social media such as Twitter through deep learning
  • How to measure emotions such as happiness, stress, or anger through a smartwatch-based body sensing system, the happimeter
  • How to forecast and predict trends by finding the trendsetters in online social media, in corporate e-mail archives, and personal sensor networks.
  • How social quantum physics triggers change through two feedback looks: “empathy-entanglement”, and “reflect-reboot”.
  • How to use our tools Condor and Galaxyscope for dynamic semantic social network analysis and machine learning
  • How to measure collective consciousness and induce group flow (positive stress)

This course is organized in two parts: The first session gives an overview of the basic principles. At the end of day one, you can apply for the second part, where we will work with up to five individuals or small groups to develop their project or initiative.


January 17 & 18, 2019

Course schedule:

Introduction to Swarm Creativity

Thursday, January 17
3:00–5:00 pm

Introduces Collaborative Innovation Networks (COINs), coolhunting with Condor and Galaxyscope (finding trends/virtual tribes by finding influencers), and coolfarming (supporting these trendsetters) by measuring email and Twitter networks by social network analysis, and the Happimeter, a smartwatch based system to measure emotions to track collective consciousness and group flow.

Creating Your Own Swarm

Friday, January 18
3:00–5:00 pm

If you have your own cause or scientific project where would you like to create your own swarm or virtual tribe, apply before the course for a slot on the second day (limited to five projects). The instructors will work with you to leverage the tools from the first day (coolhunting, coolfarming, Happimeter, dynamic semantic social network analysis, deep learning, Condor, GalaxyScope) for your own cause or project.

Advance sign-up required by Jan. 16. Limited to 30 participants. Apply at first session for the second session.

Requirements: Bring your laptop

Contact: Peter Gloor, 617 253-7018,

For more information, visit the IAP website

Systems Thinking With TI Robotics Systems Learning Kit

Sponsored by: TI Robotics Systems Learning Kit

The TI Robotics Systems Learning Kit (TI-RSLK) is a low-cost robotics kit and classroom curriculum, which provide students with a deeper understanding of how electronic system designs work.


January 15 & 17, 2019
3:00–6:00 pm

No advance sign-up required. Participants welcome at any session.

Contact: Kurt Keville, 617 324-6424,

For more information, visit the IAP website

Intellectual Property at MIT. What Does it Mean for Undergraduates?

Sponsored by: Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) & Technology Licensing Office

Having a clear understanding on rights to intellectual property (IP) is paramount for MIT researchers, including undergraduates. In what instances might the Institute own an undergraduate’s IP? When must undergraduates sign MIT’s Inventions and Proprietary Information Agreement (IPIA)? What are the implications of signing MIT’s IPIA?

This workshop offers an overview of IP policy and processes at MIT, and its implications for undergraduates contributing to discovery through UROP and other MIT-sponsored intellectual endeavors. Geared to principal investigators, administrators and students; open to members of the MIT community.


  • Siri Nilsson, Compliance Officer, Technology Licensing Office
  • Michael Bergren, Director, UROP


Tuesday, January 22, 2019
2:00–3:00 pm

Limited to 50 participants. Advance sign-up required by Jan. 18.

For more information, contact Alex Hoyt at (617) 324-6700 or

Nuts and Bolts of New Ventures

Sponsored by: MIT Sloan School & MIT Media Arts and Sciences

This is the 30th annual offering of the Nuts and Bolts IAP course. Ranked by INC Magazine as one of the “10 Best Entrepreneurship Courses in America.” Nuts and Bolts is the largest entrepreneurship class taught at MIT and the oldest ongoing IAP offering on new ventures.

The course is open to members of the MIT community and to others interested in entrepreneurship. It is particularly recommended for persons who are interested in starting or are involved in a new business or venture. Because some of the speakers will be judges of the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition, persons who are planning to enter the competition should find the course particularly useful.

In the past, approximately 50% of the class has been from MIT Engineering, Science and Architecture Schools and 50% from the Sloan School of Management. Topics covered are applicable to for-profit as well as social and development ventures. The course is open on a space available basis to persons outside the MIT community. Typically around 150 students register for the course with another 100 to 150 additional participants from other colleges, businesses, nonprofit and government organizations.


January 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31, 2019
6:00–9:00 pm

Pre-registration is required for credit or to listen

For more information and to join the course email list, visit the Nuts and Bolts website

Make it Playful

Sponsored by: Art & Architecture

Play has been studied as a very powerful and engaging activity with a lot of benefits. In this class, explore the idea of playful design and try to come up with prototypes demonstrating new forms of play.

During this class, you will learn more about play. What is it? What makes that activity so engaging? Is play a dedicated activity for childhood?

Together, we will explore the idea of playful objects. What makes a design playful? How can you do it? You will experiment and discover guidelines to design with the idea of play.

We will explore playful design through two thematics :

  • Playful Office Supplies: Office supplies can be very boring, mostly functional and not necessarily very user friendly. However, there are quite common materials that we use regularly. How might we design office supplies that create playful experiences?
  • Creativity Room Objects: A creativity room is a space to get inspiration, start using your imagination and design something creative. Creativity rooms are usually very nice spaces, but they have a lack of identity and of tools to guide people. How might we design playful objects that enhance an experience in a creativity room?


January 25–27, 2019

Advance sign-up required before Dec. 15. Participants must attend all sessions.

To sign up for the workshop, complete the registration form

Patent Law Fundamentals

Sponsored by: MIT Sloan School of Management

An intensive introduction to the basic provisions of U.S. patent law, emphasizing the requirements for patentability and the process of applying for a patent. Designed for students in all MIT departments.

Topics include:

  • Requirements for a patentable invention (novelty, non-obviousness, utility)
  • Eligible classes of patentable invention (software? business methods? human genes?)
  • Applying for a patent (including patent searches and the language of patent claims)
  • New U.S. law of inventor priority (first to invent? first to file? first to disclose, or what?)
  • Infringement, defenses, and remedies
  • Patents compared with copyrights, trade secrets, and trademarks


January 14–28, 2019

Course schedule:

Patents and Intellectual Property

Monday, January 14
2:00–4:00 pm

Overview of U.S. patent law and intellectual property. Critical differences among patents, copyrights, trade secrets, and trademarks.


Wednesday, January 16
2:00–4:00 pm

Requirements for a patentable invention: novelty, non-obviousness, and utility. New U.S. law of inventor priority (first to invent? first to file? first to disclose? or what?)

Eligible Classes of Patentable Invention

Friday, January 18
2:00–4:00 pm

Eligible subject matter. Can software be patented? Business methods? Human genes? Rights of patent ownership, especially with regard to improvement patents.

Obtaining a Patent

Wednesday, January 23
2:00–4:00 pm

The process of applying for a patent. Contents of the patent application, especially the specification. The role of the patent search. Demonstration of on-line search tools available to MIT students.

Patent Claims and Patent Licenses

Friday, January 25
2:00–4:00 pm

Patent claims as property boundaries. The scope, language, and structure of patent claims. Patent licenses and the MIT Technology Licensing Office.

Infringement, Defenses, and Remedies

Monday, January 28
2:00–4:00 pm

Literal infringement and the doctrine of equivalents. Patent invalidity and other defenses. Legal and equitable remedies. Anatomy of a recent patent infringement case.

This course meets with 15.620, which offers 3 units of G credit (graded P/D/F). Students who wish to receive credit should register for 15.620 and plan to take a comprehensive quiz in the final class meeting on Jan. 30.

Reading materials include key sections of the U.S. patent statute (Title 35, U.S. Code) and related judicial decisions. All readings and lecture slides will be posted on the 15.620 Stellar/Canvas websites. No textbooks or course packs to purchase. For the benefit of non-credit participants, the MIT community will have access to the 15.620 websites throughout IAP.

Contact: Jeffrey Meldman, 617 253-4932,

For more information, visit the IAP website

Global Game Jam

Sponsored by: Comparative Media Studies/Writing & Game Lab

The Global Game Jam (GGJ) is the world’s largest game jam event taking place around the world at physical locations. Think of it as a hackathon focused on game development. It is the growth of an idea that in today’s heavily connected world, we could come together, be creative, share experiences and express ourselves in a multitude of ways using video games — it is very universal.

The weekend stirs a global creative buzz in games, while at the same time exploring the process of development, be it programming, iterative design, narrative exploration or artistic expression. It is all condensed into a 48-hour development cycle. The GGJ encourages people with all kinds of backgrounds to participate and contribute to this global spread of game development and creativity.


January 25–27, 2019

Keynote & Kickoff Presentations

Friday, January 25
5:00–6:00 pm

The jam begins with a keynote, presentations about the Jam, and reveal of the Jam topic. 

Game Jam

Friday, January 25
6:00–11:30 pm
32-144, 32-141

Teams will be formed by 8:00pm.

Saturday, January 26
9:00 am–11:30 pm
32-144, 32-141

Sunday, January 27
9:00 am–3:00 pm
32-144, 32-141

Work days for the Jam. Participants will be working in teams to create their games.

Presentations & Postmortem

Sunday, January 27
3:30–6:00 pm

Game Jam participants will present the work they created over the weekend and postmortem their process. This is open to the general public. No registration is required for this session.

Participants are welcome from MIT, local universities, colleges, and the general public (including local professional game developers). All participants must register to attend.

30 free slots are open for the MIT community (must have an email address to register). Registration for non-MIT community members costs $22 + fees.

Contact: Richard Eberhardt, 617 324-2173,

To register, visit the event site

3D Printing Design for Entrepreneurship

Sponsored by: Sloan School of Management

This class provides an overview of 3D printing technology then does a deep dive into Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. Participants will learn about the full process of solving a problem in their lives then taking that idea into CAD software, then 3D printed part.

Each student will design over three parts, in increasing complexity, using CAD software and 3D print at least one of them. Students will be encouraged to take their 3D printed part to potential customers, getting design feedback and hopefully, customers.

Additionally, Stratasys is sponsoring materials for the course. Students will be able to print their parts at no cost.


January 25–30, 2019

Workshop schedule:

Session 1: 3D Printing Your First Part

Friday, January 25
2:00–5:00 pm

Students of all computer aided design levels will be introduced to OnShape, a computer aided design software, to design their first part to be 3D printed that evening. The 3D printer used will be the Fortus 380mc. 

Session 2: Practicing CAD Skills

Monday, January 28
2:00–5:00 pm

Students will be led through a number of CAD design activities and be introduced to their next 3D printing project based on a real world problem. Students’ second 3D print will be started and completed by Wednesday, Jan. 30. 

Session 3: Entrepreneurial Opportunities

Wednesday, January 30
2:00–5:00 pm

In the final class, students will be working through more CAD design activities, improving their designs, and exploring avenues to bring their parts to market.

Requirements: Bring your laptop to all sessions; external mouse recommended.

Contact: Erin Martin, 617 253-8653,

For more information, visit the IAP website

Hardware Hacking and Rapid Prototyping

Sponsored by: Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies

Compete in this year’s Soldier Design Contest. Attend sessions for a foundation in the fundamental processes of rapid prototyping and build a winning design for prizes. Prototype development will be funded through lab resources and teams will compete to win a portion of $15K.


January 15–30, 2019

Course schedule:

  • Tuesday, January 15: Soldier Design Contest (SDC) overview, project descriptions, interest statements and scheduling
  • Thursday, January 17: Caffeinated crash course in PCB design (and finish up SDC project description / signups)
  • Tuesday, January 22: Lab equipment introduction. Partial equipment list; Various Microscopy (AFM, SEM, TEM), assorted chromatography, basic metal and wood shop, 3-D printing, etc.
  • Thursday, January 24: MIT Beaverworks Tour
  • Tuesday, January 29: NVidia Hackathon
  • Thursday, January 31: Final project presentations

No advance sign-up required. Participants welcome at any session.

Contact: Kurt Keville, 4-6424,

For more information, visit the IAP website

MIT VMS Boot Camp

Sponsored by: MIT Venture Mentoring Service

In its 8th year, this popular IAP workshop on B2B sales is consistently received by attendees with enthusiasm. Highlighting practical knowledge of “how to sell,” the session provides entrepreneurs starting a new venture and business school graduates entering a new profession with basic tools for sales success: how to target enterprise sales opportunities, manage a sales process, acquire customers and generate revenue. Attendees gain basic knowledge and confidence to support better sales decisions.

The workshop includes two three-hour sessions, combining lecture, interactive exercises, and anecdotal evidence from real sales situations. The morning focuses on basic concepts, tools and mechanics for sales focus and efficiency. The afternoon covers more “qualitative” aspects of selling, with emphasis on how to navigate an organization, overcome bias, build buyer team consensus, and negotiate to close deals. Attendees will troubleshoot “failed sales” and recommend corrective action or behavior.

Kent Summers has been offering the Sales Boot Camp in collaboration with VMS since 2008. He regularly presents sales workshops at the MIT Sloan School, the Harvard MBA program and the Wharton School of Business. Summers founded and sold three software companies in the Boston area, and since 2002, has helped many new MIT companies navigate critical sales challenges. His success with early-stage ventures and enterprise sales is uniquely suited to the needs of start-ups and scale-up ventures.


Friday, February 1, 2019
8:45 am–4:00 pm

Limited to 110 participants. Advance sign-up required by Jan. 31.

For more information, contact Haley Tidd at 617 258-0720 or

This list is updated as we find out about new IAP offerings. If you know of a class that we should add, please email us at

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