The So what? who cares? why you? methodology is a cornerstone of what we’ve accomplished so far at the Foundry. 50-plus start-ups…have successfully sprung from the Foundry.  Without question, we would not be celebrating this progress had it not been for the foundation upon which those innovators began their journey: the So what? who cares? why you? methodology."

— John M. Hanak, J.D.
Managing Director, Purdue Ventures
Purdue Foundry


The Challenge

If you’re looking for a world-class example of an entrepreneurial ecosystem, look no further than Purdue University. Home to more than 3,000 faculty and 38,000 students, Purdue is a campus full of innovation that’s recognized for its world-renowned faculty and research. In 2012, Purdue began to look for ways to move more ideas out of the lab and into the marketplace. Its goal was to create an on-campus commercialization hub that would cultivate ideas from faculty, students, and entrepreneurs and accelerate them to execution. But to do this, it would need a structured ideation process and guiding methodology capable of identifying the commercial potential of an idea.


The Solution

In 2013, Purdue opened the doors of the Purdue Foundry, a new entrepreneurship and commercialization hub that’s become a discovery-to-market engine for breakthrough ideas. Offering a comprehensive menu of assistive services with So what? who cares? why you? as the starting point, the Foundry offers structured collaboration sessions in which innovators work together to explore, shape, and mold their ideas to identify whether they have business value. Foundry team members are certified by WKI, and they blend their coaching and advisory expertise with the So what? who cares? why you? methodology to turn ideation discussions into conversations that lead founders to the best path forward to commercial success.


The Results

Since 2013, Purdue has seen record commercialization activities that include the creation of more than 50 startups and a flurry of interest from campus innovators seeking support for their ideas. Not only does the Foundry support all Purdue colleges and departments, it’s also engaging outside businesses and investors to support collaborative research and startup development. Sparking entrepreneurial thinking with So what? who cares? why you?, the Foundry is the hub for commercialization at Purdue.

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