The Optical Society Foundation Concludes Successful 2017 Innovation School

1 August 2017

The Optical Society Foundation Concludes Successful 2017 Innovation School

WASHINGTON – The Optical Society Foundation (OSAF) hosted early-career professionals during its first Innovation School from 23-27 July at OSA headquarters in Washington DC. The four-day program focused on honing ‘intrapreneurial’ skills through a series of interactive ‘ideation and customer validation’ exercises.  In addition, the hands-on program was accompanied by presentations led by CEO’s, entrepreneurs and innovation leaders in the optics and photonics industry.

“The Innovation School focused on harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit of early-career professionals in a collaborative, experience-focused environment that pushes original thinking and execution,” said Chad Stark, executive director, The Optical Society Foundation. “The OSAF developed this school to focus on the culture, methodology and language of successful and innovative businesses. Optics and photonics companies are built on innovation, we want to help them harness this skill in their employees for even greater success.”

A director of the OSA Foundation Board and school mentor, Yasaman Soudagar, added, “Attendees were taken through the process of concept validation, developing and refining pitches, key tools and methodologies for innovation, idea generation and customer discovery. Participants were challenged to implement what they learned over the past four days to produce the best pitch. At the end of the school, the teams had the rare opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of industry experts, innovation leaders and investors.”

First-time participant Wei Sun stated, “The concept of ‘failing fast’ was known to me for a long time, but it wasn’t until we went through three pivots in four days that I realized the true meaning of failing fast is to experiment efficiently and keep adapting to new directions. During this process, I acquired a new set of skills, great new friends and have a better vantage point to approach projects and ideas in work and in life.”

The 2018 Innovation School will be held 22-26 July at OSA headquarters, 2010 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC, USA.

About The Optical Society Foundation
The Optical Society Foundation (OSAF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation established by The Optical Society (OSA) in 2002 to carry out charitable activities that support the society’s mission of promoting the generation, application, archiving and worldwide dissemination of knowledge in optics and photonics. The Foundation helps cultivate the next generation of leaders and innovators in the optics and photonics community as they move through advanced degree programs and become active members of research, engineering and business communities around the globe. The Foundation also works to secure OSA Awards and Honors program endowments. For more information, visit
About The Optical Society
Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and entrepreneurs who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit:

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