INSIDE HARVARD’S I-LAB

Now more than ever, colleges and universities are expanding their educational offerings by investing in spaces for students to explore their entrepreneurial instinct. Harvard is no exception. In fact, they were one of the first to create a stand-alone facility, the i-lab. And it’s loaded with IdeaPaint.

Students who aspire to follow in Zuckerberg’s famous footsteps are greeted by 30,000 square feet of space in which to develop their business ideas. Unlike other incubators that offer brick and mortar space and nothing else, the i-lab is fully programmed. Faculty and guest lecturers lead seminars and run hackathons regularly.

The i-lab has succeeded where many businesses have failed. Staff and students together are creating an environment where the exchange of ideas happens organically. Students from any department are welcome to use the facility to work through their ideas. And the first thing they usually see is a group of undergraduate and grad students – all with disparate majors – happily digging into the next task at hand.

As universities around the world compete for the attention of students, the i-lab is proving the idiom – if you build it, they will come.