By Bobby Uyanwune, Avatar Program Participant
My Experience in the Avatar Innovations Program
I was immediately drawn to this headline when I read it. I’ve always been intrigued by technology geared toward helping others. The Avatar Innovations program works a critical gap in the energy innovation ecosystem by teaming with oil and gas firms to champion solutions from within by engaging their staff. It creates a safe “third space” for energy companies and academia to collaborate and unlock new business opportunities.
The Avatar model is comprised of three components:
• Avatar Ignite
• Avatar Accelerator
• Avatar Ventures
Ignite brings emerging professionals together to work in cross-functional teams to develop solutions to industry challenges. I was lucky enough to be accepted into the Winter 2022 cohort. The onboarding experience was exhilarating. You could feel the energy (pun intended) flowing through the room during the kickoff session! Ignite participants engaged in sessions led by industry and academic experts ranging from innovation to entrepreneurship. Then, each team presented its idea to a panel of industry executives in hopes of moving on to the Accelerator. Based on our skills and capabilities, we were matched with complementary teammates. Each team was paired with a coach to guide us through the developmental stage. It was incredibly rewarding to bring our concept to life, all while maintaining a full-time job.
Like many, my team began brainstorming decarbonization solutions within our assigned sector. We should have ensured that we fully understood the problem before formulating a solution – an important lesson we later learned. We narrowed our focus to a specific issue we wanted to solve based on the guidance provided. From there, we began researching, surveying, and documenting. The Ignite program helped facilitate our thought process and provided valuable resources during the development phase. The next step was forming the solution. Again, we utilized resources supplied by the Avatar program. Without the education we received as part of the Avatar ecosystem, we wouldn’t have understood our problem, target audience, and competitive advantage so thoroughly.
The Avatar Ignite program laid the foundation to build a startup and provided many opportunities to liaise with industry professionals. My favourite parts of the program have been the networking events and the ability to create feedback loops from stakeholder conversations focused on improving our product. It is empowering to be part of the Avatar ecosystem, and I look forward to completing the Accelerator phase with my wonderful team! We will work to demonstrate the technical feasibility of a minimum viable product in the Accelerator phase and further build proof of customer desirability. It is an exciting time to work in this space, and the momentum is at an all-time high! We all want to make a positive impact on the future of energy.
Like Avatar, Scovan is focused on developing solutions for the future of the energy industry, working to build a better tomorrow.
Originally published in Scovan’s IGNITE Vol. 5