Highlights from Young Entrepreneurs Challenge 2012 January 16, 2012 RICCentre By Jasmeet Duggal @jasmeetduggal Bright entrepreneurial minds (from marketing, programming, design, and business) and industry keynote speakers came out in full force at this weekend’s Young Entrepreneurs Challenge 2012 – a 2-day weekend event hosted by the Digital Enterprise Management Society at the University of Toronto Mississauga Here are my top highlights from Day 1 of the keynote sessions: Mark Reale, Chief Culture Officer at Bnotions Inc. Mark discussed methods and strategies for collaboration. In his position, he uses the light ball strategy to address potential partners. If you lightly toss your partner a ball and they can’t hit back, then there’s a problem. It’s all about setting expectations. If you’re collaborating with someone, set milestones to ensure that your partner can indeed deliver value to your business. John Macdonald, Advisor, RIC Centre John mentioned that a lot of companies fail to get mainstream market adoption. To “cross the chasm” entrepreneurs need to create whole products that meet all of their customer’s needs. Think about how you can acquire a unique position in your customer’s minds. Differentiation is key – you need a solution that solves all of your customer’s problems. Stay tuned for Wednesday’s blog in which John will discuss all of the top marketing lessons he shared at YEC12. Tai Toh, Director of User Experience at Kobo To modernize books and change the fundamental act of reading are some of the grand challenges that Kobo has embarked on in the last few years. One interesting bit that Tai spoke of during his keynote was the notion of humanizing technology. Kobo has focused on design to ensure the best user experience by creating personas and character types for people using the Kobo eReader. One feature that compliments the user’s experience is the soft touch quilt. Tai’s session was well encapsulated in his anecdote: while giving a presentation in Paris, the audience said that the Kobo eReader reminded them of the designer brand Chanel. Given that the Kobo design DNA is all about being iconic, it is no surprise that the company’s products are resonating with people worldwide. Jasmeet is graduate student pursuing her final year in the Master of Biotechnology program at the University of Toronto Mississauga. She is currently the Communications Officer for the RIC Centre, a role in which she manages the organization’s web and digital communications, marketing, event promotion, and social media platforms. In her future endeavors, Jasmeet hopes to pursue a career in the life sciences. The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.