The Optical Society Foundation Announces 2018 Innovation School

21 November 2017

The Optical Society Foundation Announces 2018 Innovation School

Early-career professionals work together to merge scientific knowledge and business acumen

WASHINGTON – The Optical Society Foundation (OSAF) invites early-career professionals in the field of optics and photonics to attend The Innovation School at The Optical Society in Washington, D.C. from 22-26 July 2018. The four-day program aims to foster entrepreneurial thinking with interactive ‘ideation’ and customer validation exercises. Attendees will experience hands-on training focused on developing and launching innovative solutions and products. The program is essential for members of the optics and photonics community interested in expanding their collaborative abilities.

Attendees will partake in a multitude of lectures focusing on business models, tools for innovation, customer discovery, experimentation with minimum viable products (MVP’s) and prototypes, and applying the methodologies of innovation as an entrepreneur. Participants will be organized into teams and challenged to implement their newly acquired knowledge by producing a pitch. Throughout the Innovation School, participants will benefit from the assistance of experienced mentors and guest mentors in their field. A panel of industry experts, innovation leaders and investors will evaluate the teams and choose the best innovation pitch.

“The Innovation School combines the intellect and rigor of optics and photonics design with the savvy and skillfulness of entrepreneurial know-how,” said Chad Stark, executive director, The Optical Society Foundation. “When these valuable components meet, we create a force of unstoppable, young, innovators capable of tremendous success.”

Lumentum’s director of engineering for commercial lasers at Lumentum, Michael Mielke, participated as a mentor and added, “Successful companies work to hone and harness the entrepreneurial spirit within their employees and leverage it for greater success. The OSA Innovation School was designed to pair mentors and young professionals, to teach them how to apply the methodologies of innovation as an entrepreneur or intrapreneur and begin thinking about next steps in terms of actual market impact.”

Registration and Additional Information
The $1,500 US dollar registration fee includes all pre-school preparation, materials, access to all four days of immersive programming and meals. Housing and travel costs are not included.

About The Optical Society Foundation
The Optical Society Foundation 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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