The MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node convenes MIT students, faculty, and researchers to work on various entrepreneurial and research projects alongside Hong Kong-based students and faculty, MIT alumni, entrepreneurs, and businesses. By combining resources and talent, the Innovation Node aims to help students learn how to move ideas more rapidly from lab to market.
Announced in November 2015, the Innovation Node is a collaborative space that aims to connect the MIT community with unique resources — including advanced manufacturing capabilities — and other opportunities in Hong Kong and the neighboring Pearl River Delta.
The Node carries out numerous activities to boost the innovative and entrepreneurial capabilities of MIT students, faculty, researchers, and alumni, in collaboration with the Hong Kong community and the Pearl River Delta. These include internship opportunities, educational programs, engagement opportunities, and innovation-focused events.
In January 2016, a group of MIT students traveled to the southern-most province in China for the first-ever Guangdong Manufacturing Innovation Ecosystems Tour during the Independent Activities Period as part of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) China program. Participants enjoyed a behind-the-scenes look at China’s manufacturing hub.
The Guangdong Manufacturing Innovation Ecosystems Tour was a prelude to the activities and programming taking shape for the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node. MIT has since built out a Hong Kong-based team that has officially established a 5,000 sq.ft. physical space that fosters collaboration and making through its activities and regular programming.
The inaugural program of the Innovation Node was launched in June 2016 and has since evolved into its flagship program called the MIT Entrepreneurship and Maker Skills Integrator (MEMSI). This program brings together 15 MIT students with 15 students from universities throughout Hong Kong for a two-week immersive bootcamp. Embedding the Institute’s Mens et Manus principle of learning by doing, the curriculum features the Disciplined Entrepreneurship framework and advanced maker skills taught by MIT faculty and staff from the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, Project Manus, and the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node.
During MEMSI, learning takes place in a dynamic classroom environment, coupled with discussion and activities that leverage insights from thought leaders from the local innovation ecosystem convened for each session. Outside of the classroom, students experience China’s rapid prototyping and manufacturing capabilities first-hand over two days of factory visits in China.
Following successive iterations of MEMSI, the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node has evolved the program for other learners in the form of a high school entrepreneurship program, and will soon be launching a sector-focused adaptation focused on FinTech. MIT Entrepreneurship and FinTech Integrator (MEFTI) will bring together university students from MIT and from Hong Kong to explore technological applications of FinTech to multiple industry verticals. This bootcamp includes a one-day immersion in Shenzhen to experience the digital economy.