Reflection on the ninth Edition of Poland’s Top 500 Innovators Program at Stanford University

Reflection on the ninth Edition of Poland’s Top 500 Innovators Program at Stanford University

Poland - Opening Picture

On September 3rd, the ninth Edition (the ”Top 40.9 Group”) of the Top 500 InnovatorsScience Management Commercialization Program, instituted by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Poland and co-organized by the Stanford Center for Professional Development with the assistance of US-Polish Trade Council, concluded at Stanford University with a memorable graduation ceremony and a farewell gala dinner.  The graduates were presented with Stanford certificates with many distinguished guests in attendance, including Consul General of Poland, Mariusz M. Brymora, and Mr. Mark Chandler, Director of San Francisco Mayor’s Office of International Trade and Commerce.

In 2011, the minister of Science and Higher Education in Poland, professor Barbara Kudrycka, initiated the visionary Top 500 Innovators Program to explicitly stimulate and encourage innovation in Poland and to minimize the gap between academia and business.  Poland is well known for its great emphasis on education, particularly higher education, by the Polish government and millions of Poles, who have traditionally attached great importance to education.  As a result, the Ministry selected, in a multi-stage recruitment process, 500 Polish R&D professionals from the most prominent Polish universities and technical schools with the purpose of raising their qualifications at the world’s top ten universities specializing in technology transfer.  The Ministry has selected Stanford University for the sixth time as the most qualified institution for the implementation of the Program.

The Polish intellectuals completed a nine-week academic and training Program, in which classes were taught by the Stanford faculty, focused on innovation, execution, leadership, entrepreneurship, intellectual property (IP), technology, business creation, management, design thinking, strategic foresight, rapid prototyping, and radical collaboration.  The method of instruction by the Stanford faculty, based on real experiences in industry, was stimulating, interesting, and helpful in understanding the unique entrepreneurial ecosystem of Silicon Valley.  On the last day of the ninth edition of the Program, the seven groups formed by the participants presented their interdisciplinary term-projects, all of which included observations, recommendations, and solutions related to creativity and innovation in the Polish science, technology and business sectors.  Throughout the program, the participants were engaged in numerous interactive workshops, research, hands-on team projects and meetings with well-known Silicon Valley executives.  Additionally, the Top 40.9 Group had an opportunity to experience innovation in practice by visiting many leading technology companies based in Silicon Valley such as Cisco Systems, Cutera, Exponent, Go Daddy, Google, Keysight, and Oracle.

We, at USPTC, thank you, the friendly, open-minded, engaged and brilliant individualists, participants of the ninth Edition of the Program, for your cooperation and hard work.

We hope that the Top 500 Innovators Program at Stanford broadened your horizons, unleashed your exceptional potential and talents as well as deeply affected the way of your thinking in relation to knowledge-implementation, business creation, and innovation.

We wish you to be inspired Polish business and science leaders who will contribute to the changing of the Polish and world scene for the better.

For additional information on the Top 500 Innovators Program, picture galleries and description of certain events attended by the participants of the TOP 500 Innovators Program, you might visit:

The last Edition of the Top 500 Innovators Program at Stanford University is about to start. We hope, the reflections of the participants of the ninth Edition of the Program will be also shared by the arriving group:

• The Top 500 Innovators Program was a once in a lifetime experience. It was a great adventure, which I’m glad that I could participate. Prepared courses and the conduct quality were at the highest possible level. Classes were geared to solving practical situation more than their theoretical discussion. During the workshop I had the feeling that I develop not only skills but I acquire useful competence. The greatest experience for me was the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people who were open to share their knowledge and cooperation.

Dr Piotr Mamcarz, The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin

• I have really enjoyed my stay at Stanford University during the Top 500 Innovators Program. These nine weeks of intensive work were a great opportunity to see us from different perspectives. At the same time it was a chance to meet wonderful people, from Stanford, USPTC, and of course from our 500.9 group. Thank you all for this!

Dr Krzysztof Grzymajlo, Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences

• The Top 500 Innovators Program made me realize how important for effective problem solving is a multidisciplinary approach.  The most valuable thing for me that I have learned during the Program is a design thinking attitude and methodology, which I will try to put into practice once I come back to Poland.

Dr Barbara Lyson-Sypien, AGH University of Science and Technology, Krakow

• Sensational program, competent leaders, state of the art and far beyond multidisciplinary approach to problem solving, very interesting applied projects, an outstanding networking – these are just a few features of great Top 500 project executed at Stanford University in collaboration with USPTC.  Knowledge flow, great people, cooperation – can you ask for more?  It was simply awesome.  Massive gains.  May the force be with you!

Dr Tomasz Owerko, AGH University of Science and Technology, Krakow

• Nothing happens without a reason…  The Top 500 Innovators Program was a great chance for all of us to see the opportunities and meet outstanding people.  I strongly believe that we will use this knowledge to build a brighter and better future.

Karolina Maria Nowak, Warsaw Medical University/ Medical University of Lodz

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