16 Jan 2015

Week one of W15, as it happened

By Jessica

We’ve just finished the first week of our Winter ‘15 accelerator cohort, and I’m glad to say the 10 teams of startups are still standing and smiling, despite everything that’s been thrown at them.

These teams are embarking on a 12 week journey of intensive mentoring and support, workshops and talks, during which they’ll be speaking to hundreds of users, mentors and investors to refine and perfect their product.

In week one of the programme we frontload a lot of learning with several workshops in a day. Here’s a review of the week, as it happened.

Monday: We start off lightly on day one – the sessions are about getting to know each other, getting familiar with the programme, meeting our partners from Nominet Trust and Nesta, setting up the co-working areas and getting to know the Makerversity space.

Tuesday: We kicked off with a self assessment workshop led by Glen and Vicky, to help teams judge where they’re at and what their strengths and weaknesses are. The tools covered here will help us to measure some of the impact we have on teams and individuals at the end of the programme. The afternoon was all about customer insights, with a workshop led by Ursula Davies from Makerversity, where teams shared their favourite research methods for finding and listening to users.

Wednesday: The morning was dedicated to goal setting and pathway planning, and to thinking about communication and getting the most out of the BGV community. In the afternoon we cranked up the pace with Mentor Speed dating – with 30 mentors circulating around the 10 teams for 10 minutes at a time. We were looking for those little sparks of magic between mentors and teams here.

Thursday:  Kieron Kirkland and Eibhlín ni Oghain from Nominet and Nesta ran a session on impact evaluation, teaching the teams to shape their theory of change and identify their key social metrics. We followed this with a service prototyping workshop with Jennie Winhall, where the teams used up central London’s supply of post-its to map out touchpoints with users. In the evening we joined the monthly Makerversity drinks, getting to know the diverse bunch of people working in the MV space.

Friday: We keep packing the sessions in today. We refueled this morning with breakfast with the Makerversity gang, then cracked on swiftly with Laura Hicks from Spotify sharing top tips on how to maximise your time with lawyers. Paul gave a talk after this on startup culture, talking about best practices in working in small teams. Then Melanie managed to make finance fun with her pub quiz finance session. We finish today with a bit more fun, we’ll be rolling up our sleeves and heading to the Makerversity workshops to play with their 3D printers… then we’ll probably need to go to the pub.