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Innovation in Action

Creating high-impact solutions for the real world requires more than technical expertise and creativity. That’s why the MSIM program is centered around the Innovation Sprints, which help you build core skillsets. Each sprint, you’ll immerse yourself in a semester-long, team venture that goes through the entire innovation cycle so you can develop and demonstrate these innovation skills.

The four skillsets that empower sustainable innovation:

  1. Identifying Problems: Customer Discovery, Ethnographic Research, Value Propositions, Data Science
  2. Creating & Validating Compelling Solutions: Lean Approach, Leveraging Emerging Technology, Design Thinking, Rapid Prototyping
  3. Business Modeling: Segmentation & Forecasting, Financial Planning, Predictive Modeling
  4. Driving Implementation: New Product Development, Positioning & Marketing Strategy, Marketing Technology, Leadership Skills

All of the following case studies were launched from an Innovation Sprint.


Case Study 1: ZwitterCo

ZwitterCo, Inc. provides revolutionary membrane solutions for the treatment of highly-impaired wastewater based on cutting-edge zwitterionic polymer chemistry developed by Tufts Professor Ayse Asatekin. Their mission is to make the treatment and reuse of every wastewater stream economically viable.

ZwitterCo has already seen success since its launch. They won first place in the 2018 Tufts’ $100k New Ventures Competition in the General/High-Tech Track.  They were chosen as one of the 7 cleantech companies to be awarded the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center's Catalyst grant funding. The Catalyst funding, coupled with business mentoring, is employed to move cleantech prototype and research projects towards commercialization.

Team Members: Alex Rappaport, MSIM ‘18; Aditi Deorukhakar, MSIM ‘18; Chen Chen, MSIM ‘18

“Everybody in the MSIM program, all the faculty and all the staff, have been so supportive as we launch our venture. They have provided us more than enough resources to achieve all our goals. The program is the perfect foundation to take your venture as far as you can.”
-Alex Rappaport, MSIM ‘18, CEO/Co-Founder, ZwitterCo


Case Study #2: Co-Lab

Co-Lab uses the phone in your pocket to perform cheap, easy and rapid cell counting and analysis for a tiny fraction of the price of existing alternatives. It uses a patented visual systems-based automated cytometer for iPhone. The microscope lens adapter performs multifocal plane analysis with a specially designed disposable counting chamber that takes all the work, frustration and inaccuracy out of cell counting, for a mere $1 per sample. It employs machine learning and image enhancement to continuously improve and offer more and more applications.

Team Members: Sam Miller, MSIM '18, Sijia Hu, MSIM '18; Melek Ozturk, MSIM '18; Sagun Sanghi, MSIM '18

“If you’re a biomedical researcher, you work with cells. And anytime you work with them, you need to quantify them somehow – and unless you have $8,000 for a benchtop cytometer, you’re stuck sitting for hours counting them. What if you could point your phone through your microscope, take a picture, and let an algorithm do the rest?”
-Sam Miller, MSIM '18


Case Study #3: OnGuard

Every year, over 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur in the U.S., and 30 percent of those go undiagnosed, posing a huge risk to athletes. OnGuard, created by four MSIM students, is trying address this problem head on. They developed a wearable concussion warning system using smart thread technology that provides instant impact alerting, data tracking, and analysis to coaches, trainers, and athletes. The team competed as finalists in the Tufts $100k New Ventures Competition and placed second in the Healthcare / Life Science Track.

Read more about OnGuard.

“Our connection to Tufts athletics gave us a clear entry point into the market, which other ventures might not have. Coaches, athletes, and trainers have validated that this is a critical problem – they agreed that our solution is unique and powerful.”
-Trish O’Connor, MSIM ‘17

“We learned all of these critical innovation skills in the fall semester, so it was really awesome to pull all those courses together and take what we learned to create a business plan”
-Paget Stanco, MSIM ‘17