Guest Author

Laura Sampath, National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA)

Stretch, pivot, generate, align, solve.

These are the strategic “boot camp” moves that global innovators will be expected to master over the next 3 and ½ days of the Xcelerator Training Program, an immersive and intensive training to help global innovators bring their groundbreaking innovations to scale in the developing world.

Twelve teams of grantees have flown in from all over the U.S. and as far away as Bangladesh, Kenya, Nepal and Zambia to develop their innovations for global impact. From preventing and treating preeclampsia to delivering neo-natal intensive care, the grantees’ innovations must succeed for the poorest mothers and infants in developing countries.

The grantees arrived at the training ready for their first assignment. Each was called to the front of the room to give an elevator pitch about their innovation in sixty-seconds or be interrupted by a timer blaring “ah-ooo-gah” like an antique care horn:

For the populations your solution is intended to solve,

  • What are the impacts that those people feel?
  • What causes those impacts?
  • What possible current options are available to those people?
  • How many people use those other options?
  • Who else is working on solutions?

Few got through their presentations without the rude timer sounding, but over the next few days participants will answer these and other complex riddles in order to build their innovations and get them to market.

The Xcelerator Training Program is provided by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), a non-profit organization with substantial experience preparing innovators for successful technology start-ups.

This blog has been cross-posted from the Saving Lives at Birth website. Follow the Saving Lives at Birth blog at