When first starting my work this summer, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Interning at a startup seemed cool but not very clearly defined. I was told that the nature of startups is uncertainty, so I decided to trust in the journey and see what would happen.
I quickly found myself diving into projects that exposed me to so many new ideas and processes. I discovered a newfound interest for AI technology and job searching solutions. Through studying the Future of Work and the rise of automation, I modeled features such as career progression paths and skills templates, in addition to helping brainstorm aspects including conversational models for 4D work profiles. During this process, I participated in weekly South Shore Innovation roundtables, sat in on startup pitches, and conversed over new solution ideas and further progression of the project.
Even in my short two month long summer, I have gained extensive knowledge on the entrepreneurial journey and how to bring a solution vision to life. Here are a couple of the main takeaways and lessons I learned during this unforgettable experience.
It is vital to be in tune with the market of your solution in order to effectively adapt and update your work. This especially holds true to tech start-ups, where breakthroughs in more complex technology can change the whole trajectory of the intended path of a solution. As a research intern for Reskillme, I realized how significant factors such as new advances in AI, the ever-changing workforce, job automation, and predictions regarding the Future of Work, are in adapting the solution’s mission.
No matter the industry, keeping up to date with the market ensures that your solution will alleviate customer pains or solve an issue in a more innovative and effective manner. In order to be the next new and improved solution, you can’t be stuck frozen in time!
Solo is a no-go
Participating in South Shore Innovation’s weekly roundtables was incredibly interesting and great exposure to local entrepreneurs who are in the process of developing their own solution to issues as niche as lobster hard shell conditions and driving high regulations. Through gaining insight into the state of people’s solutions and the steps along their journey, I recognized the importance of having a team behind a start-up.
Creating an entirely new solution is not a one person show. The input, feedback, alternative perspectives, and skills each member of a team can offer is crucial in ensuring the solution doesn’t get off-track, lose its intended purpose, or become unreachable. Using the resources available, connecting with those interested in your solution, and networking, can all introduce new dimensions to your solution and bring your project to the next level.
Learn from your competition
Chances are you are not the only one who has thought of a solution to a customer pain or a specific problem. It is likely that there are multiple competitors out there attempting to tackle the same issue in the most effective manner. Therefore, it is important to identify and emphasize the superior aspects of your innovation that sets it apart from other solutions. Rather than dwelling on similarities, use competitors to target differences in your product’s purpose.
In my research for Reskillme, I spent a lot of time testing out other services to help job seekers identify their skills and find new work. Through this experimentation, I recognized what features of these services I found confusing, ineffective, unnecessary, etc. As a result, I could brainstorm better alternatives and incorporate these ideas into the solution development. Without the insight into other competitors’ methods, it would be hard to decipher what specific aspects yield the most optimal results.
See the big picture
One of the most important things I learned interning this summer was to keep the big picture in mind while tackling each step of your entrepreneurial journey. It is vital to not get discouraged by any setbacks that come with the process. Each hindrance should be recognized and taken as a learning experience that can better educate your mission.
At times, efforts may appear to have gone to waste, but these attempts are crucial in leading your solution process in the right direction. You cannot predict the future, so for now, enjoy the experience and take it for what it is and can be.
Through hands-on exposure to the entrepreneurial process as a research intern at Reskillme and South Shore Innovation, I have discovered some of the keys to developing a successful startup, and this experience will stay with me for life. If you ever get a chance to take a side trip at a startup, or if you make that your main line of work, I’m certain you won’t regret it. It may just change you forever, too.
– Edited by Eric Braun –