Steve Blank

Adjunct Professor, Stanford University

Steve Blank is an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University and a Senior Innovation Fellow at Columbia Business School. He founded or was an early employee of eight startups in supercomputers, enterprise software, high performance graphics, military intelligence and two microprocessor companies; Zilog and MIPS.

Blank is credited with creating the current generation of modern innovation and entrepreneurship methods. His book the Four Steps to the Epiphany and his Customer Development methodology was the foundation of the Lean Startup movement. His Lean LaunchPad curriculum developed at Stanford was adopted by the National Science Foundation as I-Corps - designed to support the commercialization of “deep technologies,” - those revolving around fundamental discoveries in science and engineering. I-Corps teaches principal investigators how to reduce the time and risk associated with translating promising ideas and technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace. I-Corps uses Blank’s curriculum for experiential learning of customer and industry discovery, coupled with first-hand investigation of industrial processes, to quickly assess the translational potential of inventions. The goal is to bridge the skill and knowledge gap associated with the transformation of basic research into “deep technology ventures.” NSF I-Corps is now taught in 98 colleges and universities.

Blank tailored the I-Corps curriculum for life sciences for the National Institute of Health where it’s now taught in the National Cancer Institute and developed and taught a version for Imperial College in synthetic biology. He also co-created a version for the National Security Agency now taught throughout the Intelligence Community.

Blank also co-created the Hacking for X curriculum where students in research universities work on national problems. Versions include; Hacking for Diplomacy, Hacking for Oceans and Hacking for Defense – now in 40 universities sponsored by the Department of Defense.

Mr. Blank has testified several times before the House Science and Technology subcommittee. He is on the Defense Business Board and advises other parts of the National Security establishment.

His research interests include innovation ecosystems, entrepreneurial cultures, translational innovation, ambidextrous organizations, and technology transitions in the commercial and defense ecosystems.

He has received numerous awards, authored three books, and has written for several publications including the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc, IEEE Spectrum, NikkeiBP, War On the Rocks and the People’s Daily.

Blank has given six commencement speeches. National Public Radio (NPR) selected the Philadelphia University speech as one of the 300 best commencement speeches in the last 300 years.