This article explores the commercialization of scientific discoveries.

Getting Started

Introduction to the article (perhaps by having everyone read it)

Brainstorm with the class to see if they know of Canadian scientific discoveries that are now things we depend on. Ask students to select one and do some background research to see how this discovery came to market.

Subject Area(s) covered

Entrepreneurship, commercialization

Study and Discussion Activity

Key things students can learn from this lesson

Students will learn that entrepreneurial success is based on an innovative idea and lots of hard work.

Action (here’s how we’ll do it)

  • Distribute the article for reading.
  • In pairs, either online or in class, have students trace Dr. Shoichet’s journey.
  • Why is she the reason Toronto’s Lumira Ventures did its most recent commercialization deal with her?
  • Have each pair discuss the benefits of her newest discovery from a variety of perspectives: medically, recovery, economy and community.
  • Combine pairs and have them share key points of their discussion.

Consolidation of learning

  • Dr. Shoichet says she learned a few lessons as an entrepreneur. Have students express what lessons were learned and how they would apply to other entrepreneurs.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria

  • Students understand that success as an entrepreneur is a long journey that needs constant attention.

Confirming Activities

  • Dr. Shoichet and Mr. Cooke were successful in raising money for the commercialization of their discovery. Discuss what information a funder would need to be convinced this would be a good investment.

Activities to do together

  • Brainstorm challenges that arise in everyday life. Have students identify one their family agrees on and try to find a solution that could be commercialized.  An example: when the author’s kids were little, they played roller hockey on the street, but kept being interrupted by cars. They thought there needed to be a better way and after much research decided to start a roller hockey league and rent the local arenas to play. In their first season they only had 40 kids play, but they persevered and the league grew to over 1,000 kids and adults playing in multiple arenas.
  • Ask students: what bugs you and how can you solve it in an entrepreneurial way?